Chris Crew was born in Morganton, NC and moved to Raleigh in 1964. He’s been a resident of Historic Oakwood since 1975.

Educated at NCSU and UNC-Chapel Hill, works for the State of NC in Public Safety. Preservationist, Cook, Trombonist, Brewer, Choirboy, Grandfather.

Chris delivered the following comments to City Council on November 14, 2023:


60 years ago, Raleigh Development took a destructive turn. Since then, in the name of progress, the City and State governments have conspired to erase hundreds of historic structures from the landscape. Many of these structures were solid, old-fashioned, charming if ordinary residential structures; more than a few were architectural masterpieces.

All are gone forever, and the land they stood on has for the last 50 years served as street-level parking. In my observation since 2008, the bulk of these parking lots see daily occupancy rates of about 20%.

Zoning decisions and variances over the past ten years, and more recently related to the BRT bait and switch, doom hundreds more—

Many, like the homes lost to the 60’s and 70’s Urban Renewal fad, are Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing. With a good number of both ordinary and monumental structures threatened by zoning decisions approved by this panel, it is time to act.

These actions should focus on three strategies:

1) Use your influence to induce the State Property Office and Raleigh Planning and Development to cooperate on transfer of title of these parking lots to bona fide Preservation Organizations for the express purpose of saving historic monuments such as Elmwood and the Hubert Royster House, and the no less important ordinary houses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that are doomed to density-driven financial ventures benefiting a select few.

2) Use your influence to make preservation of our communities a ruling principle in all zoning decisions.

3) Decouple from rapid transit efforts the wholesale preemptive multi-story upzoning of 744 parcels in the New Bern Corridor.

Taller by-right upzoning will drive tax hikes and luxury redevelopment to the corridor, destroying historic communities while eliminating any appetite for construction of new affordable units.

A quote from Smart Growth America June, 2016:

“The Wake County Transit Plan proposes to bring frequent bus rapid transit service to some of Raleigh’s lowest-wealth communities.” says Ken Bowers, “With the plan approved by the County, now is the time to ensure that these investments benefit rather than displace households and families who stand to gain from the increased access and mobility improved transit service will provide.”

NOW more than ever, right Councilors?

You can read the Smart Growth piece here: Jersey City, Birmingham, and Raleigh win new workshops for revitalization without displacement

Mayor Pro-Tem: This is your District. This is your opportunity to work with your fellow council members to stop this.

Councilors: You are the responsible party. The ability and duty are yours. YOU are the key players in insuring that the history of Raleigh, its culture, its communities, its monuments, and its traditions survive for the benefit, edification, and pleasure of future generations.

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