Subdivision & Site Plan Review

Subdivision PlanThe Development Services Section of the Planning Department is responsible for reviewing all residential and non-residential development applications within the Town of Wake Forest jurisdiction. This review is performed in conjunction with other Town departments and Raleigh Water. The purpose of this review is to ensure that development occurs in an orderly fashion and in compliance with Town ordinances, policies, character, and previous development patterns. The Town has also established a plan review procedure which requires that proposals for certain kinds of development be reviewed and approved by municipal officials prior to the granting of required permits.

See our Electronic Plan Review page to apply.


A subdivision is defined as the division of a tract of land into two or more lots, building sites, or other divisions for the purpose of sale, or building development and includes all divisions of land involving the dedication of a new street or change to an existing street. Exemptions include the following:

  • The combination or recombination of portions of previously subdivided and recorded lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots meet or exceed the standards of of the UDO; or

  • The division of land into parcels greater than ten (10) acres in size where no street right-of-way dedication is involved; or

  • The public acquisition by purchase of strips of land for the widening or opening of streets or for public transportation corridors; or

  • The division of a tract in single ownership whose entire area is no greater than two (2) acres into not more than three (3) lots, where no street right-of-way dedication is involved and where the resultant lots meet or exceed the standards of the UDO; or

  • The division of a tract into parcels in accordance with the terms of a probated will or in accordance with interstate succession under Chapter 29 of the General Statutes. 


The subdivision review process is required for all divisions of land, except those subdivision exempt by state statute. All subdivisions must go through the process as outlined in Unified Development Ordinance Section (UDO) 15.9.

Residential Development

Residential developments may include single-family dwellings, duplexes, triplexes, townhome & condominium projects, and apartments. Residential developments and subdivisions often go hand-in-hand in the development process. It is required to schedule a pre-application meeting prior to preparing plans for any subdivision of land requiring the regular procedure.

Site Plan Review

Exterior or buidling plansAll site plans are required to go through the process outlined in UDO section 15.8.

Subdivision PlanConstruction Plan Review

The Site Construction Plan shall be reviewed by the Technical Review Committee for compliance with the requirements of this chapter and for conformity with the approved Site Master Plan, if applicable. Provided the application is complete, applications shall be reviewed by the committee and written review comments will be given to the applicant within 45 days of receipt of the Site Construction Plan.

Building Design Standards

The Town of Wake Forest has established supplementary building design standards for development to ensure that the physical characteristics of new development is compatible when considered within the context of the surrounding areas and to preserve the unique visual character and streetscapes of Wake Forest. These requirements strike a balance between creativity and innovation on one hand while avoiding obtrusive, incongruous structures on the other. Wake Forest strongly encourages architectural styles that build upon and promote the existing historic character of the town and supports the view that inspiring, well-maintained, and harmonious development is in the best economic development interests of all residents and businesses.

All development subject to the building design standards shall be compatible with the established architectural character of the Town by using a design that is complementary to existing Town architectural styles, designs, and forms. Compatibility shall be achieved through techniques such as the repetition of roof lines, the use of similar proportions in building mass and outdoor spaces, similar relationships to the street, similar window and door patterns, and the use of building materials that have color, shades, and textures similar to those existing in the immediate area of the proposed development. These standards can be viewed in Chapter 5 of the Unified Development Ordinance.

Architectural Design Review

Any application for new buildings and structures or changes to existing buildings and structures, other than single family detached, duplex, or townhome uses, will be reviewed by the Administrator for architectural design compliance. The building design standards can be found in UDO Chapter 5

Technical Review Committee

The purpose of the Technical Review Committee (TRC) is to bring key players from each Town department as well as the City of Raleigh together in a meeting to discuss issues related to development and the plan review process. The Technical Review Committee is composed of various members of the Planning, Public Works, Engineering, Administration, Raleigh Water, Inspections/Fire Prevention, and Police Departments. Most development, master, and construction plans are reviewed by the TRC. Upon submittal of a plan to the Planning Department, the plans are distributed to each department and discussed at the next TRC meeting. Upon review of a plan by the TRC, a comprehensive set of staff review comments are sent to the applicant. TRC meetings are a Town of Wake Forest staff member meeting only and are held on a weekly basis.

Building Permits

Construction of a residential, commercial or non-residential structure requires both a building and development permit. These permits are reviewed by building inspectors and planners.

Inspections Submittal Requirements and Procedures


Checklists can be found on the Planning Forms and Applications web page

City of Raleigh Merger Information

The Town of Wake Forest and the City of Raleigh merged water and sewer utility systems on July 1, 2005. As part of the plan review process, all master, construction, and final plats (if applicable) will be reviewed by the City of Raleigh in addition to the Town of Wake Forest. All new submittals should be prepared to be in conformance to City of Raleigh utility standards. Upon submittal, the Town of Wake Forest staff will properly distribute copies of plans for review and will forward comments from both municipalities at the same time. Contact the City of Raleigh for further information regarding utility standards and details at (919) 996-3245 or [email protected].

Subdivision & Site Plan Review
Senior Planner - Development Services
Senior Planner - Development Services
Senior Planner - Development Services