Welcome back friends! We're getting the hang of live-blogging in real time. So for tonight's humongous rezoning public hearing, we'll be using "real times."
6:28 p.m.: The public hearing doesn't start for another half hour but the Council Chamber is already full and overflowing. The Council must have known this would be a total shit show; I mean, 30 percent of the city is being rezoned. Thousands of people will be affected. Could this have been by design?
6:35 p.m.: BTW, this is how this epic rezoning nightmare is being described on the city agenda:
MATTERS SCHEDULED FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS
Z-27-14—City Wide Remapping of UDO Rezoning Districts
This is a hearing to consider a request from the City of Raleigh to rezone approximately 41,000 acres from districts permitting high-density residential and non-residential uses, as described in Chapter 10 of the City of Raleigh Code of Ordinances (Residential-15, Residential-20, Residential-30, Special Residential-30, Residential Business (RB), Office & Institution-1 (O&I-1), Office and Institution-2 (O&I-2), Office and Institution-3 (O&I-3), Buffer Commercial (BC), Shopping Center (SC), Neighborhood Business (NB), Business (B), Thoroughfare District (TD), Industrial-1 (I-1), or Industrial-2 (I-2)) to residential, mixed-use and special districts as described in the City of Raleigh Unified Development Ordinance (Residential Mixed Use (RX), Office Park (OP), Office Mixed-use (OX), Neighborhood Mixed-Use (NX), Commercial Mixed-Use (CX), Downtown Mixed-Use (DX), Industrial Mixed Use (IX), Heavy Industrial (IH), or Planned Development (PD)), as well as height and frontage designations for select mixed use districts as delineated online, maps.raleighnc.gov/remapping.
Once the hearing is closed, the council may take action on the case.
6:47 p.m.: Just to shed some light. Council won't be voting tonight, since they're not going to be here beyond 10 p.m. So we'll get to do this all over again, probably like ten more times.
6:54 p.m.: Oh man. There is a joint hearing with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission on the Owen and Dorothy Smith House and the Gethsemane Seventh Day Adventist Church for landmark designation before any of this even gets started. Sighhhhh.
7:08 p.m.: Show's on the road after some dilly-dallying. Wayne Maiorano is phoning it in again. Mayor Nancy thanks everyone for coming; acknowledges the overflow. 'We're glad to have you here! No, really!"
7:10p.m.: First up, the Gethesemane Seventh Day Adventist Church, which we discussed this afternoon. Owen & Dorothy Smith House too; it is modernist. It integrates with nature! No one wants to speak on this. They're officially historic landmarks.
7:12 p.m.: MAB complains about the "yelling going out in the hallway," police whistle ensues. 50 people are here from the Congregations for Social Justice. Pullen Memorial Church's Associate pastor is speaking; they want affordable housing for Raleigh. The pastor is saying "please don't just approve a bunch of redevelopment," like what is about to happen tonight.
7:18 p.m.: Lady from the audience just yells at Council to turn up the mikes. David Meeker is speaking about night time parking fees, and he is rolling deep.
There's no fee to park anywhere in town except on Glenwood, and the restaurants there are struggling, he says. Touche. Phase in the fees, he says.
7:20 p.m.: Meeker says encourage downtown to attract dinner and brunch crowds, not discourage them; discourage the late-night crowds who cause all the problems. Also, museums: they need to be accessible to everyone, not just people who can pay $5 parking fee. Crowd control is working it in the back.
7:23 p.m.: We're not trying to go after businesses, says Mayor Nancy!
7:25 p.m.: Rezoning time. Ground rules: done at 10, most important. 2 minutes! 2 MINUTES TO SPEAK, no delegating your time in case you were thinking of sneaking that in there you property owning jerk. We're NOT voting tonight so after you're done you're "free" to leave. MAB making sure Maiorano is on the phone. He is, demands no applause.
7:28 p.m. Travis Crane is giving brief overview of process. This is phase 3 of Comp Plan project, drafted in 2009. Then UDO happened. Now new zoning map. Maps all over the place show what's being rezoned: basically everything. 45,000 post cards went out asking for public comments. They got 1800 back, and every one of those 1800 comment-makers is here tonight.
7:32 p.m.: Crane is showing a map of all the changes. Many, many changes. Council can make more restrictive zoning changes if they want. When they hear from everyone, they vote.
7:34 p.m.: MN is calling speakers names. Octavia Rainey is first. "Of course she's first," nearby "staff" whispers. Don't know what that means!
So, this looks to be a free for-all. People can just speak out on whatever they want.
Rainey's not happy with east Raleigh rezonings. It will wipe out black peoples' homes, she says. "Black communities are under serious threat. The new plan doesn't guarantee that black people will be living in historic black areas, redevelopment will wipe out black people." What *is* the city doing to make sure black residents stay in their neighborhoods? Rainey says black people are the minority in their communities. Ding! (Her time is up, I mean).
7:37 p.m.: No clapping!, says MN. David Cox is next. Why is rezoning at Dunn and Falls of Neuse up for rezoning again? Could we get this to match current zoning? Buffer commercial, not neighborhood mixed use (NX)? We don't want drive thrus and gas stations., I think we've made that pretty clear. Could we get some office mixed use (OX)? It's a much better match. Cox is offering solutions. Remap to OX, then limit retail, no strip malls. Ding.
7:40 p.m.: People still clapping. Tim Niles. He's also speaking out against Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads. Um, the city asked us to give our input on rezoning, so why did the city ignore our suggestions? Citizens overwhelmingly asked not to have this rezoning, OK.
7:42 p.m.: Whole crew of "Publix" opponents appear to be next. They're confused. You already denied this rezoning, they're telling the Council. Council's like
7:45 p.m: George Farthing says this rezoning will harm their neighborhoods. They are NOT trying to see a 24/7 Sheetz at the base of Falls Lake.
7:48 p.m.: Mike O'Sullivan is up. You denied this rezoning in 2008. 2008!!!! Come on Council. "This makes no sense to me." "Rezoning would be a betrayal of our entire community," O'Sullivan says. "Get it right."
7;50 p.m. Vicki Crenshaw, same parcel. Lots of shout outs to Stephenson, who made the motion to deny this rezoning back in May. (That guy's getting re-elected!) "You ask us to help you get it right, pls. do so."
7:53 p.m.: Wait, someone is speaking in favor of the Falls of Neuse rezoning? Says 2008 was a very different case? The people want retail????? Support the Planning Commission! Approve and approve this rezoning! Whatever you say, Sir!
7:55 p.m.: Ah, so Dunn Road LLC owns the property. They are the ones who want the rezoning, according to *their attorney.* Ok, then! I look at NORCHOA blog, he says. We met with those people, he says. We did away with gas stations, or "vehicular service." And we eliminated drive-in and drive throughs, so WTF? What more do they want? Retail is capped at 3k ft, OK? We made a deal!
7:59 p.m.: Here's a new one. Fiesta Way. Lafayette Village. Serious drainage problem and increased traffic. Noise nuisance due to bands at nearby Hibernian Pub. Drunken carousers... Falls of Neuse corridor was supposed to be mixed use, now it's all commercial. Negatively affecting peoples' lives. Speaker is worried about lowered property values.
8:01 p.m.: Joy Weber. Where is Joy Weber? No Joy Weber.
8:02 p.m.: An Oakwood speaker. He says residential shouldn't be turned into mixed use in the older areas. It's not appropriate. MAB with the follow: where are you talking about? He says Blount St. Commons, NE corner of Oakwood, 600 block of Watauga. Etc.
8:04p.m.: Bloodworth Street (Oakwood resident). They bought their house planning to have kids and now she has a kid (literally). And another on the way! A collective Mazel Tov. They are concerned about thepace of changes. Traffic etc. She didn't understand changes until now. It wasn't clear, she says. Slow this down!
Mayor Nancy: Y'all need to STOP talking when the bell rings. 2 more hours to go. We are not voting tonight. Feel free to leave when you're parcel is done...so we can fit more people in, we mean!!
8:06 p.m.: Jason Horn. Husband of the former speaker...quoting Forrest Gump "I am not a smart man. At least I didn't feel like one when I read the zoning code." Well said. Protect historic structures on Oakwood perimeter, making sure we don't have laxer development requirements.
8:12 p.m.: Gail Wiesner is next. You may remember her from such controversies
as the modernist house on Euclid Street. In Oakwood. People didn't receive post cards on rezoning in Oakwood...they were not aware rezoning was affecting the properties it's affecting. No one understood this. Wienser pored over the map for days and still doesn't understand. And now, there are going to be free-standing bars???? Increased heights? There's constant developer scheming. The night's first reference to Charlotte! Wiesner's phone rings, lol. In sum: don't let this be Charlotte, where tear-downs are happening.
8:17p.m.: Another Oakwoodian. "IDK what Oakwood's problem will be, because the zoning code is so complex now." He didn't get the memo, er postcard, either. Come to think of it I didn't either. Did the city really even send them out?
8:19 p.m. Oakwood again. Concern about introducing three stories, bars and nightclubs. "The Governor lives 3 blocks from me, and I love it!" Assume she's talking about Oakwood, not the Governor.
8:21p.m.: WM asks people not to clap again. Because he can't hear. Wave your hands in the air, Mayor Nancy suggests. Mary Iverson bought her Oakwood house site unseen from New Zealand. It's an 1878 house with a floor that drops. "I realized in the first week I moved into the best place in the United States!" Also, she didn't get a postcard. No signs were posted. They found out bars are coming last week!! Last week, people. No bueno, City of Raleigh. Do we really need greater density? Really? Oakwood is an attraction, OK???
8:26 p.m.: Matthew Brown, also from Oakwood. Calls it a "tiny neighborhood." Rezoning "threatens Oakwood's integrity." People *really* don't want bars, night clubs, restaurants and retail mixed in with their historic houses. It could encourage demolition of housing for parking. UDO should preserve Raleigh's few remaining historic treasures. Oakwood residents voted unanimously to preserve rezoning, changes should be considered later. Not part of this massive rezoning.
8:28 p.m. Mary Lovelock. She's lived in "seriously dense" places, like New York City. 3 stories is a lot for Oakwood, and it doesn't need more density. A store there once turned into a bar, and people got woken up. That's not OK.
8:31p.m.: Speaker: Raleigh used to be a "nice quaint town" in 1998. "Now there is way too much development." Developers killed trees! On Blount Street Commons! And there's no parking! Developers are unrestricted. WHY? Because the city allows it. Units near Krispy Kreme are ugly af, y'all.
8:34p.m.: Speaker on Governors Square. There used to be enough parking. Now there are 3 bars. One is a tequila bar, can you believe that. But it's cool, I think?? But seriously, stop with the bars.
8:36 p.m.: Nancy Mullin moved here in 2009 because Raleigh was small. OMG 20 new constructed houses since then. Now 6 more on the way. There have been tear-downs in Roanoke Park. Like, tiny houses . That's not right.
8:39 p.m.: Donald Beckahm is explaining the "Oakwood t-shirt." It is blue because the rezoning is horrendous. Slow down, and for God's sake STOP with the bars and nightclubs.
8:42 p.m. Ok, now we're onto Boylan Heights. Judy Payne is the speaker. She's against blanket downtown-mixed use. "We need to get something back for the city from these developers." She lives in a bungalow and there could be a 3-story building next door. There's not even compliance now. Could we get some trees planted, some compliant fences? Some in-character stuff in historic districts?
8:45p.m. Edward Wills. He's NOT talking about Oakwood. People are happy! He owns a business on South Street. And Peace Street. They are franchises. This is mysterious. Bars want to put him out of business. How many bars can we have in this city?? Ah, he owns a McDonald's, and he wants it to be the best McDonald's in southeast Raleigh. He just wants to build a brand-new state of the art McDonald's but the city wants it to be a bar. There is a need for McDonald's with a parking lot, and the McDonald's supplies a parking need for the museums. Ok then!
The Oakwood folks are leaving, making room for "all the people watching upstairs in Room 305."
8:51p.m: Mayor Nancy's calling out names...people have left because this is tedious.
8:52p.m.: John Samerson. He's not sure what the scope of this forum is. Just like everyone.
8:54p.m.: Beverly Marriot. "This whole process has been a strain." I know, right! She lives in a dense neighborhood on Asheford Street in southeast Raleigh. Four new business in the area have created traffic, congestion and anger. You're sending more of this garbage development into our neighborhood, not Oakwood, not North Raleigh, she says.
8:58p.m. Speaker: "How many more breweries do we need in Raleigh? I don't drink. I don't drink and I don't smoke. I can do push-ups and I'm over 70 years old!" Probably the best argument all night for no more breweries.
9:02p.m. MAB is texting. 58 minutes left.
9:03p.m.: Former City Council member and Downtown Plan Advisory Committee member Ann Franklin says she is looking forward to bringing us an engaging, vigorous downtown plan- in September. She asks Council to review the downtown plan before voting on remapping. How logical! The city has priorities that might get lost in rezoning. Vision first, remapping second.
9:07p.m.: Veronica Scott. Her childhood home on Davie Street downtown is up for rezoning and her family owns the property next door, plus another. These have been in her family since the 1940's. What will happen to property value here? Will people be driven out? Will they be so subject to eminent domain because they can't afford to pay the taxes? More town homes built? We dealt with this in the 80's and it changed the character of the neighborhoods. Please consider your low-income, retired, homeowners.
9:10p.m.: Mayor Nancy says we're 1/3 of the way through the people who have signed up to speak. We could extend this hearing to July 21? 7p.m.? So the rest of the people can speak? Because seriously, don't clap. And no one else can sign up. But people who left can speak on the 21st. She's reading more names.
9:13 James Fulworth has nothing to do with Oakwood. He's from North College Park. "haste makes waste-" truer words not spoken tonight. "I realize you need a lot of help. I suggest you reach out to these folks" (the audience.) "You can't be a leader without fist being a servant. Servants must heed the call of those who are your leaders. BEST METAPHORS! Also, fix the sidewalks in College Park... He's still going. Duke Energy doesn't appear to be your friend. They are cutting down the trees. Butchering them. Send them to N.C. State and ask them how to butcher the trees properly. Good stuff!
9:17p.m.: Attorney Isabelle Maddox is speaking for "residents" of Glenwood-Brooklyn, who think the rezoning proposal is appropriate. Second time tonight, Council's on fire!
9:19p.m. Bob Fesmire from Glenwood- Brooklyn. "We're the most difficult remap," per Steve Schuster. Womp, womp, he's not happy with the proposed rezoning. Quick flame-out on the Glenwood-Brooklyn. "It's worth preserving." CORRECTION: He IS happy with the R-10 remapping on Glenwood-Brooklyn, just wants other things in place as well. (See his comment below).
9:21p.m.: Pam Stevens with the Wake County Taxpayers' Association. This could be interesting.
Soooo, Pam's talking about how the plan legalizes tracking greenhouse gases. Rezoning areas are being incorporated into larger plans for light rail and transit corridors! New housing will be going next to mass transit in the name of saving the planet! These are global initiatives!!! Most of us haven't heard of these un-elected bodies pushing these plans!!!
Council looks dumbfounded. Lol, thanks Pam.
9:30p.m.: So, the last couple speakers have been talking about the tiny, historical Method neighborhood. Large African American population. They want to preserve the zoning, not make it denser; they don't need more apartments, houses packed onto small lots and oppose proposed zoning.
9:32p.m.: More Wake County Taxpapyers' Association. They have a resolution to oppose the UDO remapping, because the Comprehensive Plan is "the mission of sustainability." They hate sustainability. Death and injury to our children are at stake! They're railing against light rail. First United Nations name check! Conspiracies, etc. They hate HUD too, gotta get that in there. "Sorry I couldn't finish, I'll leave you the rest. I'm sure you'll read it before you go to bed."
9:36p.m. Rhonda Rich says not a lot of people are terribly happy with the UDO remapping. Check! "It disappoints me that we as a city might not be doing things in our best interest just because somebody says it's a good idea." The UDO is entirely too broad, she says. Every time I look at it, something new has changed. DX is Pandora's box, NX is mystery box. "The Emperor's new clothes don't exist, fix it before it goes too far."
9:38 p.m. Wake County Taxpayers chair is speaking and he is speaking for everyone else in the city who is not here! But everyone who is here thinks remapping sucks too, he says. He agrees. This may be a taking of property, he says. He. Keeps. Talking. Until Mayor Nancy cuts him off, like a boss.
9:45p.m.: Speaker is using womens' soccer team as a metaphor for coaching "staff" to do a better job on the UDO remapping. Let's slow our roll here, essentially, he's saying. Give these amateurs some coaches.
9:46p.m.: GoLocal Raleigh president is mad that food trucks will no longer be allowed in NX zoning. So are food truck owners. So are we! Businesses in these zones won't be allowed to apply for a food truck permit for food trucks to operate in neighborhood mixed use. Keep food trucks in new NX zoning, Council! For three weeks last year, I survived solely on Chirba Chirba. Why do you think Raleigh's on top of all those Best City in America lists? Clue: the answer is food trucks.
9:51p.m.: Ok, we have some out of state speakers. Williamsburg speaker who owns property in Raleigh was deceived by "staff." Yep, we all were. The others left. The next 15 speakers... also left.
9:54: Carol Ashcraft stuck it out. She wants attention paid to the needs of older neighborhoods. Yes, Oakwood. And Boylan Heights. And her neighbohood, Roanoke Park. Follow the spirit of remapping, protect older neighborhoods more than they're currently protected. NO effing bars. NO BARS. I can't emphasize this enough: no bars. And stop the tear-downs. She sees houses torn down in the morning that were standing the night before. And stop destroying the legacy trees. That is just a lack of education.
9:57p.m.: Roger Kozak. Not from Oakwood, but House and Garden TV (?) ranked Stone Edge neighborhood number 2 in the country. Number 2! Stop this madness. This UDO remapping is a disaster. Delay Stone Edge rezoning, everything else is also terrible.
10:10p.m.: I stopped paying attention roughly 13 minutes ago when my wireless went out, but this meeting is finally adjourned. We'll continue July 21st, because we're only about halfway done.
In light of the comments, Russ Stephenson wants "staff" to think about how to help the Council think about how to proceed with this in a more thoughtful way. Poor, poor "staff."
Good night readers! Until next time!