The Wakefield Small Area Plan – when it is finalized – will become part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and will guide future development along Falls of Neuse Road (not Old Falls of Neuse) from the river to Capital Blvd. The motivation behind developing the plan was to prevent Falls of Neuse from becoming another Capital Blvd built out as strip malls. I believe that the community very much wants to keep the vegetation that lines the road as well as the wide, landscaped medians. To ensure that development proceeds as the COMMUNITY wishes it to proceed, an effort is now underway to develop the Wakefield Small Area Plan.
So, what exactly will go into the Plan? Ultimately that will depend on the community. But generally there will be guidance about population density, building heights, parking, landscaping, tree preservation and conservation, transit, etc.
So, who will participate in creating the plan? This is an excellent question. There will be upcoming public meetings. In addition, the City Planning staff is meeting with a list of “stakeholders”.
I have to confess that I do not agree with the process for determining who is and isn’t a stakeholder. The process was done behind closed doors and the initial stakeholder meetings are not public. I would have preferred a public meeting to introduce the Small Area Plan to the entire community, allow ALL meetings to be public, and ensure that participation is extended to everyone. I will continue to monitor the process to ensure that the community’s interests are met.
With that caveat, the following is an update from the City Manager’s office about where we are today with the Small Area Plan.
Here, then, is the update for the Wakefield Small Area Plan:
Council Member Cox –
In follow up to our earlier text messages and telephone conversation of yesterday, please note the following with regard to activities underway with the referenced project.
Funding for the area study was appropriated with the FY21 budget.
A consultant selection process was conducted; Stantec (www.stantec.com) was chosen to conduct the study. The consultant team also includes Catalyst Design (https://catalyst-dg.com/).
Staff and the consultants have extended invitations to several stakeholder interviews in advance of the public meetings. The purpose of the interviews is to familiarize the consultants with existing conditions in order to help them understand the study area, the organizations that are located in the study area, and to receive information regarding issues that they should be aware of.
The interviews occurring this week were not intended to be public; rather these are intended as initial fact-finding and due diligence being performed by the consultants with the goal of obtaining information, and not to solicit policy input.
The interviews will be comprised of city staff, public safety, churches, transportation groups, and other organizations related to the topics of the study. It is important to note that the discussions can lead to the identification of other stakeholders and organizations that should be contacted in the course of the area study. The interviews, which began yesterday, are scheduled as follows:
Wakefield Stakeholder Interviews
April 12, 9 AM – Ritchie Bazzell, Principal, Wakefield High School
April 13, 2 PM – Michael Ballen, Raleigh Police
Lemuel Hubbard, Raleigh Fire
Ivon Johnson, Raleigh Fire
April 13, 3 PM – Mary Sell, Oaks and Spokes
Michelle Bell, Forest Pines Elementary
Brad Hester, Creative Schools
April 14, 1 PM – Hannah McManus, Wakefield UMC
Shane Brown, Kerr Family YMCA
John McInerny, Village of Wakefield
Yolanda Sanders, Wakefield Plantation
Bill Marley, Wakefield Plantation
April 15, 10 AM – Ben Brown, Raleigh Stormwater
Emma Liles, Raleigh Parks
John French, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail
Smith Raynor, NC Parks
Per your specific request, the interviews that have not already taken place will be recorded by staff and links posted to the project website.
As previously reported to City Council, public engagement meetings are not scheduled to commence until next month; the first public meeting will be an “Ask a Planner” session which is scheduled for May 3. Online participation and public outreach begin later this month.
Louis M. Buonpane
Chief of Staff
City of Raleigh
City Manager’s Office
(p) 919-996-4275 (direct)