Let’s stipulate a couple of points up front. Missing Middle, done well, is a good thing. But….What the previous Council produced is MM done deviously, and sloppily. Much of it, in fact, undermines the whole premise of MM, which is to offer an increased number of affordable-housing options than would exist without it.
City Council is on Summer Break. So, we are re-running this blog as part of our Missing Middle Week. There has been a lot of talk about missing middle housing since the city council approved a text change to legalize it (duplexes and townhomes) city-wide. This is...
As more and more people from across all sectors and neighborhoods discover how the Missing Middle, and its various iterations, is dangerous to their wallets and single-family neighborhoods they are rising up to challenge the base thinking.
Supply, demand, and poorly focused density planning are causing a shortage of truly affordable housing – not zoning.
Missing Middle will not repair our history of racist redlining. With all the discussion of zoning’s racist past, there is surprisingly no discussion to ensure that zoning changes will result in more equitable and truly affordable housing choices. It appears that our racist past has been weaponized to support changes that in the end may do nothing to repair it other than providing more opportunities for the building industry.
As density increases, the need for conscious, deliberate stormwater and other utility planning also increases. Instead, three years ago, the city decided to allow individual developers to do as they please “as of right.” Now the city denies any responsibility for the predictable mayhem that is resulting. My neighbor’s flooding is just one real-world example of the problems that occur when the city abandons its responsibility for strategic growth planning and oversight, and instead deregulates development.
The false dichotomy that one must be either pro-growth or anti-growth serves no one. A sensible and balanced approach to development would promote growth that is equitable, environmentally sustainable, supported by adequate infrastructure, and compatible with existing development.
Raleigh’s highly promoted public information sessions about Missing Middle Housing rules got off to a rocky start last Wednesday evening, being held a year and a half late, after the city’s neighborhood densification rules began going into effect.
Council’s upcoming decision to either keep or eliminate Raleigh’s COVID-era free bus fares has been framed as making an important statement about Raleigh’s commitment to high quality and equitable bus service. Maybe so, but if you listen to the Raleigh Transit Authority’s Nov 10 deliberations on the topic, you might conclude that reinstating fees will have little impact on a system that is in decline and without an effective plan to provide high quality and equitable transit services in post-COVID Raleigh.
Bob Geary in the Indy: In the Raleigh Elections, I’m Voting for Growth AND Equity. Not Growth Without Equity.
The first camp favors letting the market work without regulation, arguing that it will serve rich and poor alike – but knowing that it won’t – while the second camp favors using the powers of city zoning to assure that growth occurs and serves the interests of all.
Former Planning Commission Chair Bob Mulder highlights the need to improve Raleigh’s missing middle housing rules. Focusing debates on criticisms of pro and con stakeholders only diverts attention from what we all (except the greediest) agree on: Adding density in the right places is good, but the missing middle rules should be improved – with a more open, public engagement process about how to actually retain, replace and produce housing that’s affordable to current working families and households.