Matthew Brown has restored three historic houses in Raleigh, and has assisted with the restoration of many others. He has financed renovation of six houses for affordable housing.

Matthew spoke to City Council on May 16, 2023 on the topic of Raleigh’s planned Transit Overlay District.

Good afternoon, friends. Thank you for your service, and thank you for letting me speak.

The City wants to make central Raleigh denser, in order to make it more transit-friendly.

But there is a right way to do it and a wrong way.

The proposed Transit Overlay District is the wrong way.

It is wrong to demolish beautiful historic  neighborhoods like Idlewild.

The right way is to redevelop the many acres of half-empty surface parking lots that are all over downtown.

Why would we want to demolish this?

and preserve this?

Why would we want to demolish this, beautiful, historic Hungry Neck?

and preserve this?

Our Planning Department has staff dedicated to making it easier to demolish this, beautiful Idlewild.

Instead we should dedicate staff to redeveloping this hideous parking lot.

We shouldn’t demolish this.

We should instead redevelop this.

These huge surface parking lots are all in downtown Raleigh. Acres and acres of them! They are the worst waste of land imaginable. They are terrible for the environment. They support no nature, no residences, no businesses. They stress our storm sewers and creeks by dumping all the rain into them at once, causing flooding.

They are half empty since so many people are working from home. Some of these are owned by the City, some by private entities, and some by the State. But that should be no obstacle. The State sells property all the time. 

These lots are underutilized. You just need to talk to the right people. You got the State to move our election year, you can surely get them to sell a parking lot.

You have good relations with developers who will be happy to help.

This would be a win for developers, a win for the City, a win for the State, a win for the environment, a win for transit. A win-win-win-win!

By contrast, demolishing our historic neighborhoods is a lose-lose-lose!

A lose for the environment by taking down trees and sending perfectly good houses to the landfill.

A lose for the City, because we will lose many historic treasures.

And most of all, a lose for the people who will be forced out of their homes.

Please tell our Planning Department to stop dedicating staff time to demolishing our historic neighborhoods, and instead work on redeveloping these parking lots. I’ll bet Planning staff would rather be doing that anyway!

Thank you!

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