Local News

Wake Leaders Debate Measures to Curb Growth

Posted May 8, 2007

— Wake County leaders are looking for ways to correct the classroom crisis. One suggestion has been to cap the number of people who move into the county, but not everyone agrees that's the solution.

The Raleigh Chamber of Commerce says Wake County is growing by nearly 100 people a day, and the school system expects 8,000 more students in the fall. The school board feels stuck in the middle, so some members are ready to take charge.

“We're facing a crisis of school capacity,” said board member Beverley Clark.

Clark wants to control growth and cited Franklin County, which charges developers to build if schools are overcrowded. The school board will take Clark's resolution and discuss it in committee. Some board members like the idea of taking the initiative, but are cautious in how to proceed.

“One person put it like this: If the roads were overcrowded, we don't try to ban car dealers from selling cars,” said Wake school board member Lori Millberg.

Officials with the Homebuilders Association of Raleigh-Wake County said they’re anxious about an effort to put limits on growth.

“What you don't want to happen is government getting into the marketplace,” said group spokesman Tim Minton. “When you put a sign up and say, ‘We don't want you here,’ businesses see that and go other places.”

Across town Tuesday night, there was another meeting with the same tone. A group called "Wake Up Wake County" sponsored a forum at the Cameron Village Regional Library to discuss growth issues.

State lawmakers are considering several bills that would increase revenue to fund infrastructure. Some would allow voters to decide if their counties should have impact fees, higher sales taxes or fees for selling a home.

"A lot of people want to move here," Minton said. "It's an exciting time. Now we have to decide where to go from here."

Wake County isn't the only place feeling the crunch. Chatham County is struggling with the issue of taxing the sale of homes, and the Chapel Hill Town Council is considering a temporary halt on development on the north end of town.


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  • salut2daking May 10, 2007

    I think Dix property would best be served if it had a string of clubs. Raleigh does not need any more parks. Bunches of party lights and outside tables.

  • ncguy May 10, 2007

    Yes, I think the county should charge the Toll Brothers and Pulte etc... If they did that right now anyone who owned a home the value would go up. If you bought new -wow! don't want to think about it... Glad I all ready have mine...

  • Steve Crisp May 10, 2007

    So let's address the issue of Central Park in New York City with respect to the Dix property. I think everyone would agree that what makes Central Park fabulous is its proximity to residential areas. CP would make no sense in the Battery. Second, CP is in the CENTER of the city. Now, a lot of folks want to turn the Dix property into a CP. But that is inane because it is not in the center. Umstead Park, however, is in the center of the Triangle. See, ignoring that the Triangle will eventually expand to include all of Wake, Orange, and Durham counties is shortsighted. And guess what's smack dab in the middle of that area? Eventually, perhaps 100 years from now, Umstead will become a provincial park and Falls Lake will be the new Triangle Central Park, but dedicating Dix for that purpose is a waste of time.

  • lollly52 May 9, 2007

    Hi E-diva – very nice and succinct; however; none of those positive variables are present in Wake. I do not know much about the history of Seattle, WA. Do you know how/what tipped the scale toward their growth policies? Was it natural land boundaries, or did the people wake up and take control? Do you know of any areas with Wake’s natural topographical characteristics that acted BEFORE sprawl choked growth?

  • E-Diva May 9, 2007

    I usually do not see any of these in Wake County. BUT, it does look like leaders are starting to think about these things....downtown redevelopment, light rail system, mixed use development starting to become the norm... It definitely needs A LOT of work, but at least people are redirecting their thinking.

  • E-Diva May 9, 2007

    To inhibit sprawl:
    1. Build up, not out.
    2. Make sure all land is being used for its "highest and best use." That usually means mixed use development
    3. Develop (good) mass public transit.
    4. Keep jobs in core places and have residential areas in those places. While RTP was great for growth, it was horrible for the environment. We have people from Hillsborough to Wendell working there...and driving 45 min each way every day to get there.

  • lollly52 May 9, 2007

    Hi E-diva – Just curious. Teach me something. What parameters inhibit sprawl? Which of those factors do you currently see in Wake County? Thanks

  • E-Diva May 9, 2007

    We DO have plenty of open space. We already have a ton of parks not many people use. Like I said, I don't think we should turn Dix into a park, nor should we develop it. We should wait, study, plan carefully, and make the BEST use of it....and I'm sure a park is not best use. It is too close to downtown for a park to be the best use. Not developing it is just another factor in the worsening problem of urban sprawl.

  • lollly52 May 9, 2007

    Wake Co. - High paying jobs; low cost mansions; just a tiny little problem with the public schools; maybe a some congestion on the roads; taxes are not as high as what you are used to up North; but BYOBW - bring your own bottled water.

  • 581C May 9, 2007

    "This is NC...we have planty of natural space."

    This is exactly the lack of foresight that worries me. I am sure at one point in in NY's history someone said, "This is NY...we have plenty of natural space".