Citizens Think Raleigh is Great – And Raleigh is Great Because of its Citizens

 

This past week Raleigh City Council held its annual retreat.  During the retreat we learned the results of a formally conducted Citizens survey.  More than 90% of Raleigh’s citizens rated the City as a good or excellent place to live.  And citizens view Raleigh as one of the safest communities in the Country.

Now that the retreat is over, I would like to reflect on some of what makes Raleigh such a great City.  To begin are Raleigh’s Citizen Advisory Councils.

Raleigh has a unique, long standing institution known as the Citizens Advisory Councils (or CACs).  There are nineteen CACs in Raleigh serving nineteen different geographic regions of the City.  They meet regularly at locations convenient to their region.  All citizens are invited to attend and participate in those meetings to discuss matters of the day and matters affecting the lives of those who live in the area served by the CAC.

The vision of the Citizen Advisory Councils is “A better City through citizen participation.”  Two key actions of the CACs are:

  • Advise the Raleigh City Council on matters affecting the well-being of the citizens
  •  Communicate its views on relevant matters to the City Council and other governing boards, agencies, institutions and officials

Communication is not a one-way street.  Communication is a dialog between Citizens and their elected officials.  I attend numerous CAC meetings to hear the concerns of citizens, to ask questions, to answer questions, and to share my own thoughts and opinions about those matters that are important to my fellow citizens.

I  ran for City Council because at the time I felt that some on Council were veering away from Citizen participation.  I ran on the promise to not make decisions in a vacuum.  That is why I attend Citizen Advisory Council meetings and that is why plan to continue to attend during my tenure on City Council.

I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other. — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

UPDATE ON RAVEN RIDGE REZONING

I sent the following email to the City Manager just now and copied the Mayor and the rest of Council:

Mr. Hall,

Last night I was informed by one of my neighbors that Z-15-16 was updated to PD on the City’s current development webpage. According to the date on the website, the update was available or posted to the website January 26. I received no notification that I am aware of about this update.

One thing that I would like to add for our retreat agenda is how council members can be notified and informed of activity that is of interest to them. As a district Councilor, I like to know when activities happen in District B. For example, when zoning requests are added or changed in District B, I would like to receive notification. Similarly, when capital improvement projects in District B are started or reach milestones, I would like to be notified. Another example is the sidewalks being installed on New Hope Church Rd. I only learned about their construction because I happened to drive by that location and noticed it.

Regarding Z-15-16, I took a look at it and I find no significant differences. It continues to allow a 50,000 square foot grocery anchor store, allows extensive other retail, continues to have a huge traffic impact, and does not address – intentionally ignores – the 40% forestation requirement. In short, the proposal changes the character of the area too much. Furthermore, this update was submitted without any interaction whatsoever with the community.

I am seriously considering making a motion at our next Council meeting to deny this case.

Regards,
David Cox

Raleigh City Council Member, District B

Raleigh City Council Retreat – 2017

This year’s City Council retreat will be held February 8,9, and 10 at the NC Museum of Art. All meetings are open to the public.

Agenda, Day One (1:00 to 5:00 pm, Feb 8)

1) Welcome/Introduction
2) Governing Role
3) Legislative Relations

Agenda, Day Two (9:00 to 5:00 pm, Feb 9)

1) Citizen Survey Results
2) Strategic Plan Organizational Update
3) Review of Strategic Plan by Key Focus Areas

Agenda, Day Three (9:00 to 2:00 pm, Feb 10)

1) Continue Review of Strategic Plan
2) Budget and Finance Update
3) Closing / Next Steps

Regarding Day One, the Legislative Relations session might be of interest. Did you know that the City has its own lobbyist? The City’s lobbyist is Mr. Phillip Isley, former City Councilor.

Regarding Day Two, the Citizen Survey Results might be also be of interest. Did you complete the survey? We on Council have not been provided a copy of the survey results. If you happen to have completed the survey, I’d be interested in hearing your opinion.

Regarding Day Three, the budget will be of obvious interest. So far, Council has received no information regarding the pay study. Whether this update addresses the pay study and what we need to do to address deficiencies in pay remains to be seen.

Abbotts Creek Trail – Blue Heron Haven

It’s that time of year folks.  The Blue Heron have begun nesting again along one of District B’s gems – the Abbotts Creek Trail.  The trail is a spur off of the Neuse River Greenway in North Raleigh.

There is a convenient parking lot at the very end of Bedfordtown Drive.  After parking your car, follow the path to the T.  Take a right and you are now on the Neuse River Greenway.  Follow the greenway a short distance (you will cross one bridge) and you will come upon Abbotts Creek Trail on the right.  It is well marked with a trail sign.  Follow Abbotts Creek until you reach a long bridge that spans a wide swampy area.  The herons will be in the trees to your left.  If at first you don’t see them, simply wait.  One will soon fly in for a landing.  And you can’t help but hear them.

Be sure to bring binoculars for the best view.  The photos below were taken with a 250mm zoom lens.