Local News

Wake Growth Is a Given, but Accommodating It With Services Isn't

Posted February 26, 2007

— Every day, 66 people move into Wake County. How some services will keep up with the growth is an unanswered question, but a group of community-service leaders is saying which areas are most in need of attention.

The growth is making it more and more difficult for the county to meet its residents’ needs. The group arrived at its list based on the members' understanding of the most serious challenges.

Increasing obesity; low-income housing; youth violence, including gang activity, and the need for community services in light of the closing of Dorothea Dix Hospital topped the list that emerged from a day-long meeting, said Gibbie Harris, the county's community health director.

Those areas will come under the most stress as the population grows, the leaders decided, and should get more attention over the next four years.

For three months last year, Wake leaders assessed the community and how it could meet needs in behavioral, economic, environmental and personal health and in other social-service areas. The result was a report, "Wake County: Opportunities and Challenges."

The 18 beds at county’s only domestic violence shelter, Interact, are full every night, for example. The number of beds hasn’t changed since 1989.

“There's an extreme demand. For every one woman and family we are able to house here at Interact, there's another that we are not able to bring into our shelter,” said Executive Director Adam Hartzell.

Wake County has the lowest number of domestic violence shelter beds per capita of any county in the state—about one for every 40,000 people. Mecklenburg County, for example, has about one per 26,000. Some are lower. Durham County is one per 17,000 people.

Another issue is adult obesity, which is nearly 6 percentage points higher in Wake County than the state average. The problem is growing among children, too.

The number of HIV cases is on the rise, and the imminent closing of Dix puts Wake County in the middle of mental health reform.

“As we have more people in the community, we have to think about ways we can deliver services differently to make sure that all their needs are met,” said Harris.

For victims of domestic violence, help is on the way. Interact bought the YWCA on Oberlin Road, allowing it to expand to 45 beds, but the leaders say that many issues may be harder to solve.

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  • El Doggo Feb 27, 2007

    Impact fee will not appreciably affect new house purchases. The influx of outsiders from inflated housing markes is what is driving the 1+M$ houses in the area. The only other thing driving house buying is the silly school system. People have to move to keep up with the school they want to attend...

    But seriously, the leading factor in the housing inflation we have seen is the influx of folks selling their $800K, 900 sqare foot bungalo and finding a market of far less than $800K, 3000+ sq ft houses.

  • Wake1 Feb 27, 2007

    I agree with El Doggo - Impact fees-regardless of who you say pays them-go to the government. If small fees or no fees are paid - nothing collected to pay for the new schools, police, etc. As for first time homebuyers - there are many, many existing affordable homes in Raleigh - the new homes being built are typically over $280,000 up to $500,000. Not typically the home of a first time homebuyer. Yes, higher impact fees will get passed along as do all fees for all products to a certain point. A higher impact fee will serve to control the growth of new homes.

  • El Doggo Feb 27, 2007

    Renters pay property tax thru their rent to the landlord, just like new home buyers pay impact fees thru the builders... It should all be paid!

  • El Doggo Feb 27, 2007

    I don't give a %@@#& who pays the impact fees! IT NEEDS TO BE PAID!!!! This rediculous argument that developers don't pay impact fees is STUPID!!!! I don't care who pays it - IT NEEDS TO BE PAID!!!!!!

  • El Doggo Feb 27, 2007

    We have the harmful growth BECAUSE it is the greedy running the system now!!!

  • My2Cats Feb 27, 2007

    My family owns rental property and I can assure you that the property taxes are paid. Just because renters don't own their land doesn't mean that they are living on tax free land.

  • myview Feb 27, 2007

    One problem in the funding is not being addressed. A large portion of the increase in the new student numbers come from the minority side, especially from the Hispanic population. Not that I'm against this, but the majority of that population here RENT, and therefore do not pay property taxes to contribute to the school budget. If you want to have impact fees, make the renters who don't pay property taxes and have children in the WCPSS pay an impact fee to help pay their part.

  • myview Feb 27, 2007

    OK, let's get this straight once and for all. Developers don't pay the impact fees - new home buyers do. All costs associated with the construction of a new subdivision is included in the cost of the lot when purchased by the new homeowner. Period. All the costs of the streets, utilities, those fancy front entrances . . . everything, including impact fees, are broken down by the number of lots and included in the price of each lot. All impact fees do is drive up the costs to a new home buyer, making it more difficult for first-home buyers to get in a home, and more difficult for people to 'move-up'. Trust me, I have worked with developers, and I know.

  • Wake1 Feb 27, 2007

    Growth isn't always this most "wonderful" thing it appears to be. Why does everyone want to encourage such growth? Look at the problems it creates when done quickly at the whim of greed & not planned out responsibly.

  • El Doggo Feb 27, 2007

    You've got that RIGHT!

    !!!!!!!!!!IMPACT FEES!!!!!!!!!