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Battle of Old vs. New Brewing in Some Raleigh Neighborhoods

Posted May 18, 2007

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— In Raleigh's Five Points neighborhood, you'll find tree-lined streets that give the area a lot of charm.

Neighborhood residents, like Carol Majors, say they want it to stay that way, but say population growth is taking over and pushing out the character that defines the neighborhoods.

Majors, who has lived in the Five Points area for 30 years, is part of a group called Community Scale, which wants the city to establish building limits for developers.

As more people move to Raleigh, developers are building newer, taller and bigger dwellings in older neighborhoods.

Community Scale members say their neighborhoods are losing the charm that originally attracted buyers in the first place.

"It's not a matter of personal preference but a matter of heritage," Majors said. "Do we want to do so much rebuilding and so much redevelopment that we don't even have the charm that the people were attracted to in the first place?"

But builders say it is unrealistic to think that a family of four, for example, would want to move into a small house built decades ago. With the development, they say they are also adding value to the neighborhoods.

Raleigh City Councilman Russell Stephenson says the City Council is working to find a balance between developers and the longtime community.

One thing the Council is considering is putting limits on how high developers can build relative to the houses already on a street.

The city's zoning code essentially allows all residences to be the same size, despite the number of people living in a home. That would mean most single-family homes would be 40 feet high.

Stephenson says for some neighborhoods, a 40-foot building makes a lot of sense. But for other neighborhoods, it is out of place.

"The one that really seems to get people most concerned is when buildings get very tall they tower over their neighborhoods, they cut off their light, they cut off their views," he said.

Stephenson says this issue of residential infill is happening not just in the Five Points area but in several Raleigh neighborhoods.

Council members will discuss the ordinance at an upcoming special committee meeting.

112 Comments

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  • mvnull May 20, 2007

    I'm not sure why y'all are getting your panties in a bunch. We have here a disagreement between a citizen group (Scale) and the developers. Come on now. This is Raleigh. The developers automatically win. The City Council will just wait until they think noone is listening and announce the pre-ordained decision.

  • Frankie May 20, 2007

    Oops I am sorry, that was a joke! It does stink to be in this situation. How did you find your way to this discussion, are you a concerned neighbor?

  • jenmaris May 20, 2007

    I'm sure the smell is strong for you.

  • Frankie May 20, 2007

    PS: I smell it too.

  • Frankie May 20, 2007

    Clarification. WRAL contacted folks in the neighborhood looking for someone to talk about established-neighborhood issues with them while they did a story on infill issues and possible solutions. I agreed to show them my concerns. I have been famous ever since ;-).

  • jenmaris May 20, 2007

    I don't know you, but you are representing a group that got the news to do a story for you. Are you telling us you can't or won't give more info. about the group you represent and back up your claims? I have no personal stake in this but I do clearly know right from wrong. This stinks.

  • Frankie May 20, 2007

    If you are my neighbors, then you have names. It is not exactly in my best interest to discuss matters in public when you know me and I do not know you. So, I am outta here unless the field is level.

  • jenmaris May 20, 2007

    I think a lot of us reading all of this are interested to hear your position on property rights. I would be interested to know if you are going to continue your crusade against your neighbors.

  • Frankie May 20, 2007

    Steve, I don't have any thing to add other than what I have already said to you. Here is what I know about overlays: the planning department of the city of Raleigh has put them on hold while it revamps the Comprehensive Plan. I did not know a thing about them until I began looking into the infill issues myself. Are you asking me to stake a position pro or con on property rights?

  • yukonjohn3 May 20, 2007

    Good luck to you Good Neighbor. It really bothers me when someone moves into a place, then immediately starts saying..."we need to change this and that" Or when individuals or corps. buy a place, then change how it is zoned. And folks, if you are guilty, shame on you, dont move into somewhere and then rag on the people that have lived there a lifetime. They have devoted a lifetime to that neighborhood, opposed to your short time. Just because you might have more money, clout, or whatever, respect the folks that have lived there and made the neighborhood what it is....and what attracted YOU to move there in the first place. Again, good luck Good Neighbor.

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