Frank Hielema is a native of Oxford, NC.  He holds degrees in physical therapy and epidemiology. He has lived in his present home in Raleigh for 30 years. Advocacy for justice at the national and international levels extends back to his senior year of high school. Now he finds that indeed, all politics are local, as he speaks out against Raleigh’s implementation of the Missing Middle in Raleigh without sufficient public notice, citizen input or transparency. 

He is a member of the Steering Committee of Save Our Neighborhoods RestoreRaleighZoning

Frank delivered the following comments at the February 7th, 2023 City Council meeting: 

A response to the More Homes, More Choices presentations


I will point out problems and inequities in the application of the Missing Middle learned from my attendance.

Missing Middle text changes will not apply to neighborhoods that have Homeowners’ Associations or neighborhoods with historic or other overlay districts with protections that specify lower density. This exempts a large number of newer neighborhoods with HOAs. It also exempts historic neighborhoods that have previously received protected status.

That, in principle, leaves older neighborhoods which relied on R-4 or R-6 zoning as basic protection of neighborhood integrity to be at the mercy of the Missing Middle.

Neighborhoods lacking resources to apply for overlay status will be targeted by developers who will buy naturally occurring affordable housing and replace it with more expensive multi-unit dwellings. This will accelerate the:

    • Displacement of Raleigh’s legacy citizens
    • Gentrification of neighborhoods
    • Homelessness

What follows are slides from the City’s presentation


Slide 4 – Increasing Land Values

The increase in land values in Raleigh over the last 10 years. This slide confirms that you will never be able to create newly constructed housing that is considered affordable within the city center, no matter what the density is, because of 2 factors:

    • The base price of the land
    • the existing affordable structure on that land is going to the landfill

To achieve housing that may be affordable and supports a bus system, focus on the white commuter lines in the purple-colored areas of the city.


Slide 22 – The Premise of Filtering

The premise that “Housing Does Filter” does not apply in Raleigh for 2 reasons:

    • Our supply of older NOAH homes whether they are small single-family homes, older duplexes, or apartment complexes, such as Monteceito and Quail Ridge apartments are being destroyed.
    • People moving into expensive new homes in Raleigh that are built when NOAH is lost, all too often, are not vacating a less expensive home here which would make that property available. They are more likely to be in-migrants from other parts of the country, where the neighborhood they exit benefits in gaining a house that may be affordable.


Slide 18 – Unavailable Tools

One of the tools not available to increasing affordable housing in Raleigh is “Mandatory affordable housing contributions.”


Slide 56 – Frequent Transit Development Option

The Frequent Transit Development Option states, that, “20% of units over 12 must be affordable,” at 60% AMI for 30 years. This appears to contradict slide 18.


Furthermore, there is an inequity in imposing an affordability requirement on smaller builders, when the same conditions are not required of builders of large apartment complexes or in residential rezoning requests, such as at North Hills. There, the maximum concession for going above the UDO height restriction is a small number of units, only if construction should go over 2,500 units and only at 80% AMI for a period of only 10 years.

This creates the impression that wealthy developers who donate to council campaigns get preferential treatment.

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