I am a resident of one of the townhomes on Cotton Exchange Court, which is the 11 unit townhome community off Wake Forest Road at Whitaker Mill. The Planning Commission is currently reviewing a pretty aggressive development proposal for the land surrounding our community on all three sides. The developer has completely overreached with their proposal, and I am asking you to please join me in adding your name to this petition to demand that the developers meet the height and transition guidelines set forth in the Comprehensive Plan: https://www.change.org/support-smart-growth
The proposed East End Market project would add 6 mixed use buildings to the 11 acre plot surrounding us, including one 15 story tower. This is five times more than the current zoning density maximum and over three times more than the 2030 Comprehensive Plan for the area allows. The impact of a 15 story tower on this site and the density proposed would be dramatic. For us on Cotton Exchange Court, this tower would cast a shadow over us for five months of the year, from November through March, leaving us with increased heating bills and making it impossible to use solar panels. Our community would also be surrounded on every side by 7 story buildings with only 20 foot setbacks separating us from 6 floors of balconies looking down on us. We would feel like we are living in a fishbowl, with no privacy in any direction.
Let me be clear, this is not a NIMBY situation. My neighbors and I welcome the development of this land. We want to see this area improved. If we weren’t situated right in the middle of it, we would be excited about it. However, what the developer proposes to do here makes no sense. They are treating our townhouse community like it’s a nuisance. An afterthought. Their development would COMPLETELY surround us. There is literally NO PRECEDENT for a development impacting a community on every single side the way this one would, much less a precedent that includes being surrounded by 7 story buildings with virtually no setbacks between properties. What they are proposing to do just isn’t right, and it sets a very bad precedent for development in Raleigh if it is approved.
When the townhomes on Cotton Exchange were first conceived, the developer took pains to ensure that the construction plans would improve the area, were welcomed by the surrounding community, and met the zoning requirements set forth by the city. Through the Comprehensive Plan, the city had made an implicit promise that the land around us would be developed in a predictable way and that- through zoning laws respecting transitions and setbacks- the land use would work in harmony with our townhouse community. That promise is what gave us the confidence to be the first ones to improve this land and invest our money here. Had any of us known that the city was prepared to revoke that promise, we would have paused before going into debt for the sake of this property. Indeed, there were plenty of other choices in more entrenched neighborhoods that any of us could have gone with, but we had faith in the vision that the City of Raleigh set forth in the Comprehensive Plan.
We have spent the past four months feeling powerless to fight what is happening here. We have voiced our concerns with the developers and appealed to the Planning Commission again and again, but not one thing has been done to reduce the scope of this project. All we ask is that the city respect our situation on this land and honor the promises it has made, especially when not doing so will have such a profound and direct impact on homeowners’ quality of life and property values.
The Commission will be meeting on Tuesday the 13th to take a vote on whether or not to recommend the approval of the East End Market planned development (as currently submitted) to the City Council. Your signature on this petition will send the signal that the people of Raleigh support development that SERVES communities and RESPECTS neighborhoods, and that we will not be bulldozed by developers who are only interested in lining their own pockets at the expense of residents. It will show that people care and are paying attention to what happens here. And for me, it will go a long way to restoring my faith in humanity to know that we have your support.
The Planning Commission meeting is Tuesday, April 13th at 9:00 AM. If you would like to attend the meeting or sign up to speak, follow this link: https://raleighnc.gov/planning-commission.
Beth Carmichael has been a Raleigh resident for the past thirteen years. When she isn’t fighting developers, she spends her time working to gain support for a bi-partisan solution to climate change with Citizens Climate Lobby. She lives on Cotton Exchange with her husband, Andrew, and ten year old daughter, Reagan. She opines regularly to pretty much no one on Twitter at @bessie628.