Development & Site Plan Review

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Site Plan Review

Any development that includes a new building or building expansion that exceeds 500 square feet in gross floor area or any parking facility with ≥ 5 parking spaces or 2,500 square feet in size  that is constructed, reconstructed, revised, or enlarged requires review and approval by the city’s Technical Review Committee. 

Electronic Submissions Only: The Planning Division will be moving toward electronic submissions only for all new submittals and resubmittals of all plan review items effective immediatelyFor all new submittals and resubmittals please email the entire plan review staff (contact information below). This will ensure timely receipt when project planners are not available. Please be sure that all application components are submitted individually (i.e. application, site plan, stormwater permit application, landscape plan, building elevations, waiver request letter, tree removal permit, TIA scoping letter).

For file sizes that exceed email limits please contact plan review staff to make other arrangements. 

Required fees can be mailed in or paid directly to City Collections by phone (VISA, MasterCard only) or at the drive-thru window. Fees must be verified in advance as part of the required Pre-TRC Consultation or in correspondence with the assigned project planner. Please notify plan review staff in advance if you intend to pay directly to City Collections. Planning staff must  notify City Collections in advance to enable acceptance of payments.  

Professional Seals: Professional seals (engineers, land surveyors, architects, etc) on digital plans will need to be redacted from digital copies submitted to the city for review. Please be sure to mark, strike through, or conceal any professional seal located on your digital (re)submittals (e.g. PDF). If you have any questions please contact the plan review staff (contact information below). 

The deadline for all TRC submittals is Wednesday at 1:00 pm

Planning & Zoning Assessment

Prior to submitting plans for technical review the applicant must meet with a planner (Planner of the Day or scheduled meeting) for a Planning & Zoning AssessmentAs part of this assessment the planner will confirm that the use is permitted, identify any supplemental standards that may apply (e.g. tree removal, parking, landscaping), and provide general guidance on the applicant’s proposed concept. The planner may request other TRC members or zoning staff to provide additional feedback. This meeting is intended for projects that are in their conceptual phase and will assist applicants in deciding whether to move forward to a Pre-TRC Consultation. To speak with the Planner of the Day or to schedule an assessment please contact the Planning Office at 910.254.0900. 

Pre-TRC Consultation

The applicant must submit plans for a Pre-TRC Consultation prior to submitting for Formal TRC Review. The Pre-TRC Consultation will include representatives from city planning, engineering, transportation planning, traffic engineering, the fire department, the city arborist, and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. The Pre-TRC Consultation is intended to provide the applicant with the necessary information and guidance to successfully submit for Formal TRC Review. Additional consultations may be needed or desired. The Pre-TRC Consultation may be waived by TRC at the applicant’s request.

Formal TRC Review

The goal of the Formal TRC Review is to approve or conditionally approve a site plan application at the TRC meeting. To accomplish this goal, applicants must submit a complete site plan application package to be considered for formal review. An application completeness check (1 week) will be performed by each TRC discipline. If complete, the application will be placed on the next available TRC agenda (4 weeks). If incomplete (e.g. missing information or materials), staff will inform the applicant of the missing information or materials. The application will not be placed on the TRC agenda until all required information is provided. Each discipline will review the complete application and comments will be compiled by the assigned planner and provided to the applicant three days prior to the TRC meeting.


For further assistance, please contact the Planning office at 910.254.0900.


All major and minor subdivisions and any statutorily exempt subdivision that includes required improvements must submit a Pre-TRC Consultation application prior to submitting a Preliminary Plan application. Per Sec. 18-68 of the Land Development Code, initial submission of all major and minor subdivisions shall consist of a completed Preliminary Plan application and a Preliminary Plan prepared in accordance with the requirements of Article 7, Division IV (Sec. 18-419). All statutorily exempt subdivisions that include required access improvements will require a Preliminary Plan be submitted that demonstrates compliance with the city zoning, access, and technical standards for construction. 


Major Subdivisions will be heard by the Subdivision Review Board (SRB) at a quasi-judicial hearing. Following the SRB decision, construction plans may be submitted and will follow the standard Formal TRC Review process.

Minor Subdivisions will be reviewed by the Technical Review Committee (TRC). Based on the scope of improvements, TRC will determine if construction plans warrant an additional TRC meeting or a Formal TRC Review. This determination will be made at the required Pre-TRC Consultation.

Statutorily Exempt Subdivisions that include required access improvements will require a Preliminary Plan be submitted that demonstrates compliance with the city zoning, access, and technical standards for construction. 


The City subdivision regulations apply to residential and commercial development.


Map Review Officer: Plats to be recorded at the New Hanover County (NHC) Register of Deeds must be signed by an NHC Map Review Officer. Contact a Map Review Officer at 910.254.0900.

Exempt Subdivision Plats: Certain plats do not require a Preliminary Plan review. Minor parcel adjustments may qualify as a statutorily exempt division. Sign-off by planning or zoning staff is required. Contact 910.254.0900.


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