Rezoning Near Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve

Recently a request was submitted to rezone land directly across the Neuse River from Raleigh’s Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve. The property fronts Louisburg Road adjacent to the bridge over the Neuse River.

The hearing for this case has not yet been set. However, it could be as soon as December 7, 2021. The public will be able to sign up to speak at the hearing. Please check back for updates!

We have received a number of messages from people truly concerned about the impact that this rezoning and development could have on the Nature Preserve. I compiled a list of key questions about this proposal and have received feedback from the Raleigh Planning Department.


The current zoning of the parcels in question is R-4. The proposed rezoning is for RX-4-PL-CU. Approximately 10 acres is developable and approximately 30 acres are in the 100-year floodplain or floodway of the Neuse River.

R-4 stands for Residential – 4 units per acre which would have limited development to 40 homes. However, City Council recently changed the City’s development ordinance to allow more than 4 units per acre. As you will see below, R-4 can now allow approximately 171 dwelling units. Maximum height would be limited to 45 feet.

RX-4-PL-CU stands for Residential Mixed Use – 4 stories (not 4 units per acre). The PL stands for parking limited which allows parking next to the street. Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan specifies that the frontage should be Parkway and should provide significant trees and vegetation using a 50 foot wide protective yard. CU stands for conditional use.

The primary condition for this case is to limit the number of units to 375. Buildings can be as high as 68 feet. Mature trees on the site as well as at Horseshoe Farm Nature preserve are 30 to 35 feet tall.

Another condition says that the developer will build a ten foot wide multiuse path from Louisburg Rd to the Neuse River Greenway as long as the path is NOT required by the City of Raleigh or Federal Law to be ADA-accessible.

Instead of providing a 50 foot protective yard as required for Parkway frontage, the proposal calls for a 20 foot wide strip landscaped with 4 trees and 15 shrubs per 100 feet.

With this background, here are specific questions and answers from the Planning Staff:

What is the potential development intensity on the site?

Existing R-4 zoning does not require a street protective yard as a Parkway frontage would, but does require tree conservation.  It is staff’s judgement that the existing zoning’s tree conservation standards would result in a comparable level of vegetation as the parkway frontage.   Existing zoning would allow for approximately 171 dwelling units.

Under the proposed zoning (RX-4-PL-CU), total development would be limited by zoning conditions to 375 units.   Staff believes that more than 375 units could be placed on this property with the parkway frontage applied, absent the aforementioned zoning condition restricting the unit-count to 375 units.

What is the maximum height in the existing R-4 zoning?

The maximum height is 40 feet for the Detached and Attached building types. It is 45 feet for the Townhouse building type.

Provide a visualization of whether the building would be visible in Horseshoe Farm Park

The applicant has agreed to provide this information at the hearing. Mature trees on the site and in Horseshoe Farm park are 30 to 35 feet tall.

How could the request mitigate visibility from Horseshoe Farm Park?

By reducing maximum building height via zoning condition.  Sixty-eight feet is the maximum allowed in the proposed zoning (RX-4-PL-CU). 

8 Replies to “Rezoning Near Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve”

  1. I hope the Mayor and City Council take a good hard look at this proposed development. It will negatively impact the ecosystem and the abundant wildlife that calls that property home. You don’t have to say yes to this development as presented! If it must be developed, ask for as few homes and as little tree cutting as possible. Be better stewards of the environment!

  2. This is an awful idea, beginning to end. Development inside the floodplain on a river that floods generously every spring? Reducing the setback from 50′ to 20′ with just 5 trees per 100 feet? Are you serious?
    This is a wanton destruction of wildlife habitat, greenspace, and poor land use.
    Profits before everything sensible. Once you destroy it all, there’s no putting it back. What a legacy. Greed before everything else.

  3. Horseshoe Nature Preserve can not be replicated, the habitat for wildlife that depend on the wetlands should not be dismissed. The proposed development project is inappropriate in relation to fragile wetlands and the nature preserve. The river, wetlands and nature preserve have a greater value for the long term vitality of the larger community…human and wildlife.

  4. Why are we considering rezoning a nature preserve? Is there other land available without rezoning of a nature preserve? Who benefits from this?

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