Below is the history of an item that will be up for a vote in the City Council meeting next Tuesday, Jun 5. It is to request the city fund the hiring of a consultant to address the infill/refill issues in our neighborhoods across the city.
From: Five Points CAC
Supporting 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 others to do the same.
Council Member, At-Large
Council Member, At-Large
District Council Members
James West, Mayor Pro Tempore
TEXT CHANGE PRIORITIZATION ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZED TO RECRUIT CONSULTANT FOR CITY-WIDE PARKING STANDARDS; OTHER ITEMS TO REMAIN WITH STAFF
During the April 17, 2007 Council meeting, a report was received from the Planning Department relative to prioritization of pending text changes. The Council named the following four as priorities:
13 - O&I Mixed Office/Residential Intensity (Double Dipping);
14 - NCOD Reform/Infill Development;
16 - Parking Requirements for Open Air Markets; and
18 - Citywide Parking Standards.
It was directed that the item be placed on this agenda to receive a report from Administration on whether these should be handled by staff and/or consultant, approximate cost and time frame.
Council members received the following information in their agenda packet with it being pointed out final contract fees could change based upon responses by consultants.
O&I-1 Mixed-Use Projects (aka double dipping)
Planning Department and City Attorneys Office has substantially completed the research and analysis related to this item. The text change could be ready for the July 2007 Joint Public Hearing or a Special Hearing in June 2007.
NCOD reform/Infill Development
A consultant would be needed to undertake analysis and to prepare a text change(s) and/or comprehensive plan amendments. The consultant would be asked to explore form-based and contextual zoning solutions that may include computer simulations to visualize options. Estimated consultant cost $20,000 to $25,000. Project could take 3-6 months to complete. Staff must prepare a RFP and scope, issue the RFP, interview and select firms, submit to Council, procure the contract and then manage the consultants work. The work could be accomplished in 4 months. The additional 2 months may be needed for community meetings and follow-up work. Estimated consultant start date: July 2007, estimated completion date November 2007 to January 2008.
Parking Requirements for Open Air Markets
The Planning Department could undertake the analysis and text change within a one to two month timeframe. This text change could be ready for the July 2007 Joint Public Hearing.
Citywide Parking Standards
A consultant would be needed to undertake analysis and to prepare a text change. Estimated consultant cost $15,000 to $20,000. Project could take 3-4 months to complete. Staff must prepare a RFP and scope, issue the RFP, interview and select firms, submit to Council, procure the contract and then manage the consultants work. Estimated consultant start date: July 2007, estimated completion date October 2007 to November 2007.
Mr. Crowder questioned the NCOD reform, what that means and how it got on the list. Planning Director Silver pointed out there were a lot of issues relating to the Bickett Boulevard case which involved infill and overlay zoning. He stated there were a number of questions and they wanted to look at the neighborhood, contextual, infill, discussions, etc. It is all lumped together to address a number of issues related to infill. Ms. Taliaferro pointed out staff had recommended that the City hire a consultant to do that asking if that relates to time restraints on the part of staff. Planning Director Silver pointed out it is a highly complex issue. He stated he had recommended a consultant based on the complexity, limited staff time and the importance of moving forward with this issue. He stated staff could handle it in house but it will take longer and it is felt we need to address these issues quickly as they come up time and time again. Mayor Meeker questioned if Items 14 and 18 proposed consultants would be added to next years budget or exactly how that would be handled. City Manager Allen pointed out it would be hard to add to the budget at this point because the budget is almost in final form. He stated the Council could allocate the money from the current contingency and the money could be rolled over to next year. He stated those two items would be in the $45,000 range and the Council has some $150,000 in its contingency.
Ms. Kekas stated she thought when the Council was doing the prioritization the Council was doing the priorities for staff. She stated she has a concern about bringing in a consultant. She questioned if staff took on these four issues how much longer we are talking about. She expressed concern about continuing to add consultants and questioned if it would be better to hire someone to do this work as well as other work in the Planning Department rather than going with a consultant. Planning Director Silver pointed out long term hiring someone in the Planning Department may help but short term he would recommend utilizing a consultant for this work. He again stated the NCOD reform is a very complex issue and involves a number of issues relating to zoning, form based zoning, etc. He stated that work alone could take six months to a year for staff but the consultant could do it much quicker.
Mr. Crowder pointed out these are very important issues and he feels it would be money well spent. Ms. Taliaferro stated she could see hiring a consultant for the City-wide parking standards as that will cross many different departments. She stated her concern about bringing in a consultant for the NCOD reform is that they would not have institutional knowledge and history. She stated in addition a consultant would come in, do the work and then be gone and it would be good to have continuity on staff to help interpret and implement any new standards. She stated it may take a little longer but she feels it would be important to have NCOD reform item done in house. She stated she has no problem supporting additional staff in the Planning Department if that is what we need. Ms. Taliaferro stated she could support going with a consultant for the City-wide parking standards and so moved including an appropriation from Council Contingency. Her motion was seconded by Ms. Kekas and a roll call vote resulted in all members voting in the affirmative. The Mayor ruled the motion adopted on an 8-0 vote. See Ordinance 220TF68.
The Mayor indicated staff would proceed with getting a consultant for the City-wide parking standard proposal and the other three priorities would be done in house by staff.
Community SCALE is coalition of residents in Raleigh's established neighborhoods who are working together to advocate for the kind of development in our communities that respects the existing built environment, the natural environment, and the history of individual neighborhoods. Preserving and conserving a sustainable Raleigh for all.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
City Council Meeting
On June 5, the Raleigh City Council will continue to discuss the hiring of a consultant to work on the development of infill standards. Mayor Meeker reported on the news last Thursday that he hoped to see some regulations in place by fall.
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