300-plus people turned out to protest N. Raleigh rezoning case
Finally—after a year and a half
, much drama, changed up plans and Lord knows how many traffic impact studies—Raleigh's City Council voted against a developer's proposed rezoning of the parcel of land at the intersection of Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads.
More than 300 North Raleigh residents showed up to a public hearing at City Hall Tuesday evening to witness the final nail being hammered into the rezoning coffin. A petition with 3, 733 signatures from residents opposed to the proposal was delivered to Council members at the hearing. Residents say they would like to see development under the current zoning category, which could include small shops, restaurants and light office space.
The developer behind the rezoning, Trey Morgan of Morgan Property Group, had withdrawn his request on Monday, releasing a statement indicating he may
have some hard feelings.
But residents needed to see for themselves that a 58,000 square-foot destination shopping center
was well and truly off the table (at least for now).
After four speakers gave a rundown of why the rezoning would be totally inappropriate—by being out of scale, creating a traffic nightmare, polluting an established watershed area in the Falls of Neuse Corridor, demonstrating inconsistencies with the City's 2030 Comprehensive Plan—Council received a rare standing ovation for their largely symbolic 8-0 vote against the rezoning case.
"This site is the wrong place to maximize growth and development," resident David Cox told the Council. "This site is the wrong place for a strip mall or a shopping center."
Neighborhood activists, led by Cox and a group called NORCHOA (the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners' Associations), voiced their opposition to the rezoning proposal every step of the way. And while city ordinances require a two-year waiting period between rezoning hearings on properties, residents are under no illusion that developers won't try again in the future to rezone the land.
As if already anticipating the next rezoning battle, Cox says he wants to see Raleigh's process become more efficient.
"I think we can all agree that rezoning cases dragging on for nearly two years is unacceptable," he says.
"No rezoning case should drag on for as long as this one. Anyone requesting a rezoning should have their arguments heard in short order. I personally think that a six month time limit should be imposed from start to finish. [If Council wants to be allowed to] grant extensions, they should be granted only after review by City Council with citizen input and a formal vote."