Raleigh Neighborhoods Band Together To Fight Development Project
Posted January 8, 2001
RALEIGH — A development project consisting of shops, offices and condominiums near Raleigh's Cameron Village is being met with organized neighborhood resistance.
Developer Neal Coker knows he has a tough sell. He stands face to face with critical citizen's groups from Wade Avenue, Five Points and Hillsborough Street who packed into the Wilson Temple Methodist Church.
Coker plans to turn 15 acres behind the Manpower building at Oberlin Road and Wade Avenue into retail shops, offices, condos and a luxury hotel.
"We think it can be one of the centerpieces of the city," he says.
However, the people who already call the Inner Beltline home worry about the density of the project, and most of all, the traffic.
"Once a project like this is built, it will open up for other larger types of projects that will completely destroy the Oberlin village," says Oberlin Road resident Margaret Hunt.
"The traffic on Oberlin would be terrible, and right now, Wade Avenue is just like I-40," says Oberlin Road resident Mary Francis Hester.
"You put 13,000 to 16,000 cars on Wade Avenue, and you've already said there's going to be expansion of Oberlin Road," says Irwin Rovner, who lives in the Five Point neighborhood.
Even with Coker's concessions to eliminate a planned 16 screen-movie theater and a retirement home, the plan received a cool reception. Coker says change is coming one way or another.
"We're not talking about whether this site is going to be developed because it's going to be developed," Coker says.
The plan requires city council approval for a zoning change.
Members of the citizen's advisory groups voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ask the city council to deny rezoning for the project. The council holds its first public hearing on the matter next Tuesday.