At Kane site in South Raleigh, residents choose a new neighborhood over a 2nd Downtown

At Kane site in South Raleigh, residents choose a new neighborhood over a 2nd Downtown

Following up on our previous blog about the community forum conducted last week by the Wake County Housing Justice Coalition, two pictures told the story. More than 100 people took part in the forum and offered their views about Kane Realty’s proposed  “Downtown South” project, which by the way is a mile-plus from the real Downtown Raleigh.

The participants were asked to choose between a neighborhood scale of development at the site (2 to 12-story buildings, with lots of trees) or development on the scale of a new downtown (20- to 40-story buildings and no trees).

In short, did they prefer this — as shown in an official City of Raleigh illustration?

Or would they like this instead — as pitched by Kane Realty? 

By a margin of 87% to 13%, they choose the neighborhood-scale development over the new downtown that Kane is pitching — with a stadium as a draw. 

Similarly, when asked if they supported the stadium concept at this site, 86% said NO. Zero people said YES to the stadium. 14% chose NOT SURE.

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A few takeaways:

        1. The Downtown South image is Kane’s. Tall buildings like what Kane is proposing inevitably include expensive housing or commercial office space because of the high cost of building them.
        2. Kane wants this 2nd Downtown to come out of the ground more than a mile from the actual Downtown. In between, small-scale neighborhoods like Fuller Heights and Caraleigh would be surrounded and, eventually, crushed. 
        3. The first image is an illustration used by the City of Raleigh’s planning staff to depict what “Transit-Oriented Development” is supposed to look like along the 4 planned Bus Rapid Transit routes. (The link is to a set of PowerPoint slides.)
        4. One of the 4 BRT routes is along South Wilmington Street, which is where Kane proposes to put his stadium. Note that “Transit-Oriented Development” is supposed to be dense, but not high-rise. Why? Because some of the housing near the BRT station stops is supposed to be affordable by low-income households, and the rest affordable to working-class folks who may not own a car — or want a car.
        5. Fascinating that, before Kane showed up with his new “Downtown” plan, the City clearly had in mind lower-scale development along South Wilmington Street, which is depicted in the first image. (The view is from south to north; South Wilmington is the street that curves up to meet the actual Downtown Raleigh in the distance.)
        6. Dense developments of 3-story, 4-story and perhaps up to 7-story apartment buildings along South Wilmington Street make great sense to attract bus riders. 
        7. Plentiful trees surrounding the apartment buildings fit with the fact that this site adjoins Walnut Creek, a constant flood hazard. Trees absorb water. Lots of water.
        8. Downtown pavement worsens flooding. 
The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition gives voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices

The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition gives voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices

Kudos to the Wake County Housing Justice Coalition (WCHJC) for their Virtual Public Forum on November 23, lifting the voices of those who would be most impacted by John Kane‘s Downtown South project.

With the decline in local, independent investigative news reporting, the Coalition has stepped into the role of giving voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices driven by Baldwin, her Council cohorts and their wealthy development donors

The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition has stepped into the role of giving voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices

The Coalition’s Monday night forum was attended by more than 100 impacted and concerned residents, making it larger by far than any city or developer-sponsored zoning session. Attendees included members of prominent faith organizations, environmental organizations and impacted neighborhoods, especially those threatened by rapidly increasing gentrification, flooding and other systemic racial and economic disparities.

The speakers were joined by one Councilor and offered a strong vision for equitable prosperity for all, where a successful Downtown South project begins with the voices of the public in determining what is truly “in the public interest.” That means balancing Council’s valuable grant of zoning development entitlements with equally valuable community benefits, including Affordable Housing, eliminating flooding and providing the kinds of community-serving institutions and businesses that strengthen and revitalize existing neighborhoods rather than simply erasing them in a flood of 40-story sports and entertainment profits for the already-wealthy.

The full Virtual Public Forum video is available at the Wake County Housing Justice Coalition’s Facebook Page, along with a recap of community comments and the results of polling conducted during the meeting.   


A pattern of silencing community voices

The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition‘s efforts are especially important since Mayor Baldwin and her pro-growth Councilors, in their rush to approve Kane’s largest ever development in Raleigh, have made no attempt to invite the voices of the people. Instead, Council has again sent the fox into the henhouse, with Kane‘s development team controlling who will be heard and imposing an artificial deadline designed to let the clock run out on negotiations. 

This is the latest example of how this Council has consistently rewritten zoning review rules to silence community voices in favor of development profits: In February, the new Council planned in secret and voted without public notice or public input to defund Raleigh’s Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs). Council replaced the community run CAC review of upzoning cases with a developer run process, held out of public view, at a time and place decided by the developer, and with the community’s independent vote replaced by a sanitized developer report to Council.

Want to know more about Kane’s $300M+ stadium subsidy or the Planning Commission’s courageous efforts to make the Downtown South proposal comply with Raleigh’s own strategic growth goals?  Read more Livable Raleigh Blogs HERE.

 

 

 

The Week Ahead – Week of November 30, 2020

The Week Ahead – Week of November 30, 2020

Table of Contents

  • News you can use
  • Take Action
  • City Calendar
  • Covid-19 info
  • See Latest Blogs & Index of All Blog Topics in the Sidebar

News You Can Use

  • The City of Raleigh Community Enhancement Grant Request for Proposals (RFP) for the program year beginning July 1, 2021 is now available on the City’s website. Only applications from nonprofits with 501(c)(3) designation from the federal Internal Review Service (IRS) will be reviewed.

    Applications are due Friday, January 8, 2021. Interested applicants must attend one of two mandatory virtual Pre-proposal Workshops to be held online December 2, 2020 and December 4, 2020. If you have questions, or to obtain a copy of the application form, budget form, or score card, please contact John Niffenegger in the Housing and Neighborhoods Department. He may also be reached at 919-996-6961.

  • The 2021-2022 Human Services Agency Funding Application is available! The City of Raleigh annually awards Human Services Agency Funding to local nonprofit agencies who provide direct services to the elderly, youth, differently- abled, substance users, and those who are homeless. Proposed programs and projects must benefit low- income persons and households residing in Raleigh. Agencies must be headquartered in Raleigh.  Funds are awarded through a competitive review process. View the FY22 Human Services Agency Funding Application & Instructions.Completed applications must be received by the Office Equity and Inclusion no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, January 22, 2020
  • City Manager’s Weekly Report

Take Action!

  • Sign up to speak during the public comment period at the December 1 City Council meeting by 5pm, Friday, 11/27
  • Sign up to speak during a public hearing at the December 1 City Council meeting by 5pm, Friday, 11/27

City Calendar

  • The meetings listed below appear on the City’s Events Calendar at raleighnc.gov
  • Virtual meetings are broadcast live on RTN11, on the City’s website  or at the City’s Youtube channel
  • To participate in some meetings, you must sign up in advance.
  • Check raleighnc.gov for latest calendar updates, agendas, and information on participating in virtual meetings.

Friday, November 27

  • Sign up to speak during the public comment period at the December 1 City Council meeting by 5pm, Friday, 11/27
  • Sign up to speak during a public hearing at the December 1 City Council meeting by 5pm, Friday, 11/27

Tuesday, December 1

  • 11am — Raleigh Transit Authority Route Committee, the meeting will be broadcast live on RTN 11, the city’s website and YouTube channel.
  • 1pm — City Council, Virtual meetings are broadcast live on RTN11, on the City’s website  or at the City’s Youtube channel, agenda includes
    • Rezoning Z-21-20: Morgan and Boylan, southeast quadrant of their intersection (District D) – Recommending 1/5 hearing
    • Rezoning Z-31-20: Woodlawn Drive, at the northwest and northeast corners of its intersection with Brookvalley Drive (District B) – Recommending 1/5 hearing
    • Rezoning Z-24-19: Raleigh Beach Rd PD, on the north side of New Bern Avenue, on the east and west sides of N. Rogers Lane (District B) – Recommending 1/5 hearing
    • Rezoning Z-42-20: Cameron Street on the north side, located approximately a quarter-mile east of the intersection of Oberlin Road and Cameron Street (District D) – Recommending 1/5 hearing
    • Text Change TC-8-20: Short Term Rental – requesting 45-day extension
    • Text Change TC-15-20: Campus District – Recommending 1/5 hearing
    • Courageous Community Conversations
    • Healing Transitions Facility Expansion – Capital Campaign and Update
    • Rezoning Z-31-19: 5228 Needham Road, near the intersection of Blue Run Lane and Pine Drive (District C)
    • COVID-19 Updates
    • 2021 Council Meeting Schedule
    • Devereux Meadow Park – Schematic Design Contract Amendment
    • FY21 Parking Operations – Budget Amendments and Transfers
    • Yard Waste Collection Update
    • Tax Credit Recommendation – Milner Commons
    • Strategic Plan Update
    • Bicycle Lane On-Street Parking Restrictions – Hardimont Drive and Milburnie Road
    • BikeRaleigh Plan Revisions – Project Priority Update
    • Petition Sidewalk Program Updates
    • Latta University Historic Park Schematic Design
    • Text Change – Outdoor Seating in NX Zoning District
    • Parking for Downtown Business Owners
  • 4pm — RHDC Community Awareness Committee
  • 7pm — City Council, Virtual meetings are broadcast live on RTN11, on the City’s website  or at the City’s Youtube channel, agenda includes
    • Public Comment
    • Annual Housing Action Plan – Fiscal Year 2021-22
    • Street Closing STC-13-2020: Hawkins Street (C)
    • Petition annexation- Contiguous- Outside ETJ/Durham County- 7520 Leesville Road (District E)
    • Rezoning Z-37-20: 7520 Leesville Road, on the west side of Leesville Road, approximately 1,000 feet south of its intersection with Shady Grove Road (District E)
    • Rezoning Z-4-20: 1701 Trailwood Drive located about a mile northeast of the intersection of I-40 and Gorman Street (District D)
    • Rezoning Z-26-20: 1100 Corporate Center Drive, approximately 0.5 miles west of the intersection of Trinity Road and Edwards Mill Road (District D)
    • Rezoning Z-32-20: Falls of Neuse Road at the northeast corner with Harps Mill Road (District A)
    • Rezoning Z-36-20: 2201 Edwards Mill Road, approximately 0.4 miles northeast of the Edwards Mill Road/I-40 West/Wade Avenue interchange. (District D)
    • Rezoning Z-38-20: 309 & 311 N Tarboro Street approximately a quarter mile north of its intersection with New Bern Avenue (District C)
    • Comprehensive Plan Amendments CP-2-20: Midtown
    • Comprehensive Plan Amendment CP-4-20: W Morgan Street
    • Text Change TC-4-20: Infill Setbacks and Height
    • Text Change TC-10-20: Authorization Process for UDO Text Changes and Text Changes to Zoning Conditions

Wednesday, December 2

  • 7:45am — RHDC Research Committee
  • 3:30pm — Raleigh Transit Authority Finance and Policy Committee, the meeting will be broadcast live on RTN 11, the city’s website and YouTube channel.

Thursday, December 3

  • 2pm — Raleigh Human Services Agency Funding Informational Workshop, Zoom
  • 3pm — Stormwater Management Advisory Commission
  • 4pm — Art, Education, & Collections Committee
  • 4:30pm — Appearance Commission, the meeting will be broadcast live on RTN 11, the city’s website and YouTube channel. The meeting can also be listened to by telephone. For instructions on how to listen by phone, please contact Lee Stevens via email or 919-996-4629. Agenda includes
    • DA-2-20 – 1428 Gavin Street
    • DA-3-20 – 1200 & 1198 Partin Road, 901, 1001, 1005 & 1009 Freedom Drive, and 4524, 4702, 4704 & 4710 New Bern Avenue
  • 6pm — Parks Committee

Saturday, December 5

  • 10am — Stream Monitoring Workshop, Register

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Please stay safe and follow official government guidelines during this public health crisis.

Your best sources of reliable information during the COVID-19 public health crisis are official government websites.

COVID-19 information from Wake County

COVID-19 information from the City of Raleigh

Resources for people experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis 

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Stick to the Plan — Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan

Stick to the Plan — Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan

 

Terry Snyder has been a resident of Raleigh since 1972 when she moved here to attend graduate school in the School Psychology Program  at NCSU. Her career as a school psychologist and school administrator spanned 32 years. She is currently retired. Terry supports the smart growth of Raleigh that involves  preservation, conservation, and protection of our neighborhoods and natural resources while meeting the diverse  needs of a growing  city in an equitable way. She recently spoke at a Raleigh City Council meeting.

Good evening Mayor, Councilors and City Staff. My name is Terry Snyder and I am a long-term resident of Raleigh.

As much as I support an Affordable Housing Bond for the residents of Raleigh, I could not bring myself to vote for it as written. Since the bond is not specific about monetary appropriations, I do not trust this City Council to adequately address the needs of those who need it most. This distrust is based on how much overall development is being and has been conducted throughout Raleigh.

I would like to refer to Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan. It makes a clear commitment to sustainability and focuses on the “interdependent relationships of environmental stewardship, economic strength and social integrity.” It emphasizes the provision of economic and housing opportunities for all segments of the population in all areas of the city… including “aging in place.” It strongly promotes protection, restoration and preservation of the environment and existing neighborhoods; “of careful infill development that complements existing character and responds to natural features” … “the conservation of urban, suburban and native forests” … “preserving its natural landscapes” … “wildlife and habitat protection” and on and on.

This plan is the city’s primary policy and planning document and mandates that elected officials “must adopt it and fund its implementation” and that appointed officials “will use it as a guide to discretionary decisions. It is also an important source of information and guidance to private sector actors involved in development.”

Was anyone adhering to the policy guidelines of this plan when decisions were made about the development next to Shelley Lake or the one above Azalea Falls?

I have observed total disregard of these policy guidelines in many neighborhoods in both lower income and in well to do neighborhoods, which is promoting both race and class gentrification.

Many developers (large and small) seem to have free rein on what is being built. Smaller affordable homes and affordable apartment complexes are routinely replaced with huge expensive homes and luxury apartments in many neighborhoods. How is this addressing the issues of conservation, preservation, protection, affordable housing, and gentrification?

Since it is not being done now, I do not trust City Council, developers and other stakeholders to adhere to the Comprehensive Plan’s policy guidelines any more than is being done now in the continued development of Raleigh including the development of the Downtown South Project.

Thank you

A Virtual Meeting Monday Night: What Does the Community Want Downtown South to Be?

A Virtual Meeting Monday Night: What Does the Community Want Downtown South to Be?

THE MEETING IS ON ZOOM AND IS OPEN TO EVERYONE, FREE OF CHARGE. TO ATTEND, REGISTER RIGHT HERE:

WCHJC FORUM.

Meeting time is 7 pm Monday November 23

Two fundamental things have been missing from John Kane’s Downtown South project since its inception. One is an actual plan — any plan — for what the project is supposed to be when it grows up. The second is community engagement. What does the community want to see on the 146-acre site now controlled by Kane Realty? Kane never asked.

These two missing pieces are a big part of why Kane’s application to up-zone the site has run into trouble at the city’s Planning Commission. The PC held yet another meeting on it Thursday which ended in total frustration and a decision not to take it up again until December 8. (PC’s next meeting is November 24, but Kane’s application will not be on the agenda.) The application appears to be headed for a unanimous recommendation to City Council that it be rejected.

Click image for tax break details

That won’t be the end of it, however. Mayor Baldwin is signaling furiously that she’s going to push for the up-zoning to be approved by Council regardless what the PC does. After which she wants to give it a massive tax break.

***

All that said, SOMETHING will be built on this land over the next 10-20 years. And neighbors deserve a chance to make their own recommendations about what should go there. That’s the purpose of a virtual Zoom session Monday night, November 23 at 7 pm hosted by the Wake County Housing Justice Coalition.

CLICK THIS LINK TO REGISTER.

We’re told that the format will allow those who attend to register their preferences on questions like:

      • Should the scale of development here be 20-40 story buildings? Or should it be a neighborhood scale of 2-12 story buildings? (Or something in between?)
      • Should luxury housing be the main product? Or more affordable housing? (Or a broad mix of housing affordable at every income level from high to very low?)
      • Should this site feature a 20,000 seat soccer/entertainment stadium? Or should it feature a library, a community center, and outdoor plaza for the community to gather? (Or …?)
      • Should pavement prevail? Or community gardens and trees to absorb floodwaters.

Remember, this site straddles Walnut Creek, which floods regularly onto the downstream neighborhoods of Rochester Heights and Biltmore Hills — historically African-American neighborhoods that were built on the low ground of Raleigh. (At the time, the low grounds were all that was available for black residents.)

***

Kane is asking for the site to be up-zoned to allow buildings as tall as 40 stories and 20 stories, without any details about what it will actually be. Sometimes a stadium is mentioned. Sometimes it isn’t. The only consistent note sounded by Kane Realty is of massive concrete structures that may well worsen the already terrible flooding condition around Walnut Creek.

The Planning Commission continues to press Kane and his spokespeople for details about how much flooding will be caused and also how much traffic will be generated. (Planning staff’s initial estimate was up to 150,000 car trips per day, which would strangle area roads.)

And of course, without any detailed plans, Kane is unable to answer the traffic or flooding questions. Which is why several PC members have said that his application should be withdrawn and re-submitted as a “Planned Development” — a kind of rezoning that is accompanied by a master plan and details about what goes where and how big it all is.

For more on all of this, tune in Monday night and help baste this turkey.