UDO Review

Community SCALE voices its opinion about residential regulations on RaleighUDO.com

Sec. 1.5.7. Height - A. Building Height 
We like the new standard of building height being measured to the highest point of the roof.  But the Flat Roof diagram doesn't label the parapet wall.  You have to go all the way to D. Height Encroachments section to understand what the additional height on the Flat Roof diagram.  It would be helpful to label that additional height.

Chapter 2. Residential Districts
SCALE urges the City to find ways to encourage equal distribution of development across the City of Raleigh. In recent years, redevelopment has concentrated in some older, established, desirable neighborhoods that do not have the benefit of overlay districts, while other older areas languish. Recognizing the City's desire to develop areas that will raise the most tax revenue, SCALE urges the City to look at the big picture of livability for all neighborhoods and to incentivize development in less well utilized areas. In addition, SCALE urges the City to encourage increased density in the less dense parts of the city rather than the already fairly dense areas, as demonstrated in the map on the City's Limehouse portal.

You can argue that density has advantages, but you can argue the flip side as well that the more packed in people are the more quality of life is impacted. While expressing a desire for increasing density and reducing sprawl, the City has permitted developments such as Oaks at Fallon Park that effectively reduced density and yet has the potential to increase stormwater issues due to increased
impervious surface and rooflines. Related to this is a need to require development to compensate for the cumulative environmental and traffic impacts of a project.

Meaningful incentives for superior development (in terms of design) and for developing or redeveloping areas that up to now have been considered to be less desirable areas to live could be things like reduced fees and other incentives.

There is room for development that falls between single-use sprawl and vertical mixed use. We would like the UDO to ensure that development in that middle spectrum is facilitated.

Sec. 2.1.1. District Intent Statements
We are concerned about the impact of reduced minimum lot sized on existing and thriving R-10 and R-6 neighborhoods.  Some test cases of where teardowns have occurred in neighborhoods and what could replace them under the proposed new zoning regulations would be helpful.

Sec. 2.2.1. Detached House - Table
The B. Principal Building Setbacks have front yard and side yard setbacks from the primary and side streets.  Wasn't this formerly the front and side lot lines?  Is it really going to be from the street curb or from the property line?

We'd like clarification to be sure where the setbacks measurements start.

Sec. 2.2.7. Residential Infill Compatibility - E. Side Wall Length
What does articulation mean?  It is used in this section and several other sections, but it's not clear what a would satisfy the requirement for articulation.  There is no definition for "articulation" in the Chapter 12. Definitions or anywhere else in the UDO.  We are not sure that average citizens will be able to interpret the term without more information about it somewhere in the UDO.

 Sec. 4.1.1. District Intent Statements - D. Manufactured Home Park (R-MP)
SCALE urges the City to pass a local ordinance to retroactively mandate that mobile home park owners provide a concrete block or subground structure where residents could quickly gather when weather disasters are imminent.

Sec. 5.4.2. Limited Historic Overlay District (-LHOD)
We like the idea of a more achievable Historic Overlay District and the contents of the A. Purpose and Objectives sections.  But starting in C. Prohibited Activities the proposed language seems to exactly replicate the content of the Article 5.4. Character Protection Overlays Prohibited Activities.  It seems that it will be just as hard to for neighborhoods to be willing to take on all these prohibitions.

Article 6.2. Residential Uses - B. Single-Unit Living
Our reading of the definition of Single-Unit Living seems to mean that there can actually be two living units counted as one unit for the zoning count.  In other words, a single family dwelling with a backyard cottage would count as one unit so that it would be one of six units that can be in an R-6 zoning.  So essentially, there could be as many as 12 living spaces, six single family dwelling with an accessory apartment or a backyard cottage, in an R-6 zoning acre.  Somewhere in the UDO this needs to be clearly spelled out.

Article 6.3. Public & Institutional Uses
Churches and schools that were once part of the neighborhood have increasingly
become "destinations" as their need for more income compels them to rent their spaces and to offer many new programs. The neighborhoods that contain them need to be protected from ramifications of these expansions.

Article 7.4. Outdoor Lighting
Dark skies regulations. Make sure there is no light trespass on adjacent
properties. This is in current ordinance but not enforced.  Same with noise ordinance. Enforcement is a source of frustration.

Sec. 8.1.3. Neighborhood Access
Connectivity is an issue sometimes. DOT Policies call for it, but sometimes cul
de sacs protect neighborhoods from traffic impacts from nearby institutions and businesses. Lack of connectivity is not ALWAYS a bad thing.

Chapter 11. Administration
We could not find in the UDO the need to have the majority (51%) of property owners in an area being considered for rezoning to signoff on the rezoning. Where is that?  Has that been eliminated?  What has replaced it?  Are rezonings going to be able to happen without the majority of property owners being in agreement?

Sec. 11.1.5. Appearance Commission
SCALE urges the City to look at ways to work with utility companies to find ways to that more overhead utilities can be retroactively buried, both for safety issues in weather events and for aesthetics.

 Article 4.5. Manufactured Home Park (R-MP)
SCALE urges the City to pass a local ordinance to retroactively mandate that mobile home park owners provide a concrete block or subground structure where residents could quickly gather when weather disasters are imminent.


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Institutional Impacts on Residential Neighborhoods:

In order to protect the livability and tax base of neighborhoods, the City needs to address how it will treat different sizes of institutions and what will be the allowed uses. In other words, how do you treat the different sizes and the varying uses of, for example, a church that may have a sanctuary, gym, day school, Sunday School, child care, and other programs vs. a smaller church that has only a sanctuary and Sunday School. One size does not fit all.