This is an archive of Traffic and Zoning posts from 2010-2014.  We now include most updates on social media and NextDoor. Please contact the committee chairs for more information. 

516 Euclid Street - - Cherry/Gordon House

posted Jan 4, 2014, 6:40 AM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Mar 31, 2014, 8:33 AM ]

March 2014 Update: Back in January when this issue/debate began to take shape, we began a discussion on Nextdoor Mordecai to discuss this topic and the last post in that thread was January 21, 2014 when the discussion on Nextdoor ended. The information below was provided for the discussion at that time as information was first becoming available. At our January MCAC meeting, Gail Weisner and Louis Cherry and others spoke at that meeting and voiced their sides of this important debate. Since that meeting, much has happened and has been reported in the media and other sources, but due the complex nature of the debate and the many items of information pertaining to it, we have not posted any more supporting information here on this site. There has been no further MCAC discussion of the issue since that meeting and the MCAC has not taken any type of official stance related to it.  Please see the most recent March 30 article in the News and Observer:


Posted Jan 4, 2104 - - Some of you may have heard about a new house at 516 Euclid St in Oakwood which is causing great concern among Oakwood neighbors. They have asked the Mordecai CAC to post their concern on our Nextdoor email group on which there is currently a discussion thread in progress. Attached is a PDF (located at the bottom of this post) of the COA application for this project which contains extensive details and photographs of the project.

A special meeting of the Comprehensive Planning Committee is going to be held in room 201 at 222 Hargett on Monday Jan 6 at 11 AM to discuss procedures for holding public hearings on guideline changes. It was short notice to hold the special meeting but it would be great if folks from Mordecai who are interested could make it.

I asked Gail Wiesner who is leading this effort to clarify their position and this is what she explained were their goals:

We intend to stop 516 Euclid AND prevent this from happening again.

516 Euclid is currently in appeal to the Board of Adjustment. This is more than likely merely a step in getting to a court case with the Superior Court of Wake County.

It is a somewhat complicated explanation in total, but the short version is that we have the following goals:

1) Stop and reverse the construction of 516 Euclid

2) Improve the guidelines for Certificates of Appropriateness so that they are not able to be hijacked by a handful of people seeking to force their own tastes on the neighborhoods. It is even possible to have different guidelines in each district.

After we have completed these two goals, we will work on:

3) Alter the bylaws for the Raleigh Historic Development Commission to include a) advertising of openings (This is supposed to be done now, but is not) b) consistent notification and education of new homeowners about historic districts and COA procedures c) balanced representation on the commission as to profession and neighborhood. d) restore the name of RHDC to Raleigh Historic Districts Commission.

4) Alter the enabling legislation to give Raleigh citizens the same rights and protections as other citizens in North Carolina.

My primary message is this: These issues affect all neighborhoods that do not have the protection of legal homeowner's associations. We are ALL Raleigh, not the five people that have abused our trust and taken over. We need to ALL speak up. The city council is very responsive, wants to do this right and really cares about numbers of people showing interest. The time is perfect to protect our investment of money, time and effort as well as our way of life.

Back Story:

I asked Gail to provide some back story and here is what she wrote. She is happy to respond to anyone directly.  

Gail's response:
 
This is a pretty complicated issue and I will not be able to tell you all that has transpired, but
here is the crux of the matter:

The Raleigh Historic Development Commission has been quietly taken over by a few people with
an agenda.

Last year, one of the Committee on Appropriateness, who review all major changes in our houses,
an architect, Will Alphin, got approval by the rest of the committee for an outlandish
addition to a cottage in Oakwood, for which he was the architect.
(See http://raleighpublicrecord.org/news/2013...)
That COA hearing was not attended because, frankly, no one suspected that they would ever approve
something like that. We have had rigorous reviews for years and never imagined the committee
would do this, or that the staff would! By the time we found out about it, it was completed.

Now another ultra modern home is being built on an empty lot. (application attached) This time
many of us went to the committee meeting and raised serious, detailed objections. We were
completely ignored. Please drive by 208 Linden and 516 Euclid. The reality is so much worse than
these representations show.

Because I live across the street, I am appealing through the Board of Adjustment. The problem
is, the guidelines are now so vague and lax that, to those not familiar with historic preservation,
they seem to allow this kind of structure. We have been subject to precedent within the
neighborhood for all our renovations, additions and new construction since we became a district.
Now that has all been thrown out, without asking anyone or even telling anyone, all by 6
people who have abused the system to the extreme.

There is a great deal more to this, but difficult to explain all here. Oakwood is in an uproar, and
the majority are very angry. We have been betrayed by the city of Raleigh. We spent hundreds
of thousands buying and restoring homes with the expectations that our neighborhood would be
protected. Now our property values and entire way of life are under attack.

There were a minority who supported the application, almost to the person they were modernist
architects, had a financial interest in the project, or believe "everyone should be able to do whatever
they want". They said it was a beautiful house. It may be, but it is completely incongruous with
Oakwood.

We are proposing some changes to the guidelines, and later, to the bylaws of the RHDC. We need to
move quickly, though, and want to let everyone in the other districts know what is happening, since
we will all be affected. Shoot, even the surrounding neighborhoods and the entire city will be affected.
We have precious few tourist attractions in Raleigh as it is. Our tours of historic homes will also be
negatively impacted as the ambiance of the neighborhood is ruined. We have 19 buildable lots
currently, with at least 10 more possible, not to mention all the additions that can be made. EEEK!

We also found out that Raleigh is the ONLY place in the state where a committee may decide on
COA certificates. Everywhere else the entire commission has to hear applications. A few people who
are in a small minority (and can have financial gain) are deciding all our futures.

Even if you are not in a historic district, this issue is crucial. The new UDO claims to protect neighborhoods,
but those guidelines are set up in a similar way. Personnel could be making subjective decisions to suit their
own taste, just as happened here.

Thanks,
Gail
gwiesner@nc.rr.com
919 247 5183            

Mordecai resident Bart Letherman provided the additional insights:

I did some quick research and here are a couple links to what is happening on Euclid, along with detailed comments from both opposition and support of the project. ... View more http://www.rhdc.org/sites/default/files/... (scroll down to read commets from the community)

http://www.trianglemodernisthouses.com/C... (this is the actual detailed plan of the project)

In the spirit of keeping an open mind, this quote from the certificate of appropriateness was very well stated: "The success of new construction within a historic district does not depend on direct duplication of existing building forms, features, materials, and details. Rather, it relies on understanding what the distinctive architectural character of the district is. Infill buildings must be compatible with that character. Contemporary design generated from such understanding can enrich the architectural continuity of a historic district" .

Update from Gail Wiesner on January 14, 2014:

As of yesterday, the board of adjustment heard the case to decide if the
Committee on Appropriateness acted properly. After three hours they
decided to wait until next month to make a decision. They felt it was
too complicated and wanted to read over everything again. It will
probably be appealed by whoever loses. That means it will go to the Wake
County Superior Court.

The owners of 516 Euclid were warned last month and again last night
that they continued building at their own risk, yet are carrying on.

The Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC) of the City Council met last
week to discuss procedures for public hearings on changes to the Raleigh
Historic Development Commission guidelines and bylaws for the commission
itself. They decided to give the RHDC staff two weeks to come up with a
suggested plan to present to the city council in two weeks. The city
will then hold hearings.

I have attached the letter our neighborhood association board sent to
the chair of the CPC with our request for guidelines for Oakwood. The
guidelines do not have to be the same for each district.  Dan Becker
seems to think that can be handled through the Special Character Essays,
which are the "official" description of each historic district. The
description is supposed to be used as a guideline for each Certificate
of Appropriateness now, but that already very loose system, which has
been a problem for years, has become extremely loose lately.

A copy of the letter sent is located below under the word document: SPHO Guidelines.



   

Blount Street and Person Street Corridor Study Update!

posted Dec 3, 2012, 1:50 PM by Reid Serozi

The City of Raleigh is conducting a corridor study examining the Blount Street and Person Street Corridors from the I 40/Hammond Road interchange to the Capital Boulevard/Atlantic Avenue intersection.

Beginning next week December 10-13, consultants and city staff will conduct a series of design workshops that allow residents along this vital corridor to help design these streets and continue to give important feedback.

Two very important meetings. You don't want to miss out!

Project Briefing
When: Monday, Dec. 10, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Where: Cobblestone Hall (City Market)

Review key observations on the study area based on the feedback received at the October public meeting, and the results of the transportation and urban design analysis. More info.

Mordecai-Oakwood Work Session
When: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Where: Trinity United Methodist Church

Participate in an interactive design workshop focused on the study area between Moore Square and Capital Boulevard, including the Mordecai and Oakwood neighborhoods. Daytime drop in sessions also available. More info.

Blount St • Person St Corridor Study Kickoff Meeting

posted Oct 1, 2012, 7:51 PM by Reid Serozi   [ updated Oct 22, 2012, 11:09 AM ]

The City of Raleigh is beginning a corridor study examining the Blount Street and Person Street Corridors from the I-40/Hammond Road interchange to the Capital Boulevard/Atlantic Avenue intersection. Wake Forest Road which divides our CAC neighborhoods is an important part of this study.

The Blount-Person Corridor Study will identify multi-modal transportation and streetscape design options and programmatic strategies to improve the corridors, with a particular focus on how transportation and streetscape strategies impact placemaking and economic development. The study will take into account the numerous previous studies and initiatives that impact the corridors, and will involve extensive stakeholder input and a thorough understanding of community values, history, and future development scenarios.

Please join us for the project kickoff meeting:
  • Monday October 22nd
  • Registration: 6:30 p.m. Meeting: 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 
  • AIA headquarters 14 E Peace St Raleigh, NC 27604
For a preview of the study, plan to attend the October Mordecai CAC meeting, October 9 at 7:30 pm at Trinity United Methodist Church. Grant Meacci, project manager for the corridor study will discuss details and answer questions.

Approval Given to 2012-13 Traffic-Calming Projects

posted Sep 18, 2012, 6:36 PM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Oct 1, 2012, 8:37 PM by Reid Serozi ]

 
FYI in our MCAC - - the section of Glascock Street bt Wake Forest and Brookside has already been approved, speed humps let out to bid, and construction to begin in the near future. The section of Glascock Street bt Brookside and Raleigh Blvd is still on the drawing board and should be approved soon. Both of these sections are considered to be minor traffic calming projects. Brookside South bt Glascock and Watauga is considered to be a major traffic calming project and it was just approved. It is considered to be major bc more will be done to the street that just speed humps. Brookside North did not get enough signatures in the petition process but in the meantime it has been re-evaluated at a higher score which means that when we re-petition it will have higher priority and hopefully the residents will be able to see how good Brookside South looks and it will qualify for traffic calming.

Info from City Press Release on September 18, 2012:

The Raleigh City Council today unanimously approved the next round of traffic-calming projects for the Capital City. Council members adopted the project priority list and authorized City staff to move forward with the top-ranked major and minor traffic-calming projects for the current fiscal year.

Traffic-calming projects, driven by the citizen petition process, are designed to reduce speeding on neighborhood streets. They include a combination of public education, police enforcement and changes to the roadway in order to reduce speeding by motorists traveling through neighborhoods. The roadway changes may include a reduction in the posted speed limit and/or the installation of curb extensions, bulb-outs, median islands, speed humps or traffic tables.

Every year, the City’s Public Works Department staff evaluates or re-evaluates residential streets for traffic-calming projects. A rank is assigned to each street based on engineering criteria. The City Council’s adopted 10-year Capital Improvement Program allocates a total of $2.7 million to traffic-calming efforts.

Here are the top major traffic-calming projects for Fiscal Year 2012-13 (FY13):

• Cross Link Road (North) from Dandridge Drive to Rock Quarry Road;
• Cross Link Road (South) from Garner Road to Dandridge Drive;
• Crest Road from Avent Ferry Road to Varsity Drive;
• Varsity Drive from Avent Ferry Road to Marcom Street;
• Quail Ridge Road from Falls of Neuse Road to Spring Forest Road;
• Harps Mill Road (Middle) from Haymarket Way to Litchford Road;
• Falls River Avenue (South) from Durant Road to Southwalk Traffic Circle;
• Bridgeport Road (West) from Creedmoor Road to Abbottsbury Court;
• Wycliff Road from Lake Boone Trail to Morningside Drive; and,
• Brookside Drive (North) from Glascock Street to Atlantic Avenue.

The top minor traffic-calming projects for FY13 are:

• Delany Drive from Milburnie Road to Glascock Street;
• Johnsdale Road at both of its intersections with Litchford Road;
• Carlton Drive from Fox Road to Bentley Circle;
• North King Charles Road (South) from New Bern Avenue to Milburnie Road;
• Dandridge Drive from South State Street to Cross Link Road;
• Edwards Mill Road (North) from Parklake Avenue to Crabtree Valley Avenue;
• Oak Park Road (East) from Connell Drive to Glenwood Avenue;
• Cardinal Grove Boulevard (North) from the Cardinal Grove Homeowners Association property to Kyle Drive;
• Mars Street from Trawick Road to Starmount Drive; and,
• Cranbrook Drive from Shelley Road to Six Forks Road.

Major traffic-calming projects would entail significant modification to a street, including installing curb extensions, median islands, bulb-outs or traffic circles. Minor traffic-calming projects would typically include speed humps or speed tables.

For more information about the City of Raleigh’s traffic-calming efforts, including the citizen petition process, contact Traffic Calming Coordinator Thomas Fiorello at 919-996-4066 or Thomas.Fiorello@raleighnc.gov; or visit the City’s website at www.raleighnc.gov.
City of Raleigh • 222 W. Hargett Street • Raleigh NC, 2760







New Traffic-Calming Projects

posted Aug 30, 2012, 6:25 PM by Reid Serozi

The City of Raleigh’s goal is to complete three major traffic-calming projects and eight to 10 minor projects a year on residential streets.

Major projects would entail significant modification to a street, including installing curb extensions, median islands, bulb-outs or traffic circles. Minor projects would typically include speed humps or speed tables.

Below are major traffic-calming projects that are currently in the design process:

• Kaplan Drive from Kent Road to Melbourne Road;
• 
Brookside Drive from Watauga Street to Glascock Street;
• Glascock Street from Norris Street to North Raleigh Boulevard;

• Rainwater Road from Spring Forest Road to Hunting Ridge Road; and,
• Milburnie Road from Raleigh Boulevard to Chatham Lane;

Minor traffic-calming projects are listed in two categories: minor projects beginning the construction process and minor projects in the design process. Minor projects beginning the construction process are:

• Shelley Road from North Hills Drive to Six Forks Road;
• Rose Lane from Maplewood Road to Poole Road;
• Baugh Street from Old Buffaloe Road to Starmount Drive;
• Northbook Drive from North Hills Drive to Pamlico Drive;
• Wimbleton Drive to its two intersections with Shelley Road;
 Glascock Street from Wake Forest Road to Norris Street;
• Merrie Road from Avent Ferry Road to Merwin Road; and,
• East Rowan Street from Six Forks Road to Lakemont Drive.

Minor traffic-calming projects proceeding through the design phase are;

• Lake Boone Trail from Dixie Trail to Brooks Avenue;
• Southgate Drive from Rock Quarry Road to Red Quartz Drive;
• Southgate Drive from Star Sapphire Drive to Red Quartz Drive;
• Beverly Drive from Little John Road to Poole Road;
• Neuse Crossing Drive from Cashew Drive to Mitchell Mill Road;
• Marcom Street from Stovall Drive to Varsity Drive; and,
• Rumson Road from Marlborough Road to Barksdale Drive.

The City Council is scheduled to receive an update on traffic-calming projects at its Sept. 18 meeting.

For more information about the City of Raleigh’s traffic-calming efforts, including the citizen petition process, contact Traffic Calming Coordinator Thomas Fiorello at 919-996-4066 or Thomas.Fiorello@raleighnc.gov; or visit the City’s website at www.raleighnc.gov.

PUBLIC NOTICE: Special Use Permit to operate a storage yard for towed, wrecked, or disabled vehicles

posted Aug 7, 2012, 10:16 AM by Reid Serozi   [ updated Aug 7, 2012, 12:08 PM ]

A public hearing on the following case will be held by the RALEIGH BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT on Monday, August 13, 2012, beginning at 1:00 P.M. in the Council Chamber, Room 201 of the Raleigh Municipal Building located at 222 W. Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

per, Raleigh Board of Adjustment Agenda

7) A-56-12 WHEREAS, Eileen F. Schwartz, property owner, James Jones, lessee, and Zyad M. Asfari, sublessee, appeal for a Special Use Permit per Code Section 10-2144 to operate a storage yard for towed, wrecked, or disabled vehicles in the Industrial-2 zoning district at 1524 Brookside Drive. EAST CAC

What does this mean?

Brad Carpenter, Mordecai CAC Zoning Chair, discovered the following denied zoning change in the Board of Adjustment meeting notes from October 9, 2006 from the same address.

Additionally, Brad Carpenter looked up the Code of Raleigh that the motion is being filed under.

Board of Adjustment meeting notes A-97-06 – 10/09/06

 
DECISION: Motion to approve with conditions failed on a 2-3 vote.
 
WHEREAS, Eileen F. Schwartz, property owner, and Malcolm B. Huffman, Jr. and Bobby Ray Timlie, lessees, appear for a Special Use Permit per Code Section 10-2144 to operate a towing service and a storage yard for wrecked and dismantled vehicles in the Industrial-2 zoning district at 1524 Brookside Drive.

Zoning Enforcement Administrator Fulcher (sworn) gave the following testimony:

This request is for a special use permit to operate a towing service and a storage yard for wrecked and dismantled vehicles in the Industrial-2 zoning district. At the September 2005 meeting a special use permit was granted to the property for a towing service with an outdoor storage yard. The time expired prior to the applicant obtaining the required permits. Per the Board's rules of procedure, they could not re-apply for the same request within a year's period. The applicant meets the requirements for a special use permit provided they install an 8-foot solid fence to screen the yard and obtain the required permits and pay facility fees.
 
Applicant
 
Malcolm Huffman, 1528-43 Varsity Drive (sworn), stated the special use permit is for a towing and storage facility which will be used for storing wrecked and dismantled vehicles. They will put up an 8-foot solid fence. The reason their special use permit ran out before is that when they applied to the Secretary of State's office, they found out the business name they had chosen was already taken, so they are now re-applying.

In response to questions from Mr. Silverstein, Mr. Huffman stated (1) the only thing changed since the last time they applied is the name; (2) there will be no stacking of vehicles and cars would be stored basically in just one layer; (3) they will need to meet certain criteria to be involved in the City towing rotation; (4) hours of operation will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; and (5) they will landscape the outside of the fence on Brookside Drive, and bushes, greenery and shrubbery are required. They will also be landscaping the office.

Chairman Haywood asked how many people were present who opposed the application. Approximately 11 people raised their hands, and five indicated they wished to speak at the hearing.
 
Opposition
 
Lynette Pitt, 2233 Sheffield Road (sworn), stated she is Chair of East Raleigh CAC. She distributed copies of her notarized letter of opposition and copies of Mr. Poole's photographs of the property and affected area. Ms. Pitt said she believes this facility would be injurious to property values and have a negative and adverse effect on revitalization. Belvedere Park, Woodcrest and other residential subdivisions are in the early stages of revitalization. Home ownership is in the process of transitioning from rental units to more owner-occupied dwellings in area and property values are appreciating rapidly. They are concerned with the environmental impact that the storage of dismantled vehicles will have. Cemetery Creek is located on the eastern boundary line and within approximately 200 feet from the subject property. It flows into Pigeon House Creek, which then flows into Crabtree Creek and then the Neuse River. The intersection at Brookside Drive, Automotive Way and Old Wake Forest Road is already an awkward and treacherous intersection. Ms. Pitt pointed out that attached to her letter is a one-year accident history of this intersection, which shows 11 incidents between November 2005 and October 2006. The current and future redevelopment and revitalization potential for the affected area is very strong and evidenced by new projects in downtown Raleigh, the Person Street area, the Atlantic Avenue corridor, and the North Hills redevelopment. In the September 2005 meeting minutes, the applicants indicated the facility would be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The residents of Plainview Avenue, in the Belvedere Park subdivision, would be subject to noise disturbances from access and activity emanating from the property during late evening and overnight. She does not think an 8-foot high fence along Brookside Drive is adequate. In her opinion, the entire perimeter of the subject property should be fenced with privacy fencing and that the applicant must be required to comply with all landscaping requirements mandated by the City of Raleigh. She is requesting that the Board of Adjustment oppose this application because the facility would be injurious to properties in the subject area and would stagnate revitalization. She also believes there would be violations of the City Code with regard to the floodplain. Ms. Pitt said the letter of opposition is her own, not from the CAC. However, others in opposition asked her to speak on behalf of the CAC.

Donald Mertrud, 1315 Wake Forest Road(sworn), stated there were only two speakers in opposition to this application in 2005, Mr. Fisher and someone else who lived next to the property. Mr. Metrud is speaking on behalf of the Mordecai CAC. In 2005, the Mordecai CAC submitted a notarized letter in opposition. The letter addressed the fact that this area is a City gateway and is directly across the street from the entrance sign to the Mordecai neighborhood. It also addressed water quality concerns and Code violations. As Co-Chairman of the Zoning Committee, he recently received dozens of letters from neighbors voicing their concerns. With the property being in a 100-year floodplain and a small portion of the flood fringe (Mr. Mertrud provided a flood map of the area), the Mordecai feels this application would be in violation of several of the City's Code of Ordinances, including but not limited to, Section 10-4007 (addresses storage of gas or fuels); Section 10-4008(b)(4) (addresses storage of materials in floodway fringe area). 10-4008(c) (limits development of lot coverage; cannot exceed floodway fringe); and Section 10-4009 (addresses storage of any item that might be caustic in floodplain). City Code violations are not their only concerns. Mr. Mertrud respectfully requested that the Board deny the applicant's request.

Bobby Poole, 215 Baggett Avenue (sworn), submitted photographs showing that vehicles are already being stored on the subject property. He had an on-line petition signed by 152 individuals (www.petitiononline.com) but did not know if it was acceptable. Mr. Silverstein told him that Boards usually require that petitions be notarized. Mr. Poole read the petition into the record:

We strongly oppose the planned operation of a junkyard and towing service by Eileen F. Schwartz, property owner, Malcolm Huffman, Jr. and Bobby Ray Timlie, lessees, at 1524 Brookside Drive. Eileen F. Schwartz, Malcolm B. Huffman, Jr. and Bobby Ray Timlie have requested a special use permit per Code Section 10-2144 to operate a towing service and storage yard for wrecked and dismantled vehicles in the Industrial-2 zoning district at1524 Brookside Drive. A towing service and storage yard are not appropriate for our neighborhood because of the following reasons: (1) not a good business for an area that is currently in the early stages of revitalization; (2) negative impact on property values; (3) environmental concerns; (4) hours of operation with regard to the proximity of residences; and (5) traffic.

Mr. Poole said the nature of his testimony and comments relate to value and the injurious effect on property values by this business. He is currently a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker and has 30+ years experience in the real estate business. This area is currently in transition. There are a number of redevelopment activities in the vicinity of the subject property. Numerous residential renovation projects are ongoing in those areas as well. Mr. Poole suggested the City rezone this property. He is representing a client who is interested in buying this land for a quality mixed-use project, but the parties have not yet reached agreement on price. Eleven lots on Plainview Avenue would be affected by this proposal. He stated he is representing a client who is very interested buying a number of lots in this area, including the subject property, for a quality mixed-use project. He stated they have had discussions with one of the property owners present at today’s meeting; however they have not reached agreement on price. He talked about the number of residential lots that would be affected by this proposed Special Use Permit including eleven lots on Plainview Avenue. He pointed out the highest and best use of this land would be something other than a vehicle storage facility and a towing service.

Mary Britt Pernell, 3068 Corn Street in Woodcrest (sworn), stated that over the last two years Woodcrest and Belvedere Park received incredible jumps in property value. The average square foot price at the end of 2004 was a little less than $120 per square foot, and at this time is valued at about $145 per square foot. Several renovation projects are going on at this time, and she and her neighbors would like to see mature trees and homes with character retained. Belvedere Park was built in the 1940s and Woodcrest in the late 1950s. The Hideaway BBQ is opening next weekend, which is the neighborhood's first restaurant within walking distance. Several lots on Plainview Avenue back up to this property, and she said no real estate agent would say it would be advantageous to be backed up to this type of property. Ms. Pernell asked the Board to please support their neighborhood that is in transition by denying this request.

George Fisher, 2720 Bedford Avenue (sworn), said he is the property owner across the street from the subject property and really did not have a lot to add to what has already been said. At the last hearing, he and Dewey Rowland represented the neighborhood at the time. They both thought the item was tabled to a later date and they would be notified. Neither were notified, and he is not sure what happened or how the permit application was approved. They would have been back had they known when it came back before the Board. Chairman Haywood explained how the previous case was handled. Mr. Fisher said he echoes what the other speakers said. He added that he wants the neighborhood to grow in a positive manner.

Mr. Silverstein asked Mr. Fisher several questions, and his responses are as follows. Mr. Fisher said he made some improvements several years ago when he redid the store. There is a Shell convenience store on the property now and a store for lease (it used to be antique store), and three acres beside the property. He leases the store to the oil company. Mr. Fisher said he visits his property quite often, at least on a weekly basis. He has noticed cars being stored on the subject property, but he does not remember many or how long they have been stored.

Tom Fisher, Fisher’s Bakery and Sandwich, 1519 Brookside Drive (sworn), said he echoes the concerns that have been expressed. Additionally, he is in the food manufacturing business and a junk yard would be an adverse situation to his type of business. Rodents and other animals would inhabit the abandoned vehicles. He already spends several hundred dollars a month trying to maintain that situation. Regarding the 8-foot fence, he said as you come down Old Wake Forest Road, there is already a chain link fence there which is approximately eight feet high. You can see the illegal vehicles there over the fence, so he does not think an 8-foot fence would block that view.

Mr. Silverstein asked Tom Fisher if he knew how long have vehicles have been stored on the subject property. Mr. Fisher said he does not know the exact date, but it has been at least a month.

Chairman Haywood took into evidence the notarized letter from Shane Trahan from the 2005 case, the notarized letter from Lynette Pitt, a GIS map of 1524 Brookside Drive, and a series of aerial photos of the subject property and the affected surrounding properties.
 
Rebuttal
 
Mr. Huffman said the vehicles that are parked there now are on the side of the property for the paint and body shop, and do not belong to him. One vehicle that sits there part-time is his, and he drives it occasionally. When cleaning the property, he removed mounds of debris from the previous truck rental facility and current body shop, including old tires, vehicle parts, etc. Mr. Huffman pointed out on the submitted photos the cars that belong to Econo Paint. He said the chain link fence is actually six feet high, and an 8-foot fence would hide the vehicles. He stated this would not be a junk yard; it would be a place to store vehicles towed and impounded by Police Department. The property is zoned Industrial-2. He has spent a lot of money on the property, and has followed legal channels to obtain permits.

Chairman Haywood asked Mr. Huffman if he had any evidence to address the evidence from the other speakers that the appearance and operation of this facility would not be injurious to property or a hindrance to improvements in the neighborhood. Mr. Huffman said he hauled 500 tons of gravel to the facility, removed garbage, old car parts, tires, etc. During the last rain his lot was not flooded. The vehicles will only be there until the insurance company picks them up. There will probably not be more than 50 vehicles on the property at any one time. The DMV paperwork will be processed to dispose of the towed/abandoned vehicles, and he can only go as fast as that process allows. Mr. Huffman said the City Code does not limit him to a specific number of vehicles at the facility.

Mr. Huffman also stated the facility will only be open to the public from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. However, he can tow vehicles to the lot 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no structure on the property now, but he will have to place a small office there. He said it would not be a building, but more like a GE space module. The lot will be gravel.
 
Findings of Fact
 
1. Applicant seeks a special use permit pursuant to Raleigh City Code Section 10-2144 to operate a towing service and storage yard for wrecked and dismantled vehicles.
2. The Board has considered Applicant's verified application and the evidence and testimony adduced at the hearing.
3. This property is zoned Industrial-2, which allows an outdoor storage yard for unlicensed, uninspected, wrecked, crushed, dismantled, or partially dismantled vehicles by special use permit. In September, 2005, a special use permit was granted to applicant under a different business name for a towing service with an outdoor storage yard. However, applicant did not secure a building permit, grading permit, or certificate of occupancy within six months of the issuance of the permit, and pursuant to Board Rule of Procedure V. D.3, the special use permit expired.
4. Applicant proposes to operate the facility between the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, but applicant would also contract with the City of Raleigh for towing services, which would necessitate availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to participate in the towing rotation.
5. The wrecked vehicles would remain on the premises until they are picked up by an insurance company, or deemed abandoned pursuant to statutory procedures.
6. There are several residential subdivisions in the early stages of revitalization in the vicinity of the proposed storage yard.
7. The subject property is in a one hundred year flood plain, and there are several creeks nearby.
8. There is the potential for hazardous substances to leach from the wrecked vehicles stored on the premises into nearby waterways.
9. The storage yard would have an adverse impact on traffic conditions in the area. Eleven accidents occurred between November, 2005, and October, 2006, at the intersection of Brookside Drive, Automotive Way and Old Wake Forest Road, which provides access to the proposed storage yard.
10. The 8' fence proposed by applicant would be insufficient to prevent a storage yard for wrecked and dismantled vehicles from adversely impacting the value and use of properties in the immediate vicinity.
11. Pursuant to Raleigh City Code Section 10-2141(b), the Board has considered the following relevant factors:
(a) The character and use of buildings and structures adjoining or in the vicinity of the property mentioned in the application.
(b) The number of persons residing, studying, working in or otherwise occupying buildings adjoining or in the vicinity of the property mentioned in the application.
(c) Traffic conditions in the area and accessibility of the building for fire and police protection.
(d) Materials of combustible, hazardous, explosive, inflammable nature to be sold, stored, or kept on the premises.
(e) The public records and other competent testimony concerning the location of the zoning district boundary lines.
(f) The relation of the proposed application to conditions in the vicinity which have changed since the zoning district was originally determined.
12. Based on the application, including the plat plan, and the testimony at the hearing, Applicant does not meet the requirements of Raleigh City Code Section 10-2144, in that the impact of the storage yard, including its hours of operation and appearance will be injurious to property or improvements in the affected area.
           
Conclusions of Law
 
1. Applicant has failed to meet the requirements of Raleigh City Code Section 10-2144, and Applicant's request for a special use permit must therefore be denied.
Motion
 
Vice Chairman Doucette made a motion to approve the special use permit application with the following conditions: (1) there would be an 8-foot solid fence; (2) no stacking of cars; (3) hours of operation will be 8:00 a.m.6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for the public; and (4) there will be landscaping on Brookside Drive. His motion was seconded by Ms. Smith-Morrison and received the following vote: Ayes – 2 (Doucette, Smith-Morrison); Noes – 3 (Haywood, Flynn, Van De Carr).

SPECIAL USE PERMITS APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT (Sec. 10-2144.)


http://library.municode.com/HTML/10312/level4/DIVIICOGEOR_PT10PLDE_CH2ZO_ARTIAPVASPUSPENNF.html#DIVIICOGEOR_PT10PLDE_CH2ZO_ARTIAPVASPUSPENNF_S10-2144SPUSPEAPBOAD

The section I believe they are trying to use for an adjustment:

-  Outdoor storage yard for unlicensed, uninspected, wrecked, crushed, dismantled, or partially dismantled vehicles.

Outdoor storage yard for unlicensed, uninspected, wrecked, crushed, dismantled, or partially dismantled vehicles.
To permit in Industrial-1 and Industrial-2 Districts a storage yard for unlicensed, uninspected, wrecked, crushed, dismantled or partially dismantled vehicles after the Board of Adjustment finds that the evidence presented at the hearing establishes each of thefollowing:
(1) The maximum storage pile height shall not exceed twelve (12) feet. Height shall be calculated in the same manner as set forth in§10-2076(b).
(2) The yard is operated by someone engaged in the wrecker or towing business.
(3) The storage area, except along that portion of a lot boundary adjacent to railway tracks where a loading area exists, is enclosed by aclosed fence or solid wall which shall be at least twelve (12) feet tall, unless the Board of Adjustment determines that a lesser height will not be adverse to property or improvements in the affected area. Cross reference: Fences and walls, §10-2085. Sight triangles for fences, §10-2086
(4) Off-street parking shall be provided in accordance with §10-2081
(5) The storage yard is used exclusively for vehicle storage and that no parts from stored vehicles are sold at wholesale or retail on that site.
(6) The proposed storage yard is not closer than one (1) mile (determined by straight line and not street distances) from another storage yard.
(7) The impact of the storage yard, including its size, equipment and machinery used, hours of operation, and appearance will not be injurious to property or improvements in theaffected area.

Cross reference: Reapproval for changes to a special use permit, §10-2144(c)(2). (Ord. No. 1986 837-TC-271, §§ 1, 2, TC-5-86, 9-5-96; Ord. No. 1986 799-TC-267, §§28, 29, TC-21-85, 1-1-87; Ord. No.1993-134-TC-47, §§5—7 TC-1-93, 2-2-93)
(Ord. No. 1997-137-TC-153, §102, TC-18-96, 6-17-97)

Report on Peace Street/Capital Blvd Intersection Charrette

posted May 30, 2012, 7:50 PM by Philip Bernard

Approximately 25 neighbors, Raleigh City staff, and downtown living advocates attended a charrette at the new AIA Headquarters on Peace Street on Wednesday May 23 at 6pm.
 
The purpose of the charrette was to allow attendees to envision different ways that the intersection at Peace and Capital Blvd might be designed in advance of the NCDOT's replacement of the Capital Blvd bridge over Peace street. The charrette was sponsored by Link Peace, a group of downtown living advocates who have proposed an "at grade" intersection in lieu of the bridge replacement. The group also asks that City staff and planners consider alternate methods of dealing with traffic, bike, and pedestrian modes of travel in the future.
 
After a short introduction, attendees broke into small groups to sketch out drawings of potential options for the intersection. Initially, many questions were asked about the different options that had been considered up to this point and downtown living advocates were on hand to suggest ways that the "at grade" option might be feasible. City staff were on hand to answer questions about the current favored "square loop" design of the intersection which includes replacing the bridge but closing all but one of the ramps north of the intersection. They then propose adding two new " square loops" that would be constructed on either side of capital boulevard south of the intersection that would provide access off and onto Capital Blvd to and from Peace Street.
 
Quite a few residents from the Cotton Mill condominium development expressed concern that their already challenging egress and ingress would be further compromised by the "square" loop option. City staff on hand discussed ways that the egress/ingress might be improved thru a designated right of way thru Jersey Mike's parking area from a stop light intersection on Peace St. - - a route which is already used by many Cotton Mill residents. City staff mentioned that there is still tweaking to be done on the plan to make it more user friendly.
 
The downtown living advocates on hand advocating an "at grade" intersection readily admitted that they were not traffic engineers, but they did want to encourage city staff and NCDOT engineers to consider ways of reducing the traffic on Capital Blvd
so that the amount of traffic could be reduced on Capital entering the downtown area . This reduction in traffic volume would allow the intersection at Peace and Capital to become more like a typical intersection in the dowtown area street grid and achieve the group's goal of moving downtown a little further north.
 
After sketching for over an hour, groups and indiviuals made presentations ranging from a modified square loop design to an at grade otion that would be achieved by re-directing traffic from Wade avenue across the CSX railway on to Halifax Street. One option presented  suggested that the bridge remain but there would be no access to and from Peace Street making Peace Street an uninterupted east/west corridor. Another sketched showed how Capital Blvd "should have" been designed when it was first built with parallel access roads and no bridges at all!
 
In conclusion, Ken Bowers City deputy planning director commented that whatever plan is adopted it has to be one that will be approved not only by Raleigh City Council, but by NCDOT,and the federal highway commission. He reminded everyone that City Council will be reviewing the recommendations of the Capital Blvd Corridor Study at their meeting on June 17 and encouraged anyone from the charrette to attend and make comments.
 
Most comments that I have received from Mordecai residents who could not attend the charrette favored replacing the bridge because they felt that with the volumn of cars on Capital Blvd it would be a nightmare for pedestrains and bicyclist to cross safely. At the charrette, I asked if there were any current models of bridged intersections in existence that had been replaced with "at grade" intersections? The answer was that only bridge systems which had failed and not been replaced were the current model.      

LNR/ Blount Street Commons Requests Ammendment to Master Plan

posted Apr 10, 2012, 12:23 PM by Philip Bernard

Leaders from Mordecai and Oakwood met with reps from LNR on Thursday, March 22 from 5:00 to 6:0 p.m. at the Lewis Smith House (515 N. Blount Street) in Blount Street Commons to discuss their proposed ammendment to their master plan which will go before City Council on April 3. The item which is listed as agenda item Q.3. states the following:

A hearing to consider a request from Michael Birch on behalf of LNR Blount Street, LLC and the State of North Carolina for a master plan amendment to allow an increase of 250 dwelling units and 25,000 square feet of commercial use to an approved master plan on 21.69 acres on the southern side of East Peace Street, eastern side of Wilmington Street, western side of Person Street, and the northern side of East Lane Street. The properties are zoned Office and Institution I, Office and Institution II, Residential 30, Neighborhood/Business, Historic Overlay District, Downtown Overlay District, Pedestrian/Business Overlay District, and a Planned Development Overlay District – Conditional Use (MP-1-06-North Blount Street Amendment).

In his invitation to the meeting, David Welch of LNR stated:

"As you may know, we are pursuing a density increase, 2 driveway access points and flexibility in the locations of the 50 visitor parking spaces for our Blount Street Commons project. We have met with the City  Planning Staff over the last 8 months, conducted traffic impact analysis and were in front of the Planning Commission last week. At the Planning Commission, we received a 6-1 vote in favor of the amendment. Before we meet with the City Council, we would like  to meet with you and we will walk you through our proposed changes and address any comments or concerns you may have."

After a short presentation where he explained that most of the density increase was associated with the new apartment complex, Welch opened the meeting to discussion and questions. Matthew Brown from Oakwood expressed concern about the access to the relocated houses on Person Street just south of the Murphy School and after some discussion Welch Proposed that the alley to those houses remain open for  vehicle access from their backyards.  Philip Bernard from Mordecai and Person Street Partnership noted that he planned to contact real estate agent John Butler who represents the .59 acre commercial/residential parcel on the NE corner of Person and Peace Streets  across from Krispy Kreme. Bernard said that now that Rapid Fitness and Person Street Plaza were showing movement on the North End of Person Street that he planned to discuss with Butler how to get things moving in his parcel on the South End.

At the end of the meeting, everyone seemed to be satisfied with the ammendment at proposed with the change of the alley entrance to remain open. 

Being a good steward in this community is important to our company and we want to communicate with you on an ongoing basis. While things have been slow over the last couple of years, without much to communicate, activity is picking up. There will be several “cranes” in the air in the near future at Blount Street Commons which I will also update at the meeting. Momentum is building at the Commons.

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday. Should you have any questions before the meeting, please feel free to call me.

Regards

 

Traffic Calming on Glascock Street Approved

posted Apr 8, 2012, 6:39 PM by Reid Serozi

By Philip Bernard: City Council voted unanimously to approve the minor traffic calming measures on Glascock Street.

Thanks to all of the residents who came out in support of the measures and to those who spoke passionately about life on a street where excessive speeding is a constant danger and problem. Special notice was mentioned to monitor potential cut-thru on adjacent streets Sasser, Holden, Watauga, and Lafayette. At citizen request, one of the four speed humps will be adjusted in position to accommodate a new driveway curb cut.

Thanks also to those who wrote letters to council members, sent comments, attended design meetings, and helped circulate the petitions.

Tom Fiorello with Public Works Dept. will be at next week's CAC meeting to answer any questions about this and other traffic calming initiatives in our area. Brookside Dr. South is undergoing a design process currently as a major traffic calming project.

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