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 has spoken multiple times to City Council on the topic of saving Raleigh’s historic homes. What follows is a compilation of the comments he delivered:

The proposed TOD (Transit Overlay District) that Mrs. Rainey talked about is massive, impacting over 800 properties in East Raleigh. The TOD will allow 5- to 8- story buildings. There is no reason to impose this district on an area unless you want whatever is there now to be torn down and replaced by 5- to 8-story buildings. The City’s web page says “The TOD is not likely to be applied to residential neighborhoods.” But these are mostly residential neighborhoods! Hungry Neck, Idlewild, College Park, Fisher Heights, and Longview. The commercial parts of this TOD are already zoned for taller buildings.

And these are wonderful residential neighborhoods, with many historic houses, affordable houses, and affordable apartments. They are diverse neighborhoods, with black folks, white folks, all ages, all incomes. Some people have been there for generations. Doris Williams on Edenton Street is 91 years old. Her great-grandfather bought the house in 1879. These people love their homes and take care of their homes. They love their neighbors and take care of their neighbors. Why would the City want to run their taxes way up, which this rezoning would do, which would chase the people out, so their houses could be demolished? Why?

The excuse is that the City needs more people to ride the proposed Bus Rapid Transit on New Bern. But the people who move into new condos & apartments will all have cars, and half of them will work from home. And who knows if the Bus Rapid Transit will happen. We don’t have enough drivers for the buses we have. So why destroy these neighborhoods? These neighborhoods and these people are what make Raleigh wonderful. They should be preserved.

The proposed Transit Overlay District which will rezone over 800 properties in East Raleigh to high-density development, will result in the destruction of many of Raleigh’s treasures.

This photo shows the Campbell family at their home at 804 E. Edenton Street

Ralph Sr. and June Campbell were leaders in Raleigh’s civil rights movement.

Their younger son Bill was the first student to integrate a public school in Raleigh, in 1960.

He later was elected mayor of Atlanta.

Their older son Ralph Jr. was elected four times to the Raleigh City Council, then elected twice as State Auditor of North Carolina.

This is 804 E. Edenton today. It is a beautiful 1920s bungalow. Unfortunately, it will not survive if the Transit Overlay District is approved, allowing a 5 to 8 story building here.

The house has already been bought by an investor.

This is a historic treasure.

Why would the City want it demolished?

This beautiful building was built in 1923 as the St. Luke’s Home for Old Ladies.

It is now the New Bern House, run by the Helping Hand Mission.

Here they have several dozen rooms and offer shelter to people in need. They also cook nutritious meals for people in need.

This is the most affordable housing in Raleigh.

But this building will be rezoned DX-5 as part of the TOD rezoning, allowing a five-story building with “intense mixed use” such as restaurant or retail or bar.

Why would the City want this demolished?

This is one of the oldest houses in Raleigh, built in 1840 for Theophilus Snow, who made the original furniture for the State Capitol.

Since 1977 it has been four apartments. One of my best friends lives in one and pays $600 a month.

This is affordable housing. This is missing middle. But this is being rezoned DX-3, to allow “intense mixed use” such as a restaurant, retail, or bar.   Why?

The City says it cares about historic preservation, but the TOD would incentivize demolishing hundreds of historic buildings.

The City says it wants affordable housing, but the TOD would incentivize demolishing affordable housing.

The City says it wants “missing middle” housing, but the TOD would incentivize demolishing the missing middle.

Please save east Raleigh from the TOD rezoning!

These two beautiful houses were built in 1915. The original residents were Jewish store owners. Part of Oakwood was Raleigh’s first Jewish neighborhood. Now these houses serve as transitional housing for men recovering from substance abuse. They are run by Emmaus House. This organization performs a valuable service to the community, and takes good care of these houses. But the TOD will rezone them for 5-story buildings with “intense mixed use” such as restaurant or retail or bar. Why would the City want these demolished?

This beautiful house was for 45 years the home and studio of Mrs. Willie Otey Kay, the famous dress designer and dressmaker.

Her daughter June married Ralph Campbell Senior; they were leaders in Raleigh’s civil rights movement, and their son Bill was the first student to integrate Raleigh’s schools.

Mrs. Kay’s home was a “safe haven for family when bomb threats made them unsafe in their own homes.”

Here is Mrs. Kay with some of her creations.

She designed dresses for first ladies and many people both famous and humble. Her dresses were featured in an exhibit at the N.C. History Museum.

But the TOD will rezone her house to 5 to 8 stories. WHY would we want this treasure demolished?

This beautiful house was built in 1920.

Since 1961, it has been an affordable rooming house.

It is well cared for and the residents are good people.

But it will also be rezoned for intense mixed use such as restaurant or retail or bar.

WHY? The current residents use the buses more than patrons of any new business will.

Please, City Council, save our historic treasures. Save our affordable housing. Save our old neighborhoods. We contribute a lot to this City. We are not ready to be sent to the landfill! Please leave us out of the T.O.D

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