Jennifer Irving Kochman is a researcher and editor.  Her family has lived in Raleigh for 15 years, and she is the parent of one son who attends a public high school in Raleigh, and another who went through the WCPSS as well, and now attends UNC-Chapel Hill.  Early in her career while living in Florida, she worked as a Senior Legislative Aide to a State Representative and then as a District Director to a United States Congressman. Jennifer delivered the following remarks at the January 4, 2022 Raleigh City Council meeting:

Good evening Mayor Baldwin and City Councilors. My name is Jennifer Irving Kochman. Happy New Year to you all!

My husband and I were notified of a Board of Adjustment meeting taking place on December 13th because a home within 100 feet of our property was applying for a Special Use Permit to run a business from their home and there was an evidentiary hearing. As a result of that meeting, we became aware of some very significant text changes to some current city ordinances that would have absolutely huge impacts on quality of life for residential
neighborhoods that you may not have previously realized or considered.

These ordinances are TC-12-21, relating to Live/Work businesses and TC-11-21 relating to Parking Regulations.

The proposed text changes completely eliminate the need for any Special Use Permits currently required for a live-work unit in a residential district, which appears to mean that there will be no notice to close neighbors about the proposed businesses, and no review at all by the Board of Adjustment. In essence, the consequences of this change mean that anybody can set up almost any business in their home in any residential neighborhood without any approval, thus destroying the current definition of residential zoning, including R-6.

In addition, the text changes add that the new businesses are also NOT required to provide any parking spaces for their employees, customers or patients… who could be arriving every hour, on the hour. Residential parking is already at a premium in downtown neighborhoods like mine, as we live between Hillsborough St. and Clark Avenue, on a busy street with parking on one side only. We have no driveways and it’s rare to have a garage in back. In order to park on the street, we must purchase a parking permit and share with the public and hope to get a spot.

If these text changes go into effect, already rare public parking spots will be used by commercial home businesses in what are residential areas. An unintended consequence is that the city could be favoring commercial business over residents in residentially zoned neighborhoods.

We urge you to reconsider these proposed text changes that will destroy residential zoning districts downtown and citywide.

Also – I have emailed my concerns to the Planning Commission right before the holidays.

Thank you for your time.