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Rezoning Battle Could Affect Raleigh Neighborhoods

Posted September 17, 2007
Updated September 18, 2007

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— In one of the city's largest rezoning requests in recent memory, a community group wants to limit what types of homes people are allowed to build in two neighborhoods north of downtown.

An organization known as Community Scale wants to rezone 141 lots – nearly 66 acres – in the Fallon Park and Anderson Heights neighborhoods from R-10 and R-6 to R-4. The move would limit efforts to subdivide lots to build additional houses by requiring larger lots and setbacks.

Larry McBennett of Community Scale said the change, which will be debated in a public hearing Tuesday, would help preserve the integrity of the neighborhoods.

"All we're asking for in scale is that, as things change, the neighborhoods be taken into consideration – that the end result be a win-win for everybody," McBennett said. "We're not talking about changing the status quo, but confirming it."

A city report released Friday showed that almost 600 homes had been torn down in neighborhoods inside the Interstate 440 Beltline and replaced by houses that were usually much larger.

McBennett and others backing the rezoning said the change would limit additions and tear-down replacements that encroach on neighboring yards. It also would reflect a comprehensive approach for the Fallon Park and Anderson heights neighborhoods, parts of which were rezoned R-4 about 20 years ago.

"We object to nitpicking a neighborhood – taking one house here, one house there, bit-by bit, just nibbling the neighborhood to death – so that it's no longer desirable," he said.

If the zoning were changed, 11 property owners would find their homes out of compliance with the new regulations, according to the city Planning Department. Another 30 homeowners would be denied the right to subdivide their lots, the Planning Department said.

Foster Sikes said he would like to build two small homes, including one for his mother, on a lot he owns in the neighborhood.

"I'd much prefer to put two houses that would be more in character with the neighborhood," Sikes said. "Taste is subjective. How do we legislate taste? That's what they're trying to do right now with the zoning is a step toward trying to legislate taste."


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  • Foster W Sikes Sep 18, 2007

    fyi: the houses you refer to were approved by scale group members in attendance at the CAC meeting. 16-0, they supported the developer,, the people fighting this group are homeowners NOT developers.

  • Foster W Sikes Sep 18, 2007


    I petitioned to have my original zoning reinstated for two houses .22 acre lots with a max. of 2990 sq ft and offstreet parking, 28 ft high etc... and the Scale members said this would ruin the area. Please don't lecture me on big,, that is subjective as you say and shouldn't be legislated unless you can prove a devaluation in your property.

    Again take emotion out of it and look what is best for the whole as a city instead of what is best for your taste.

  • Fandemonium Sep 18, 2007

    "These houses aren't that big."

    I guess it depends on what your definition of "big" is. If you're plopping a 4500 sq. ft. house on a .10 of an acre where before sat a 1500 sq. ft. bungalow, I'd consider that 3x is "big." It is funny that 4500 sq. ft. houses have a parking pad for ONE car. Smarts!

  • Foster W Sikes Sep 18, 2007

    These houses aren't that big. Some are built tall because they are in a flood plain. Some houses are close to the streets because they are on a hill, while others across the street are set further back because they are on the top of a hill.

    When you put more restrictive limits on homeowners you are hurting people not builders. Homeowners can't afford to fight city hall builders can. This REZONING is a small group with a napoleon complex. They won't debate me, nor engage others with any sort of compromise. They spin they want a win-win situation when they don't even speak with people who have a differing opinion.

    I would love to have a public debate with SCALE. Any takers?

  • pleshy Sep 18, 2007

    not due to a bubble, but due to accrued interest they must pay out of the proceed of the sale. A housing bubble is where the houses are appraised for more than the market will withstand, but demand will support it, then demand dries up and the sales stop, thus driving down prices. This has not, seemingly, occurred to anything in the Five points ITB area, as shown by sales data. Even where OTB sales have slowed, ITB still hums along. Why? Because people who can afford the prices can generally afford them in most any kind of market. Therefore, they are going to buy what they want and what they want is to be close to downtown where they work without having to get on the beltline.

  • Brick Tamland Sep 18, 2007

    Use some common sense. It's not hard to put 2 and 2 together to see what is happening here. The overcrowded schools and roads, the booms of places outside Raleigh like Wake Forest and Apex, the McMansions going up and not seeing any houses starting below $250K...it's all connected. And it's because of the transplants.

  • pleshy Sep 18, 2007

    Jeff - you are confusing two, possibly three issues that are only related by subject matter - real estate. People who qualify for and can make payments on a house, regardless of your inappropriate description and concommitant hatred therefor, are not the smae folks suffering through the 1) subprime failure or 2) the price bubble (assuming there is such a thing in Raleigh. ITB lots are moving as fast as they are put on the market, averaging I think 2 months or less between list and sale. Generally, if these houses are in foreclosure it is because a person bought more house than they could afford and did it through "creative financing". Sometimes being creative works. Sometimes not. Some of these people are victims of subprime lenders forcing interest only or other back loaded or balloon instruments on people. Once the true interest rate hit and they realized that lending procedures had changed, these folks cannot get the same house for the money and now owe too much

  • jenmaris Sep 18, 2007

    I live in an area where eight of the tear downs are owned by people who have lived in this area for years. Five of the eight are tear downs by the owners of the old house. The notion that ONLY Northerners are buying here is silly. We are personally surrounded by new large homes and we welcome the change. Prior to this upswing, we had neglected homes that were beyond saving and rentals. I sure didn't complain about that either...and I didn't run around my neighborhood trying to force change on them. Urban sprawl also happens when people are forced to leave their "in town" neighborhood to build a larger home that matches their growing family.

  • Brick Tamland Sep 18, 2007

    "Contrary to most of your rantings, the majority of the people who bought "McMansions" (quite a derogatory word) were people who have lived in this area for many years or demolished their own homes and built ones they could live in for many years to come. "

    I seriously doubt that when these homes start at $250K and the median household income in Raleigh is less than $60K. The numbers don't add up. People from up north are selling their overpriced homes up there and buy overpriced homes here, but not quite as overpriced as what they sold their old home for. Everyone else is being moved further and further out from where they work to afford a house. That is why places like Wake Forest, Holly Springs and such have grown so much the last five years. It's all connected, and it's the reality of what is happening. It has done nothing but create more urban sprawl, crowded roads and crowded schools. And the local government was stupid in not trying to slow the development earlier.

  • Fandemonium Sep 18, 2007

    "Also, the only people I ever hear use the term "McMansion" are people who can't afford them..."

    If that's your opinion, then so be it. If you look at the recent economic data of the past quarter, note the hemorrhaging of the real estate market. The game is now over. Continuing to believe that the Triangle is immune to the REST OF THE COUNTRIES' bubble is ignorant. The pro-development voices are only trying to deceive buyers in order to ca$$$h out. Remember, someone's going to be left holding the bag. Will it be you?