Bob Mulder, former Chair Raleigh Planning Commission recently wrote to the City Council about density:

The comments and photos below are from my brother in Portland, Oregon.

Letter from Portland

Three adjacent buildings with no parking.

One slab sided with no windows: a race to the bottom by developers in the “Progressive” city of Portland. The admirable goal of less costly housing hijacked by greed.

This type of development should be guided by a car ownership limit (i.e., % of renters cannot own vehicles, that number based on an on-street parking density analysis before approval).

This is near transit (rail), so the city may allow higher density, less parking, based on this, but it still needs analysis of actual on-the-ground conditions. I would challenge anyone to prove that this actually lowers rent.

My comments:

These types of buildings are appropriate in locations where there will be light rail or bus rapid transit routes, and where walking distances will be minimal. This kind of density and no parking requirements are not appropriate over the entire City of Raleigh as you have voted to do.

The more I drive around Raleigh, the more traffic problems I run up against, and the more trees I see cut down. A friend of mine recently told me that he and his family spend a lot of time in another North Carolina city that has managed to retain its smaller town atmosphere. He said that Raleigh is fast losing the ambience it once had.

A no-holds barred approach to development will simply tear apart the fabric of a once better-functioning city. You’ve taken your foot off the brakes; you’re not even pumping them. We are quickly on the way to becoming an Atlanta Junior as evidenced by the development at the intersection of Six Forks Rd and the I-440 beltline. That development scenario is spreading towards Wake Forest Rd.

I welcome your thoughts and comments, and you are welcome to get in touch with me anytime.

Bob Mulder