Project Introduction

Welcome to New Hanover County’s Unified Development Ordinance Project. The project team is working to update the county’s land development regulations, including zoning, sub-division, stormwater, flood, and erosion control regulations. One goal of the update project will be to blend these regulations into a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).  A UDO is a single document that includes all of the county’s land development regulations combined into an easy-to-use format. This format allows community members, applicants, and decision-makers to see what regulations will apply to a project without looking through multiple county ordinances.

In addition to reformatting the regulations into a UDO, the project will also be focused on providing the county with a more modern set of development rules and standards that will help implement adopted county plans and guide future growth and redevelopment in the county.

Updating the County’s development regulations is an important in moving the community’s hard work with Plan NHC, the county’s Comprehensive Plan, forward. The current regulations have been in place since 1969 and are due for an overhaul. As local development patterns and preferences change over time, zoning regulations start showing signs of aging. Important standards that guide new development types may be missing from the code and the existing standards may actually (and inadvertently) create a barrier to development that the community wants to encourage.

The New Hanover County UDO project will be led by the county’s consultant and take place in the following general phases:

  1.    Audit: Staff and Consultant Review of Current Codes
  2.    Phase I: Unified Development Ordinance with New Zoning Districts and Streamlined Process
  3.    Phase II: Update Development Standards and Create Incentives

There will be many opportunities  for citizens to participate in the UDO process as the project moves forward. During each phase of the project, the public will be notified of opportunities to review and comment on the UDO work and recommendations. Public outreach meetings will be scheduled at several intervals throughout the drafting process, as described in the Blueprint Report and Public Engagement Strategy.

We look forward to hearing from you as the project proceeds.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to:


Rebekah Roth

Senior Planner
Planning & Land Use
Phone: 910-798-7465
Email: rroth@nhcgov.com

Planning and Land Use: 230 Government Center Dr, Suite 110 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7165 • Fax 910-798-7053