What is the Unified Development Ordinance (“UDO”) and what are “text changes”?
The UDO contains all the development and zoning rules for the city. Text changes (TC) are amendments to Raleigh’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
What is the “Missing Middle”?
This is an urban planning concept and term coined by Daniel Parolek in 2010 to describe the range of housing between single family homes and large apartment buildings. The “missing middle” describes a gap, supposedly missing since World War II, which includes duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, townhouses, smaller scale apartment buildings, and “tiny” houses.
What do the missing middle text changes do to Raleigh’s zoning?
These changes drastically increase the number of number of housing units allowed to be built in areas where previous zoning regulations limited density to a set number of single family homes per acre. In addition, these changes allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhomes, condominiums, and even apartments in areas previously zoned for single family homes.
What are the Frequent Transit Area (FTA) corridors?
These corridors have been designated by the city for very intense and dense development within one quarter (.25) mile on either side of the corridor. These corridors include, for example, Glenwood Avenue, Western Boulevard, Oberlin Road, New Bern Avenue, and Lassiter Mill Road. In these areas, the city now allows apartments to be built at approximately five times the previous density for single family residences. For example, parcels that were previous zoned R-4 (4 units per acre) are now effectively in R-21 zoning, and apartments can be built there.
Do we still have public notice regarding these projects and an opportunity to be heard at public hearings?
No. These projects can now be built as a matter of right, without any notice to neighbors or any opportunity to be heard at a public hearing.
What citizen input was included by the city before these regulations were adopted? Why didn’t I hear about this issue sooner?
The city held a public hearing in the summer of 2021 for the Missing Middle 1.0 changes and another public hearing in the summer of 2022 for the Missing Middle 2.0 changes. Only a handful of people appeared at these public hearings, as the only notice given regarding these hearings was a legal advertisement in the paper.
What are city officials saying about the new legislation? Are they willing to review and change it?
- “I understand and appreciate how people feel like that’s a massive or radical change, but it’s exactly the kind of incremental or gentle change we need to accommodate new residences.” Patrick Young, Raleigh Director of Planning and Development, from the Triangle Business Journal, August 26, 2022
- Referring to the 17 townhouses that are slated to replace a single house in Hayes Barton over the objection of neighbors to lack of knowledge, input, and appeal: “17 are better than one.” Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin quoted on numerous occasions for the media in reference to the Hayes Barton example.
- “The issue is two-fold. The council did away with the process that would have required developers to hear from neighbors followed by a council vote. What would have normally happened before these changes is there would have been a rezoning request. The developer would’ve had to go to citizen advisory council meetings and present the plans to the public. [Now that the council abolished the CAC’s] “What that means is a developer can come into a single-family neighborhood just as I’ve described, purchase property, tear down the home and build something other than a single-family home without any community feedback or input, no public hearing. It’s all entirely by right.” David Cox, Raleigh City Councilmember who was the only vote against the Missing Middle changes. CBS17 News, July 26, 2022
- “It can’t always be about increasing density. Increasing density works great for developers but it doesn’t work well all the time for the community and the neighborhood.” David Cox, Raleigh City Council Member, CBS17 News, Raleigh, July 26, 2022
- “Our intent is to build something that looks like it’s been in Hayes Barton for decades…I don’t think there is anything out of character about the 17 beautiful townhouses.” Johnny Chappell, Real estate agent, as part of the developer’s team for 908 Williamson replacing a single, nearly century-old home with 17 townhouses on one lot previously zoned for 4 houses per acre. Triangle Business Journal, August 26, 2022
What can be done about this new legislation?
It can be changed by electing a new slate of council members and a new mayor.
What can I do as an individual?
Vote for council members to replace the current incumbent council and mayor on November 8.