Wednesday, May 28, 2014


We have a very important rezoning announcement.  We encourage you to forward this announcement by passing it along to your neighbors, friends, family, and by posting it to your Facebook timeline should you have a Facebook account.

Next Tuesday, June 3 at 7PM City Council will be  conducting a public hearing on zoning case Z-2-14 for a proposed seven story building on Hillsborough Street.

If it is at all possible, please come to this City Council meeting at 222 W. Hargett Street on the second floor in City Council Chambers.  We also ask that you take a moment to email City Council and simply inform them you oppose Z-2-14.  Their email address is

Let us stand together to oppose out of scale developments that harm neighborhoods!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Grow Raleigh Great Meets with Raleigh Planning Department

Members of Grow Raleigh Great representing several areas of Raleigh impacted by the recently enacted development ordinance met with the Raleigh Planning Department for an initial review of Grow Raleigh Great's position paper,  "Unintended Consequence: Neighborhoods and the Impact of Raleigh's UDO and Comprehensive Plan."

The primary focus of the meeting was the impact of the development ordinance (commonly referred to as the UDO for Unified Development Ordinance) on neighborhoods.  Our own neighborhoods have been faced with rezoning proposals for building out-of-scale, very large, high intensity retail and housing directly within our neighborhoods.  We are the first test cases of the new development ordinance and we are very concerned.

Under the new development ordinance Raleigh is poised to rezone a large number of properties as so-called Neighborhood Mixed Use centers.  On paper these neighborhood centers sound like great additions to any neighborhood.  They will feature corner stores, coffee shops, small restaurants, with a mix of housing and offices.  The descriptions of these retail centers are reminicent of the type of businesses one would find in a small town or village.

Unfortunately, the development ordinance which was supposed to make this vision a reality is too vague and unrestrictive.  Did you know that it is entirely conceivable to build a 50 foot tall warehouse (think BJs or Costco) in a neighborhood center?  Did you know that a developer could build a 14-bay gas station (think Sheetz) in a neighborhood center?  Did you know that a developer could build a 70,000, 80,000, even a 200,000 square foot strip mall in a neighborhood center?  Did you know that developer could build 75 foot tall, 7-story apartment building in a neighborhood center?  And it would all be visible from your kitchen window or backporch.

These are not exaggerations.  Homeowners are facing exactly these kinds of proposed developments. Homeowners living near Falls Lake (in the watershed no less) are facing a rezoning proposal for a 67,000 square foot strip mall with parking for about 350 vehicles.  Homeowners along Hillsborough Street are facing a rezoning proposal for a 75 foot tall, 7-story student apartment building.  Homeowners along Buffaloe Road recently faced a rezoning proposal for a 14-bay gas station.  Homeowners near Meridith College are faced with a rezoning proposal for a monstrocity of a building that is five stories tall that is proposed to cover an entire city block.  Homeowners along Leesville Road have been faced with the possibility of development yet another large strip mall.

These are the first real cases under the UDO.  We fully expect more to come to other properties that are being remapped to these neighborhood centers.  Check back on this website as we  reveal where these neighborhood centers will be located to see if you will be affected.

In the meantime discussions will continue with the Planning Department and City Council to explore changes to the development ordinance to protect our neighborhoods.  And by all means, contact your City Councilors at to express your concerns.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Neighborhood Mixed Use: "Heights would generally be limited to three stories, but four or five stories could be appropriate in walkable areas with pedestrian-oriented businesses"

A recent News & Observer story included this artist's rendering of a proposed seven story building for Hillsborough Street - a Neighborhood Mixed Use Area according to Raleigh's Comprehensive Plan.

Here is the same picture but with several busses in a stack.  Note that there are six busses and that busses are typically 10 feet tall suggesting that the building as rendered is only about 60 feet tall.  Note that the busses are directly in front of the building, so distortion due to perspective should be minimal to none.

To help envision what seven stories really looks like, here is a picture of North Hills.  I can't say how tall they are in feet, but clearly these are six story buildings.  This picture probably gives a pretty good clue to what seven story buildings look like.

Buildings of this height or higher were recently approved by the Planning Commission for the Neighborhood Mixed Use area along Hillsborough Street because they were found to be permitted by the UDO.   This approval perfectly illustrates the disconnect between the UDO and the Comprehensive Plan which says:

Heights would generally be limited to three stories, but four or five stories could be appropriate in walkable areas with pedestrian-oriented businesses.

The intent of the UDO was for it to implement the Comprehensive Plan.  Clearly this has not happened.  We call upon City Council to fix this and many other deficienies within the UDO immediately.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Unintended Consequences: Neighborhoods and the Impact of Raleigh's UDO and Comprehensive Plan

This evening a packed house at Raleigh City Council supported the presentation of “Unintended Consequences: Neighborhoods and the Impact of Raleigh’s UDO and Comprehensive Plan.” 

This position paper is the work of the residents of several neighborhoods from throughout Raleigh to press the case for needed changes in the newly adopted Unified Development Ordinance (aka UDO).  In short, the UDO is broken and the City needs to take another look at it and fix it.

To learn more, please download a copy of the “Unintended Consequences” and join with us to protect and preserve Raleigh’s great neighborhoods.  To download, simply click this picture or click here.

Unintended Consequences