Raleigh’s City Council adopted the UDO Remapping | News

Raleigh’s City Council adopted the UDO Remapping


  • Illustration by Skillet Gilmore

Parcels of land in downtown Raleigh will be up-zoned to max out the building heights that will be allowed.

North Raleigh residents can expect 30,000 square feet of retail space at the intersection of Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads, and all the traffic and noise that comes with it. 

It’s been six long years in the making, but few people—excluding a handful of developers, some Council members and probably the city Planning Department—are likely happy that Raleigh’s City Council adopted the UDO remapping today, to become effective Valentine’s Day, 2016. Many are asking why the Council couldn’t have waited a little longer, at least until its three new members are sworn in at the end of this month, to, well, maybe have a better shot at getting it right. 

At a UDO remapping work session this afternoon, the Council voted on rezoning two parcels of land off of Falls of Neuse Road. The parcels had Valid Statutory Protest Petitions filed on them; one of the parcels is the former ‘Publix’ store site. You’ll recall that on May 12 the City Council voted unanimously to deny that rezoning. Why it was resurrected again under remapping—where the city was supposed to be designating zoning entitlements on a 1-1 basis—to allow for a 30,000 square foot shopping center is unclear.

The parcel of land is in outgoing Councilman John Odom’s District. He made the motion to accept a city-staff devised option to rezone the parcel of land to neighborhood mixed use with total maximum retail space of 29,000 square-feet, with some conditions submitted by the owner (prohibiting fuel sales, drive-thrus, etc.) Right now, the zoning that exists on the property limits retail use to 3,000 square feet.

At a meeting back in August, city planners met with North Raleigh residents and David Cox, a longtime opponent of rezoning that land for a massive shopping center, and who will be replacing Odom on the Council. The residents agreed that they would not like to see the property rezoned until a small area plan, with input from all stakeholders concerned with the 13 acres of property, had been created. The idea was floated by Planning Director Ken Bowers at the time, and appeared before Council as one of eight options today.

Only two Council members, Russ Stephenson and Kay Crowder, voted against the Dunn and Falls of Neuse rezoning. As residents have pointed out, outgoing Councilman Eugene Weeks and Councilman Bonner Gaylord received $1,000 from the property owner—Bill Mullins, who has been pushing for development of that land for several years—this last election cycle.

“They should have recused themselves from voting on this,” says Tim Niles, a North Raleigh resident. Weeks and Gaylord have not yet responded to the INDY’s request for comment.

Councilman Stephenson made a motion to treat the remapping of downtown as separate piece to the remapping overall. He has stated many times that he thinks giving away building height entitlements downtown, without first negotiating for public benefits, is “putting the cart before the horse.” The motion carried to vote separately on each piece of the remapping, and the Council voted to adopt the downtown portion of the plan, 6-2. (Stephenson and Crowder opposed).

With that off the table, the Council voted on the rest of the remapping. It passed unanimously. 

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