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Centennial Campus Zoning

NC State successfully completed the modernization of the framework for Centennial Campus in 2021, ensuring the campus remains a vital educational and economic engine for the city, region and state.

Centennial Campus was conceived as a new kind of research, innovation and public-private partnership campus, one that would propel NC State’s mission into its second century. It was established in 1984 through an initial land allocation by Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. and added to in 1985 by Governor James G. Martin.

Today, Centennial is a nationally known destination for partnership and collaboration among leaders in business, research and education — a place where industry and academia collide to innovate. The unique environment allows public, private and nonprofit partners opportunities to work with some of the nation’s top faculty and researchers; allows students unsurpassed hands-on experience working with leading companies; and drives the state’s economic prosperity.

Centennial helps develop the workforce, launch new startups, create new products, and attract new industries, venture capital and jobs to North Carolina.

Zoning History

  • Centennial Campus was originally zoned in 1988 to enable educational, research and public-private partnership activities along with residential and recreation uses through a phased master plan.
  • The zoning was incrementally updated in subsequent years to add additional land to the campus, but corresponding increases to the buildable area were not made in connection with those land additions.
  • Over time, the City of Raleigh updated its zoning code and approach to land use regulation, revising much of the City’s zoning districts in 2016 after adopting a new Unified Development Ordinance (“UDO”) in 2013. The ordinance provided for a new type of zoning district specifically envisioned for large scale campus planning — the Campus Master Plan (“CMP”) district.
  • In 2020, NC State filed an application with the City of Raleigh to update its Centennial Campus zoning to the CMP district, and successfully completed that process in 2021. The updated zoning, and its associated conditions, were also approved by the Council of State in 2021, triggering effectiveness of the new campus zoning.
Centennial Campus' Lake Raleigh at sunrise.

The Rezoning

NC State’s rezoning updated the existing zoning on Centennial to the Campus Master Plan (CMP) district. This district was designed for institutional land such as Centennial, and Centennial was the first application of this new zone district in the City of Raleigh.

The CMP zoning now includes the majority of the land that makes up Centennial Campus west of Centennial Parkway (but did not include Centennial Campus East, formerly known as the Spring Hill District). The new zoning creates a framework for future development of both university buildings and public-private partnership projects, while maintaining open spaces and recreation for the university community, local residents and other visitors.

The CMP zoning establishes a broad framework for an urban learn/live/work/play environment on Centennial that aligns with the academic and research activities of NC State. The opportunities will help NC State advance its mission on behalf of the Raleigh, Research Triangle and statewide communities.

In addition to outlining categories of potential land uses in support of the Centennial Campus vision, the CMP zoning includes height and square footage limits for various districts on the campus; maintains open spaces; and reinforces public connectivity to recreation areas on Centennial Campus, including the Lake Raleigh Recreation Area. The zoning framework does not call out specific building locations, footprints or programmatic uses; nor is it representative of a specific plan for development. The CMP zoning simply provides a framework for the university to make future decisions about the development of its campus within the broadly defined zoning parameters.

The Rezoning Process (Completed in 2021)

Pre-Application PlanningThroughout 2020
First (Pre-Submittal) Neighborhood MeetingNovember 17 and 18, 2020
Application SubmittalNovember 20, 2020
Staff Review and Neighborhood EngagementThroughout the process
Second Neighborhood MeetingMarch 4, 2021 (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Planning Commission MeetingsMarch 30 and April 13, 2021
Continued Stakeholder EngagementThroughout the process
City Council HearingMay 18, 2021
City Council ApprovalsMay 18 and June 1, 2021
Council of State ApprovalAugust 3, 2021

The CMP zoning has been approved by the City of Raleigh and the North Carolina Council of State, and is now in effect.

Application Materials and Information

Filings and presentations associated with the CMP Zoning process can be found below.

Administrative Amendment

In summer 2023, NC State initiated an administrative amendment to the Centennial Campus CMP Zoning to modify the boundaries of Subdistrict F to remove 4 acres from the northeast of the District and add 4 acres to the southwest side of the District. The boundaries of the adjacent districts are also modified respectively. This amendment does not result in any change to the developable acreage, open space acreage or amount of development approved under the plan. The amendment was approved by the City of Raleigh on August 16, 2023.

CMP Zoning Amendment — Approved (dated July 31, 2023) [PDF]

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