When “We The People” No Longer Matters

Today at Raleigh City Council, Mayor Baldwin made a motion to approve a rezoning at Buffaloe and North New Hope roads. I voted against this motion but the motion passed with a vote of 5 to 3.

Those voting against the motion included Corey Branch, Stomie Forte, and myself.

Those voting in favor of the motion were Mary-Ann Baldwin, Nicole Stewart, Jonathan Melton, Patrick Buffkin, and David Knight.

Here is my full statement that I gave during the meeting:

The residents of Buffaloe and North New Hope have worked in good faith with City Council and staff to create a small area plan and zoning that is a win-win. Key policies related to heights and neighborhood transitions have been well defined and established through language in the small area plan and through zoning established just five years ago.

We are now being asked to change all of that with the claim it isn’t enough. The developer is asking for greater height and is asking that we reduce the neighborhood transitions. The residents who worked so hard and in collaboration with Council and the City oppose this request and ask that we support development within the parameters that they worked with the city to establish.

More than 500 have signed an online petition and a group of representatives have diligently attended every meeting. They have clearly stated that they support development within the policies of the small area plan and the neighborhood transitions established by current zoning.

In addition, upon review of this case the Planning Commission voted 5 to 3 to recommend denial of the rezoning with the majority agreeing that the city’s prior commitments are in the public interest.

There is the argument that we are in a housing crisis and that Council must approve any and every opportunity for more housing. The theory is that housing prices are high because of a lack of supply. However, that theory is overly simplistic and doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Many factors affect prices and shifts in the demand curve for housing. Two prominent factors include high household incomes and speculative property investing. But there are many others. 

It is also NOT true that Council hasn’t approved enough housing. In the five years since the small area plan and zoning were established for this location, Council has approved nearly 200 zoning changes throughout the city to allow the construction of 62,000 housing units which is enough to house 142,000 people. This is more than 300% greater than Raleigh’s current growth rate.

Our citizens in the Buffaloe/New Hope area worked in cooperation and good faith to create a small area plan and zoning just five years ago that was unanimously approved by Council that was hailed as a win-win. The parameters under that plan and zoning allow the development of housing as well as commercial development to serve the area. People are not saying no to growth. Housing growth can happen with three story buildings as prescribed by the small area plan and the neighborhood transitions prescribed by the current zoning. But, changing these parameters after residents worked in cooperation with Council and the City to establish them is not in the public interest. People trusted their government and are asking us now to honor that trust.

Therefore, I do not support the motion to approve Z-45 and will vote no.

6 Replies to “When “We The People” No Longer Matters”

  1. This is already a very congested and dangerous intersection in Raleigh. The new Aldi store has added more traffic to the intersection and area without even building anything . NOTHING ELSE is needed that will draw more traffic to this area.

  2. Mary Baldwin has been a plague on this city for to long. Now she want’s a huge bond to screw up Dix park. Vote no on anymore bonds until they learn how to use money. The reason the triangle rank’s number 1 in the livability index is because the High trained workers want to be able to work for good companies, and come home to a small town communities . California and New York are dumps They know the best talent even on fortune 500 companies want to go to work and come home to a small town feel to enjoy with their families.

  3. I literally live across rhe street from this intersection and most days I feel like I’m at a drag race. I’m thankful for your determination and vigilance in fighting for District B against all odds!

  4. It is a sad day. A vote for a housing complex of 350+ units added to the 3rd most dangerous intersection in Raleigh. I ask City Council and the developers how they sleep at night knowing they are part of an even higher death toll at this intersection. Death of voters, tax payers, and citizens.
    Hope that money is sticky sweet.

  5. Thank you sir for fighting as hard and within the parameters of the UDO and previous small area plan at that location. I can see COR and Mayor do not support following their own rules. I am considering moving out of the area since I cannot trust my city to protect me within their own rules and will continue to over reach and do what they want in the name of high density growth over safety. I am afraid for my neighborhood (Starmount) that is currently zoned R-4, that adjacent lots will be bought and this nonsense will be put right in the middle of our neighborhood because we are adjacent to Capital Boulevard and nothing is being done to control that dangerous and over capacity roadway they want dense housing surrounding. Keep up the good work, even thought COR does not abide by their own rules and does not listen to citizens.

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