Raleigh’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan formally states the City’s goals to guide future development. When a rezoning request comes to the City, the Planning Department uses evaluates the request’s consistency against the stated goals and policies of the Plan.
Regarding development Downtown, the Comprehensive Plan says the following:
Central Business District – This category applies to the Raleigh Central Business District, and is intended to enhance Downtown Raleigh as a vibrant mixed use urban center. The category recognizes the area’s role as the heart of the city, supporting a mix of high-intensity office, retail, housing, government, institutional, visitor-serving, cultural, and entertainment uses. Multiple zoning districts might apply within the CBD, corresponding to the different character and vision for its various neighborhoods, with DX being the primary district for the mixed use core of downtown.
But the Comprehensive Plan is as much, if not more, about neighborhoods as it is about downtown. The Plan calls for tapering heights as we move from the downtown core toward the surrounding neighborhoods:
Heights in the downtown could reach as high as 40 stories in the core, but would taper down to meet the adjacent neighborhoods as a height of three to four stories.
The downtown core has long been recognized as Fayetteville street and as we move away from Fayetteville street we approach neighborhoods such as Glenwood South, Mordecai, South Park, Oakwood, and others. Following the Comprehensive Plan, heights on Peace and Capital currently allow 12 stories just a few blocks from Glenwood-South. In between there is a buffer that allows 3 story structures. To the east, heights taper down to 7, 4, and 3 stories before reaching Mordecai and Oakwood.
Today, two zoning requests are moving towards City Council for consideration to allow 40 story structures. Approval of this request will signal a major change in direction for Raleigh. If approved, there will effectively be no tapering down to meet the Glenwood-South neighborhood. If approved, we will have set the stage to eliminating tapering down from the core to meet the adjacent neighborhoods.
Whichever way Council chooses for the future, make no mistake that the decision will be critically important for Raleigh’s future.
In keeping with my commitment to neighborhoods, it is this choice that I will consider when evaluating rezoning requests for Downtown.