The Week Ahead – Week of January 4, 2021

The Week Ahead – Week of January 4, 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Table of Contents

  • Take Action
  • City Calendar
  • News You Can Use
  • Covid-19 info
  • See Latest Blogs & Index of All Blog Topics in the Sidebar

Take Action!

  • Sign up by 5pm, Friday, January 1 to speak during the public comment period at the January 5 special City Council meeting
  • Sign up by 5pm, Friday, January 1 to speak during a public hearing at the January 5 special City Council meeting
  • Parks Public Participation Policy Update — provide your feedback by January 5, 2021
  • Floodplain Regulations Text Change (TC-16-20) — provide your feedback by January 14, 2021
  • Take the survey on Proposed Floodplain Regulations by January 31

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, January 1, 2021 — HOLIDAY

  • Sign up by 5pm, Friday, January 1 to speak during the public comment period at the January 5 special City Council meeting
  • Sign up by 5pm, Friday, January 1 to speak during a public hearing at the January 5 special City Council meeting

Tuesday, January 5

  • 11am — Raleigh Transit Authority Route Committee
  • 1pm — Raleigh City Council, Virtual meetings are broadcast live on RTN11, on the City’s website  or at the City’s Youtube channel, agenda includes
    • 24-Month Waiver Request – Z-37-19 Page Road
    • Rezoning Z-29-20: W. South Street, On the western side of S. Dawson Street, between W. South Street and W. Lenoir Street (District C) – recommend 2/2 hearing date
    • Rezoning Z-35-20: Wade Avenue, south side between its intersections with Gardner Street and Canterbury Road (District D) – recommend 2/2 hearing date
    • Rezoning Z-40-20: 1912 Hillsborough Street, approximately 2 miles east of the intersection of Hillsborough Street and I-440. (District D) – recommend 2/2 hearing date
    • COVID 19 Update
    • Raleigh Water Utility Payments Update
    • Public Participation for Park Planning Policy Update
  • 4pm — Planning Commission Text Change Committee, to participate send an email to Justin.Rametta@raleighnc.gov, agenda includes Short-Term Rentals (TC-8-20)
  • 7pm — Raleigh City Council, Virtual meetings are broadcast live on RTN11, on the City’s website  or at the City’s Youtube channel, agenda includes
    • Joint Hearing with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission
    • Public Comment
    • Street Closing STC-6-2020: Walser Place (District C)
    • Street Closing STC-11-2020: The Lakes Drive (District A)
    • Petition Annexation – Contiguous Inside ETJ – 4505 &4525 Tryon Road, 2301 Dover Farm Road (District D)
    • 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 C)
    • Rezoning Z-21-20: Morgan and Boylan, southeast quadrant of their intersection (District D)
    • Rezoning Z-31-20: Woodlawn Drive, at the northwest and northeast corners of its intersection with Brookvalley Drive (District B)
    • Rezoning Z-41-20: 7650, 7630 ACC Blvd, approximately 400 feet west of its intersection with Alexander Town Blvd (District E)
    • 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)
    • Text Change: TC-15-20 Campus Zoning District

Wednesday, January 6

  • 3:30pm — Raleigh Transit Authority Finance & Policy Committee

Thursday, January 7

  • 1pm — Raleigh Transit Authority Marketing Committee
  • 3pm — Stormwater Management Advisory Commission

Friday, January 8

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News You Can Use

  • Listening Sessions: Conversations on Race, Racism, and Social Equity
  • Raleigh Police Chief Announces Retirement
  • First Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Receives Federal Funding
  • Five Easy Tips to Keep Leaves out of Storm Drains
  • 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. 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

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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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Raleigh’s Leaders’ Moment to Listen

Raleigh’s Leaders’ Moment to Listen

During the holidays we are re-posting some of our favorite guest blogs while we take some time away from our hectic schedules. Here is an important message from Terrance Ruth.

 

By Terrance Ruth

Raleigh is at a pivotal moment, a moment where leaders must listen. For a city that has received so much praise for its quality of life as a great place to live, work, and raise a family, Raleigh’s leadership is being questioned by its most important stakeholders, the community.

Beneath the glory and buzz of startup hubs, amazing restaurants, and continuous development, lies this difficult question: Who is benefiting from Raleigh’s success and who is Raleigh’s success ignoring?

2020 has challenged the depth of Raleigh’s success and community leaders are calling for new city leadership. We have seen a diverse group of protesters for weeks. We have seen council meetings saturated with residents’ speeches. We have seen council members resign and be asked to resign, by residents. What is at the core of this relentless citizen dissatisfaction? Why have so many taken to the streets in a city that has such a promising outlook?

This outcry by community members can be partially attributed to a systematic silencing of the community’s voice. From all that has occurred so far in this defining year, the consistent thread is the request by community members to be taken seriously and to be heard by Raleigh’s leadership.

Many low-income people of color live in the most neglected areas of our city. These communities have been systematically shut out of wealth-building opportunities of the last century. Gentrification, environmental neglect, and other negative side effects of Raleigh’s never-ending growth have come at the expense of those who have been the most excluded from policy decisions on how Raleigh develops and how it cares for all of its residents.

It is time for Raleigh to become a city where growth decisions are intentionally embedding equity and respect for community voices, allowing benefits to be shared by the least among our citizens. It is time that Raleigh’s leadership implements policies and practices that dismantle barriers to residents’ engagement and empowerment.

As a city, we must equip residents with the opportunities and resources they need to meet their basic needs: jobs that pay livable wages, efficient transit, safe and affordable communities, and a sustainable, livable environment. Equally important is that leaders create a sense of community that is based on a shared vision of how to create and nurture a well-managed city that is accessible to all.

I believe Raleigh can do this by becoming more inclusive, just, and human-centered. Our city leaders can and must restore the public’s trust and allow more citizen voices to be at the table to help create solutions that reflect the needs and rights of all of Raleigh’s residents.

I stand with those who seek to amplify, deepen and multiply efforts to build an equitable, thriving Raleigh that values the voices and participation of our residents. Raleigh leaders, do not miss this moment to listen. 

Terrance Ruth, PhD

Dr. Terrance Ruth has been an advocate for public education, serving as a teacher and principal, and is the parent of a son who attends public schools in Wake County. Dr. Terrance Ruth has worked in K-12 schools across Florida and in Wake County. A former Administrator for Wake county Public Schools, he continues to serve as an Education Consultant to numerous nonprofits.

Dr. Terrance Ruth has led social justice organizations at the national, state, and local levels with a reputation for being the implementation expert.  He served as the NC NAACP Executive Director under Dr. Barber and Dr. Spearman and has served as National Director of Programming for the Repairers of the Breach.

Terrance is a Lecturer at NCSU and serves as President at Justice Love Foundation.  

Citizens Speak Out: When Council Silenced the CACs, Black Communities Suffered Most

Citizens Speak Out: When Council Silenced the CACs, Black Communities Suffered Most

During the holidays we are re-posting some of our most impactful guest blogs while we take some time away from our hectic schedules. Here is an important message from the community.

At the June 2nd City Council meeting, Hillsborough-Wade CAC Chair Donna Bailey shared a video about the CACs that was produced — ironically — by the City itself before the new City Council abolished them.

https://livableraleigh.com/why-did-they-kill-our-citizen-advisory-councils-the-secret-video/

Four more Raleigh residents registered their dismay at what Council did.*   One, John Frederick Turner, is the son of one of Raleigh’s first black Council members and a strong CAC proponent. We’ve excerpted their comments below.

John Frederick Turner: Don’t allow greed to gleam brighter than charm

I present this dialog by first injecting the name of my father, Frank Lewis Turner. My father sat on the Council I’m addressing in the early 1980s. He was one of the “at large” councilmen (and one of the first Black members of Council).

Now-a-days it seems that many politicians will promise me exactly what I wish to hear. That’s during the campaign. I believe a change of heart doesn’t occur overnight without some ultimate Divine persuasion, or the human kind — favors or cash. Was the CAC a wrong voice for Raleigh’s residents? Was there 40+ years of the wrong things? How was it deemed detrimental to Raleigh? Detrimental enough to disband without debate, without consultation of the community?

It’s the people, not the developer’s buildings, that make Raleigh attractive to not only those coming in, but also to the older souls that made it what it is. Yes, I call Raleigh a big country town. Whoever wants to turn it in to a metropolis has no idea the heartache that will eventually be forcibly injected, whether you like it or not. To have not hired a consultant, done the research, had this virtual council apparatus in place, leaves Raleigh’s heart open to knives that will cut neighborhoods and communities up. Don’t allow greed to gleam brighter than charm.

Donna Bailey: This council silenced the Black community

Trust is something that has to be earned. In disbanding the CAC’s, the ONLY community-based voice in Raleigh, you got rid of a valuable place where citizens and police got together on a regular basis to discuss important issues. It was the BEST at building relationships with the police and having a dialog with neighbors.

Forty percent of the CACs (8 of 18) were in predominantly Black neighborhoods. Your actions of disbanding them silenced the very voices that you now say you want to hear from. I ask you why would anyone trust your actions now?

Chantelle Miles: Buffkin reneges on campaign promise

There is an alarming discrepancy between what Patrick Buffkin said about the CACS during his campaign and his vote as an elected official to dismantle them. This discrepancy comes across as a political bait and switch in a process that can be best described in INDYWEEK’S words as carrying “a stink that won’t wash off.” It has been 4 months, and I assure you, the stink has not worn off.

Even worse, our city is in turmoil after a weekend of impassioned protests over the murder of another unarmed person of color at the hands of law enforcement officers. Now, more than ever, Raleigh needs to come together. But how can it? With the exception of David Cox and Corey Branch, this council has disempowered the community by taking away its main forum for engagement, the CACs, and there does not appear to be a replacement in sight.

David P. Stratton: Knight, funded by developers, plots against public interest

Councilor Knight, as a candidate for your current councilor seat, whose vital interest are you serving when you plot in secret with other council members to eliminate the CACs?  Just how will you serve to represent the public’s interest and hear all of their views about what is important to them in your district until a replacement is found and implemented?  What’s your big plan to engage and participate with your community until your hired consultant tells you what to do?

May I remind you, Mr. Knight, that although you and your campaign may have been funded by big developers and their bottomless bank accounts, it is your JOB as a councilor to serve the public’s interest and not your own.  Your hypocrisy on this issue is blatant, unethical, and wrong.

John Lambert: Council with no mandate attacks democracy

I did not invest years of my professional life in the armed forces of this country and participate in two wars only to sit back while citizens are denied the right to participate in and comment on the conduct of OUR government. Democracy is a two-way street.

This council certainly enjoyed no mandate in the last municipal election, in which far less than a majority of the electorate participated. It is therefore outrageous that you have taken action to eliminate the most economical and reliable forum for communication among Raleigh’s citizens and the officials who nominally represent them. This is not a monarchy that governs by fiat. Restore the voice of the citizens, let them be heard, and LISTEN to them.

* Regarding the Council members who voted to dismantle the CACs, Council members Knight, Buffkin, Martin, Melton and Stewart all said during the 2019 election campaign that they appreciated the value of CACs and wanted to STRENGTHEN and IMPROVE them. They never tipped their hand about getting rid of them. Council members Branch and Cox voted to retain the CACs, but were out-voted 6-2. Mayor Baldwin, for the record, always scorned the CACs.

I helped Mayor Clarence Lightner create the CACs. Why is the current City Council so unwilling to listen to citizens?

I helped Mayor Clarence Lightner create the CACs. Why is the current City Council so unwilling to listen to citizens?

During the holidays we are re-posting some of our favorite guest blogs while we take some time away from our hectic schedules. Here is an important message from Henry Sanoff.
Henry Sanoff, a globally respected professor at North Carolina State University, copied this letter to his neighbors. We have his permission to post it here. The network of 18 Citizen Advisory Councils (CACs) was abandoned by the newly elected City Council on Feb. 4, with no advance notice and no public comment allowed.

To Mayor Baldwin and City Council members,

The key issue, which you have all disregarded during the past few months, is the need to listen.

You initially abandoned a key listening post, the CACs, which I developed working with Mayor Lightner in 1973, and which has been in place for more than 4 decades. Clearly, conflict is part of a normal process of decision making, and there is conflict when citizens discuss the future of their community.

To be fearful of conflict is antithetical to a normal planning decision process. To accept conflict as a norm does require some skills in conflict resolution.

So, the lack of serious communication in the past few days is also symptomatic of an unwillingness to listen. As a faculty member at UC Berkeley in the early 1960s, I witnessed many initially peaceful demonstrations that became violent because the police were prepared for violence without recognizing that their militaristic appearance was a partial cause.

The resort to violence was in part due to a conflict in values between students and the university administration. It required a change in the administration with an interest in listening and a willingness to compromise…and they did.

I was also in the Watts area of Los Angeles when the riots occurred. This was a visibly quiet residential area in the city, but less visible was a lack of public transportation, access to health care, and high unemployment … a tinder box ready to explode … and it did. The area appeared to be a quiet residential area. The pain experienced by the residents was not visible.

More recently, however, there have been several places in the country where local leaders joined the demonstrators in support of their grievances rather than arming for potential violence. They listened and garnered local support. This only suggests that there are problems in a community that are invisible to the untrained eye.

Your proposed approach to sensitivity training of Council members has often been proven to be ineffective. Rather, it would be more effective to identify (advisors or) consultants who are skilled in listening techniques and conflict resolution. Yes, this may require more time than pushing through hasty decisions, but ultimately may earn the support of the community to a city administration that respects the many diverse voices and a willingness to listen.

Sorry for the lecture, an occupational hazard.

Best wishes for a more enlightened future,

Henry Sanoff

Professor Emeritus of Architecture

ACSA/Alumni Distinguished Professor

North Carolina State University

Downtown South Needs a Makeover

Downtown South Needs a Makeover

During the holidays we are re-posting some of our favorite guest blogs while we take some time away from our normal hectic schedules. Here is a recent message from Jane Harrison.

Jane Harrison, Ph.D., works at North Carolina State University for NOAAs Sea Grant program. She has a 20-year track record of community organizing. Jane is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh which belongs to ONE Wake – a multiethnic coalition of faith-based and civic organizations that advocates for affordable housing, living wage jobs, and quality education. She wrote this letter to Raleigh decision makers with regards to the proposed Downtown South development.

Dear Raleigh City Councilors & Planning Commissioners,

I write to you with regards to the rezoning application: Z-13-20 Downtown South. If approved, the development will result in 95% impervious surface over almost 150 acres along Walnut Creek and adjacent to numerous residential neighborhoods which already flood frequently. If approved, there is a potential for 21.5 million square feet of development – equal to two-thirds of downtown Raleigh’s current building space. These are my concerns:

(1) Gentrification and displacement of nearby residents are a given without affordable housing requirements for this development. Currently there are none.

The developer Kane Realty Corporation has not made sufficient strides on this issue. Asking for public tax dollars for community benefits like affordable housing via a TIF or TIG puts the onus back on the public. Why not ask the developer to use some of their own profits to ensure equity in housing?

(2) The proposed development is inconsistent with Raleigh’s Future Land Use Map given that the proposed 40 story buildings that would cover much of the area are 2 times taller than suggested building heights.

Imagine the additional 150,000 daily vehicular trips that would result if this development goes forward. I try not to! A traffic impact analysis conducted by Kimley Horn and Associates and reviewed by city staff shows that the proposed development will have severe impacts to the surrounding roadway network and cannot be mitigated by the study’s recommended improvements. Why not insist the developer adhere to the city’s Future Land Use Map and right size this development from a social, economic, and environmental standpoint?

(3) Neighborhoods downstream from the proposed site may experience additional flooding and water quality impairments due to the development’s stormwater runoff. 

Kane submitted a Downstream Impact Analysis in November, conducted by the design and engineering firm McAdams. They make the claim that the development will cause no additional stormwater impacts. If this is true, can it be verified? This 266 page report warrants review by an independent body of stormwater experts. Will you direct Raleigh’s Stormwater Management Advisory Commission to do so? How can our developments set a precedent for the best practices in green infrastructure and environmental impact, and move beyond the status quo?

I appreciate your timely consideration of these concerns.

Kind regards,

Jane Harrison from District D