RALEIGH, N.C. — Another debate over space is brewing in Raleigh. It involves protecting greenways from an RBC Center sign. It also involves questions over who has to follow city guidelines.
The city of Raleigh claims a sign at the State Fairgrounds and another one at the State Farmers' Market are larger than its ordinance allows, which is something that bothers Mayor Charles Meeker.
"Everyone should comply by the same rules and that includes governments," he said.
Even though the city has rejected many big signs, the RBC Center wants to put one up on Wade Avenue to assist in traffic control. Members of the city's Appearance Commission fear the sign would spoil greenspace that the city has tried to protect for 20 years.
"It's become our front door. It's the impression of Raleigh when you first come to town," said Charlie Madison, chairman of the city's Appearance Commission.
The Appearance Commission worries the RBC Center is trying to find a way around the city code by putting the sign up in a state Department of Transportation right-of-way.
"That's a dodge. If the state is complicit in that, that's really kind of troublesome," Madison said.
The state DOT said it is not ready to sign off on a request by the RBC Center, but an attorney for the arena said he will work to get permission from the federal government, which helped pay for the right-of-way.
The attorney insists the RBC Center is not trying to go around Raleigh. The city council is going to discuss the issue in a few weeks.