August 3 Meeting at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church
Summary of PowerPoint and Remarks by Frank Gordon
The proposed compact subdivision plan for 908 Williamson Drive
17 townhouses on tiny lots
In the heart of Hayes Barton (R-4 zoning for decades–.25 acres lots, minimum)
What is the “missing middle”?
- Allows duplexes, triplexes, quadraplexes, and townhouses in areas previously zoned for single family homes only.
- These housing types are in the middle of the spectrum of housing types, from single family homes to mid-rise apartments/condos/townhouses.
The mayor and city council of Raleigh have enacted a “missing middle” housing scheme in the middle of the pandemic through a series of text changes to the Unified Development Ordinance.
- For a neighborhood with R-4 zoning, these changes now allow townhouses/tiny houses in neighborhoods previously zoned R-4, which was 4 “single family dwellings” (old definition) per acre.
- In effect, with townhouses crammed onto drastically smaller lot sizes, these changes essentially have doubled the allowed density on any lot in your neighborhood.
These text changes also do away with the notice and opportunity-to-be-heard requirements of our previous zoning laws.
- There is no requirement that a sign be posted alerting neighbors that an application for this type of housing has been made. You’ll just have to hope that you hear about it through the grapevine.
- And even if you happen to hear about it, your opinion or opposition is not welcome – there is no public hearing by the zoning board or the city council in this new process.
In essence, this mayor and city council have delegated their oversight responsibilities to the city staff, which conducts an administrative review with no process for input from the public anymore.
Our mayor and city council are following the lead of the handful of cities elsewhere that have enacted similar drastic changes to single family zoning, such as Portland and Minneapolis.
Single family zoning is now illegal in Minneapolis. If your idea of the American dream is a house and a yard in a neighborhood of houses and yards, you should not move to Minneapolis.
Silencing the voices of neighborhoods is also a part of this radical plan: “public hearing requirements are an important target for regulatory reform.” (Ending Single Family Zoning is Not a Stand-Alone Solution, www.governing.com.) If your idea of the American dream includes public hearings for zoning decisions that will affect your property rights, you should be vehemently opposed to “missing middle” zoning.
There is no public input in the new system.
Our mayor and city council have also simultaneously done away with the Citizens’ Advisory Council (“CAC”) system, thereby eliminating an existing and established structure for providing public input via CACs on rezoning requests. There are also no more signs in the area to explain the proposed changes.
These changes apply to huge swaths of the entire city of Raleigh.
The present mayor (Mary Ann Baldwin) and every current member of the city council voted for these changes except for David Cox.
Mayor Baldwin and representative David Knight (District E) are running for reelection in November. They are being opposed by Terrance Ruth (for mayor) and Christine Jones (for District E), both of whom are opposed to this particular project and who support a rezoning process that restores the right of neighborhoods to receive notice of these projects and a meaningful opportunity to be heard about them.
Connect these dots:
David Knight spent $226,375 on his 2019 election campaign.
Approximately 75% of that money came from real estate developers or political action committees aligned with realtors or apartment builders.
Mary Ann Baldwin spent over $320,000 to get elected mayor in 2019; over half of that money came from real estate developers.
Recent polling indicates that over 70% of Raleigh voters think that our city government is too beholden to developers’ interests.
Most also agree that Raleigh’s growth is coming at the expense of our quality of life and that Raleigh’s growth is destroying neighborhoods and forcing large numbers of people to relocate outside of Raleigh. See full polling report with crosstabs.