Midtown CAC Chair Larry Helfant has been meeting with City staff and representatives from Kane Realty to try to get adherence to the Midtown Area Plan for Kane’s rezoning request (Z-67-21). He has penned this open letter to Raleigh residents asking them to contact City Council members to support the Midtown Area Plan that they approved in December 2020.
After continuing development along Wake Forest Road, Saint Albans Road and Six Forks Road without any City infrastructure spending, area residents requested an area plan for the Midtown area.
After four years and extensive citizen outreach, the plan was finally unanimously approved by Council in December 2020. Part of that plan included recommendations for 20 story maximum building heights, as outlined in the Future Land Use / Urban Form map.
A current rezoning, Z-67-21, threatens to change all of that with proposals for 40, 30, and 12 story buildings in what the developer calls “underutilized areas” of North Hills, notably parking areas.
This application, if approved, will drastically change the skyline in Midtown and set a future precedent for building heights for suburban areas of the City.
In an effort to uphold this plan, area residents have requested that rezonings and modified zonings in this area adhere to the building height recommendations outlined in the plan as specified in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan – 20 stories.
We are very well aware of past zoning projects in the Midtown area, especially those along Saint Albans Road and North Hills Main. When CACs still had a role in proposed development, it was customary to meet with the developer and arbitrate conditions. Those times are past. That is why we question the intent of this rezoning and its community benefits.
This rezoning boasts that it will further enhance the theme of Raleigh – Walkability. In reality, placement of those buildings will disrupt existing bus movement and cause the loss of Fire Station 9 for an estimated three years or more.
Unlike other development in the area, there are no retail benefits and based on building locations, it looks like retail services will be reduced. With the projected doubling of residential and office space, traffic will be increased in an area that hasn’t had any roadway improvements in nearly ten years.
The developer claims this rezoning has public benefits of providing land for an improved bus transfer station and fire station as community benefit. These would not have been required if this rezoning had not caused the need for each as a solution to staff concerns from both Transportation and Fire administration.
We have asked the developer, Kane Realty, to address fundamental or conditional changes in Z-67-21 before the Council hearing on July 5.
- Reduce building heights to 20 stories or less in all three nodes
- Treat the building(s) facing Rowan Street in the same manner as those facing Lassiter Mill with transitional heights or step backs to reduce the impact on neighboring apartments, Saint Timothy’s school and residences along Rowan Street and Gates Street
- Transition building heights facing Lassiter Mill Road and those along Ramblewood Drive and Cardigan Place.
- Follow the recommendations of the area plan and include affordable housing at 80% AMI
If you believe that area plans proposed of residents, by residents and for residents, and endorsed by this City Council should be followed –
please email CityCouncilmembers@raleighnc.gov or call your City Councilors at 919-996-3050 to make your voice heard.
This Mayor and Council need to be reminded that they unanimously supported the Midtown – Saint Albans area plan in December 2020!
Note – Livable Raleigh commissioned a poll from Raleigh’s own nationally recognized polling firm, Public Policy Polling. Among the results, 72% of likely voters said Raleigh’s government is too beholden to developers and the real estate development industry.
See the full polling results here: Voters Call for Change