If you, reasonable person, believed that the City Council’s unanimous vote
on May 12 to deny the rezoning of the intersection of Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads to a commercial district was going to put the kibosh on the matter, you were wrong.
That happened, but Raleigh’s Planning Department has persisted in recommending commercial rezoning for those parcels of land, in spite of the Council’s finding that that proposed rezoning was inconsistent with the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan, and not in the public interest.
The City Council will vote on remapping 30 percent of the city
on July 7, including most of downtown and yes, the land at Dunn and Falls of Neuse to the same commercial zoning district that was denied last May.
So in response, 45 homeowners adjacent to the North Raleigh property have filed a Valid Statutory Protest Petition, a.k.a. a zoning protest petition, which, if approved, would force a super-majority vote from the City Council in order for that particular rezoning to pass on the upcoming fateful July evening.
(You may ask why the entire remapping is going to a public hearing at the same time. Surely the more logical way to proceed would be to break up the remapping sites and vote on them individually, with more specific focus given to each piece of land. It almost seems like the City wants the whole thing rammed through at once; expect a very large turnout at the public hearing.)
The group behind this latest protest petition, the North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners Associations (NORCHOA
), said in a press release that it is exploring other possible actions it could take to block this possible rezoning.
“Homeowners want to understand why the Planning Department has continued to press for remapping despite the May 12 decision not to rezone the property,” the release states. “NORCHOA wants to understand why the City Council has not, itself, taken a position regarding the remapping despite its own vote.”
As NORCHOA’s leader, North Raleigh resident David Cox, has said before, they have questions and they want answers
. Questions such as:
- What are the relationships between Councilors and Staff with developers and their attorneys?
- Why was the public never informed that it has the right to file VSPPs against the remapping?
- Why has it taken the City nearly six months to provide NORCHOA with information about filing VSPPs against the remapping?
- Why was the right to file VSPPs not included on the information cards that were sent to tens of thousands of citizens months ago, when the remapping process began?
- Why has the City still not provided the public details about how to file VSPPs with less than two weeks until the remapping public hearing and the filing deadline?
“With the remapping hearing less than two weeks away, Raleigh is poised for a once-in-a-lifetime rezoning of tens of thousands of properties and opening the doors to development of unprecedented size and intensity within and directly adjacent to neighborhoods,” the press release states. “The filing of a Valid Statutory Protest Petition against this remapping will, hopefully, protect one corner of the City. Regrettably, many other corners and neighborhoods will remain at significant risk.”
These “other corners and neighborhoods” include such areas in Southeast Raleigh as South Park and College Park, where proposed zoning categories are downtown mixed use (DX) and neighborhood mixed (NX). DX and NX have no height limits; this could accelerate gentrification in these historically minority, low-income communities, located right at the downtown periphery.
And in downtown itself, say, in the Warehouse district where there was once a visioning plan, zoning will be allowed up to 12 stories. If someone wanted to build a twenty-story building
, for example, all he or she would need to do would be to simply file a rezoning request.
Because, hey, what’s another 8 stories on top of what we planned for.