Monday, June 11, 2007

City Council Meeting June 5th, 1:00 pm

Notes from the meeting follow. Please note that the City Council needs to hear from people in the neighborhoods to get a sense of the level of concern about infill. The links to City Council addresses are embedded in the previous post, or are available at the link to the City website below.

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ITEM: Motion from the Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC) to hire a consultant for Planning Department to address infill issues

The City Council voted on this item. The motion from the Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC) to hire a consultant to address infill issues failed. The video is available on RTN, you can watch it below.

This motion has been brought to CC twice and failed twice. This time, Councilor Kekas voted for it in CPC but voted against it in the CC meeting. Meeker, Stephenson, and Councilor Taliaffero also noted that the discussion about an infill consultant came out of her district but said that there are also many people who are opposed to infill standards.

The council did vote to add a permament staff member to address text changes and infill, but it is understood that a consultant could have addressed in 6 months while it will be a year before a new staff member is up and running and can do the job.

To watch this meeting, go to this link, and once the streaming video is up from today's meeting, you can go to the drop down menu and click on the Comprehensive Planning Committee's (CPC) report. Meeting started at 1 and that item came up about 1:50. Thomas Crowder chairs CPC so he will be talking at start of this segment.

Watch the proceedings here

The next item was planning commission nominations. With Betsy Kane is resigning there are 3 vacancies. The Mayor asked for other nominees by Friday and that he wants a vote taken in 2 weeks.

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Action ALERT: City Council Meeting -- June 5

This Tuesday, June 5 the City Council will meet. One item we wish to support is the CPC (Comprehensive Planning Committee) recommendation on May 23 to request the city fund the hiring of a consultant to address the infill/refill issues in our neighborhoods across the city. Please be a part of this important meeting by contacting the City Council if you cannot be at this meeting.

1:00 P.M. AND 7:00 P.M., TUESDAY
JUNE 5, 2007

Support Mitch Silver's Recommendation to Hire a Consultant to Develop New Infill Regulations

At the May 1st City Council meeting, the Council rejected Mitch Silver's recommendation to bring in a consultant to expedite the work on new infill regulations for the City of Raleigh. He felt infill was a growing and very complex problem that needed immediate attention. As we all know, any work on neighborhood plans have been postponed for nearly 2 years until the staff completes its work on the new Comprehensive Plan, yet infill projects continue and have no similar constraints. If a consultant isn't used, Mitch expects the work will be delayed 6 to 12 months. The minutes from the discussion at the Council meeting are provided below.

At the May 15 meeting of the City Council, Russ Stephenson reiterated the urgency of doing something about infill and suggested an interim solution that would focus on building height. The item was referred to the Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC). After further discussion at the CPC meeting on May 23, the Committee voted 3 - 1 to recommend the funding of a consultant to complete the entire project within six months. This recommendation will be an item on the City council's June 5 agenda.

This is an opportune time to make a statement about infill. Although infill primarily affects the older downtown neighborhoods at this time, I am sure the effects will be felt further out as the amount of undeveloped land diminishes and the popularity of the downtown business district increases. If something isn't done soon, the character of many of our neighborhoods will be badly damaged and the availability of reasonably priced housing will be further diminished.

If you feel infill standards are an important issue, please consider contacting City Council and urge other members of your group to do the same.

Charles Meeker
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Council Member, At-Large
Joyce Kekas
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Council Member, At-Large
Russ Stephenson
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District Council Members
District A
Tommy Craven
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District B
Jessie Taliaferro
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District C
James West, Mayor Pro Tempore
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District D
Thomas Crowder
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District E
Philip Isley
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The minutes of the May 15 meeting can be found in our post dated June 1.

Friday, June 1, 2007

From the North Raleigh News

Most residents in Central Raleigh never see this supplement to the News & Observer.

This story is taken from today's edition and repeated here in its entirety.
Published: Jun 01, 2007 12:30 AM
Modified: Jun 01, 2007 03:24 AM

City ponders CACs
David Bracken, Staff Writer

Is it time to revisit the role of Raleigh's Citizen Advisory Council?

That appeared to be the consensus last month when the City Council began debating a proposed marketing plan and funding request put forward by members of the Raleigh CAC, the overall body made up of the officers of each of the 18 community CACs.

The seemingly innocuous proposal quickly led to a prolonged debate about the core mission of the RCAC, which continued the following week in the Budget and Economic Development Committee.

Some council members were concerned that the RCAC was proposing to have its own Web site and logo, a strange complaint given the city's myriad of offshoot committees that already have those things.

Others raised concerns about whether the marketing plan -- which relied heavily on e-mail and the Internet -- failed to take into account the digital divide that exists in some of the city's poorer neighborhoods.

There was even talk about trying to redraw the CAC boundaries (redistricting!), some of which haven't been touched since they were created in the 1970s.

What doesn't seem to be in dispute is that CACs play an invaluable role in solving the city's problems. Among the many beneficiaries of the work done by CACs are City Council members, who use them to stay on top of local issues.

In picking apart the RCAC proposal, the City Council is running the risk of biting the hand that feeds it. The proposal is an earnest attempt to encourage more participation in CACs, which has been in decline in recent years.

Granted, the proposal is not perfect, and a certain amount of scrutiny is warranted since it involves public money. But too much meddling on the part of the City Council will likely just frustrate the dedicated volunteers who make CACs successful.

Fashioning a citywide CAC marketing campaign that appeals to all neighborhoods is unrealistic. If the City Council has concerns about how the money's being spent, divide it up evenly among the various CACs and let them decide how to use it.

If the City Council has any other concerns, it should state them clearly and then get out the way and let the volunteers run things.

Staff writer David Bracken can be reached at 829-4548 or