Local News

What Does Future Hold For Raleigh?

Posted October 25, 2007
Updated October 26, 2007

— Raleigh leaders launched an 18-month study Thursday to predict and manage growth in the capital city.

With its emphasis on technology and education, Raleigh is being looked at as one of the emerging cities of the 21st century, city officials point out. The city's Comprehensive Plan has not been updated since 1989, however, and Raleigh needs some long-range planning to stay competitive, officials also said.

Mayor Charles Meeker said Raleigh faces a different set of challenges than when the blueprint for city planners was first put together

"Actually, the major concern about the plan then was, was it so restrictive that it would stifle growth? And of course, the exact opposite has happened. We had faster growth," said Meeker, who was a councilman when the 1989 Comprehensive Plan was formed.

Since then, Raleigh's population has grown by 72 percent to 368,000, and those numbers are taxing the city's dwindling water supply and putting a strain on the school system.

The new Comprehensive Plan must anticipate growth of that magnitude, as well as learn from the expansion of the past 20 years, said Mitchell Silver, Raleigh's planning director. The plan will look out to 2030, when officials estimate Raleigh's population might top 700,000.

"We're going to have to go up more, with taller buildings, instead of going out as much. Secondly, we really have to strengthen our transportation system so that not everyone is in a car," Meeker said.

Silver said one of his goals is to get other areas in Wake County – including Cary and Knightdale – to buy into the comprehensive plan. There are only 20,000 acres left within the city that can be developed. Another 20,000 acres lie within Wake County.

The Comprehensive Plan guides the city's decision-making on zoning and about physical and economic development. Planners have identified a preliminary set of key issues: greater predictability in the development process, investing to keep Raleigh competitive, environmental sustainability and building public streets, spaces and places.

The public is invited to attend a series of citywide workshops as the city defines the goals of the Comprehensive Plan. Workshops will be held at:

  • Nov. 13, 6:30 - 9 p.m. in the Central District Shepherd's Hall, The Church of the Good Shepherd, 125 Hillsborough St.
  • Nov. 14, 6:30 - 9 p.m. in the Southwest District McKimmon Conference and Training Center, NCSU, 1101 Gorman St.
  • Nov. 15, 6:30 - 9 p.m. in the Northeast District North Raleigh Church of Christ, 8701 Falls of Neuse Road

The Comprehensive Plan will be developed in four stages, with the goal of publishing a draft in October 2008 and presenting a final plan to the City Council in April or May 2009. Public input will be sought at all stages, officials said.

History shows that city planners got some things right in 1989, such as the city's greenways and parks system. However, a glaring mistake was closing Fayetteville Street and making it into a mall. The strip was reopened as a street in 2006.

"Malls were demanding more of a commercial interest in the city. Folks thought, 'If we make Fayetteville Street into a mall, maybe that will bring people back.' It didn't," John Sutton, with the Raleigh City Museum, said.

Much of the task facing the city is to learn lessons from its past planning efforts, Silver said.

"(For) my job, I have to have hindsight, insight and foresight. You make the best decision based on what you know," he said.


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  • Luddite Oct 26, 2007

    The whole point is that the city is serious about considering what is best for our city. The fact that this conversation would boil down to partisan politics and racism is just sad. They are working hard to do what is right and make our city continue to be a great place. To do this, there has to be thoughtful analysis and legislation that restricts developers to practices that benefit all of us rather than just their pocketbooks.

  • Bronx_Boricua Oct 26, 2007

    Everywhere is going to grow. That is life. People relocate. Everyone has children(where they adopt them or not). It's life. When I first came here there was trees and alot of open space but through the years that went away...It's raleigh the capital city.

  • none ya biz Oct 26, 2007

    i was just saying, you talk like developers want to build for the good of the community....completely wrong, they want to build because they make lots and lots of money off of it...that was my point.

  • none ya biz Oct 26, 2007

    i am retarded

  • Bronx_Boricua Oct 26, 2007

    It does not only have to do with illegals in this area...It has to do with a dream that alot of people are coming down here to for a better quality of life. When we first came down to NC in the 80's we caught alot of hell. Not only were we YANKS...we were MEXICANS too. Well just because u are not american does not mean u r mexican. We have seen this nice city go down the tubes because of all different types of people coming here by way of the north south east and west. I noticed that yes some are bad and some are good but the well being of this city should be the best in everyones mind.

  • rand321 Oct 26, 2007

    I am at a loss as to how Raleigh can plan with out the active participation of the county and surround counties in the Triangle. The traffic, air, water are all of our problems and we need to work on broader regional solutions for planning.

    Raleigh has some issues to contend with, but those are directly impacted by the surrounding region. Failure to incorporate the borader area, will create a patchwork mess and not nearly enough resources to satisfy every one.

  • ncwebguy Oct 26, 2007

    If a 1989 Raleigh resident had a time machine and arrived today, they would be lost. Home of the Stanley Cup champions? What happened to the Hardees at Crabtree Valley Mall? What happened to the roof at North Hills? What is a Target store? What happened to Capitol Blvd? Why does anyone go near the Pine State creamery on Glenwood after 5? Raleigh used to end at Millbrook (except Angus Barn) and now there is Brier Creek, Triangle Town Center and Wakefield.

    While some people think about how easy it is urinate on their neighbor's house, other people are talking with their neighbors about how lucky we are to live here. No more trees? The greenway system isn't called the brownway system for a reason.

    Today's traffic and school problems are due to Republican leadership in city council through the 90s. Tom Fetzer and Paul Coble kept taxes low by not authorizing the roads, schools, and water supply necessary to support the growth they approved while developers paid no impact fees

  • flashlight Oct 26, 2007

    What a useful "tidbit" of information. Shut my mouth. I don't see it as a liberal v. conservative issue. If you are, in fact, such a good smart conservative, then you should clearly see that you were homeless not because an illegal immigrant was taking your job, but because you weren't working hard enough. Maybe you ought to take your problem up with the people who hire illegal immigrants instead of those who actually do the jobs.

  • Adelinthe Oct 26, 2007

    Lived in KCMO for 4 years; in JAXFL for 2, in ATL for 12 and in RAL for 25. A town is a town, is a town. They're all about the same (except the shopping is better at Country Club Plaza in KC).

    Wouldn't live in Cary for anything. Too many houses too close together. (One person eats a chili dog and his neighbor gets the heartburn.)

    Retiring back to Erie County, PA in 2 years. It's where I came from, where family and the family home is and where I want to go back to. Nothing against Raleigh.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • turnpike420 Oct 26, 2007

    Don't allow toll roads to be part of our growth plan. Help stop NC's first attempt at tolls. NO TOLLS ON 540.

    http://www.notollson540.org is the official website leading the way. Please take a few minutes and read the information provided and sign the petition, thanks.