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Raleigh Seeks to Limit Watershed Zoning Impact

Posted January 29, 2008

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— The city Planning Commission on Tuesday rejected a state-mandated rezoning proposal intended to protect the Neuse River from excessive runoff.

The zoning change would have limited how thousands of people in north Raleigh could develop their property, such as building additions or decks. City officials said they would prefer to rewrite the new regulations to meet minimum state standards.

The rezoning would cover a 5,000-acre area between N.C. Highway 98 and Durant Road on the north and south and between Falls of Neuse Road and Capital Boulevard on the west and east. The area includes the Wakefield Plantation, Bedford at Falls River and Falls River neighborhoods.

The regulations are aimed at protecting the Neuse River near the old Burlington Mills plant off Capital Boulevard. The state has designated the river as a water supply and wants the new rules to limit stormwater runoff from rooftops and driveways to increase water-quality levels.

A privately owned water intake at the Burlington Mills site is unused, but Franklin County officials have issued plans to use it to draw water from the Neuse.

Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said meeting the minimum state standards would give property owners more flexibility to build on their lots. Most existing homeowners would be grandfathered in under the relaxed rules, he said.

"I definitely feel it's a step in the correct direction. I think what still needs to happen is that (city officials) need to go back to the state ... and try to have (the mandated regulations) completely expunged," said Billy Sutton, of Wakefield Development Co.

The City Council is expected to discuss the rewritten zoning rules next week. If the city doesn't implement stiffer regulations, the state could levy $10,000 monthly fines.

16 Comments

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  • chargernut69 Jan 30, 2008

    a step in the right direction, but still a long way to go for planning....

  • coolwill Jan 29, 2008

    Didn’t the bond pass for the water shed? The things that are coming up parks, roads watershed was on the ballets twice at one time or the other. This is the same repeat. Please check the two book Raleigh may have.

  • SheriffTruman Jan 29, 2008

    This is not something that Raleigh can draw from. Currently water is released from Falls lake so people downstream have enough water. This intake is below the lake, so any water taken here will have to be mad eup with more releases from Falls. In fact, Raleigh would be wise to ensure Franklin county never gets access to this so they do not lose even more water each day.

    Also, this is not for developers at all, as they could just build things differently from scratch for not much more money. However, once something has been built with certain requirements, it is much harder to go further, which the actual homeowners in these areas will have to do if it passes.

  • Gatsby Jan 29, 2008

    Chalk another victory up to big developers and their lobbist who are against any thing that stands in the way of a fresh new buck...that includes fresh clean drinking water. What is best is buffers to keep homes off the river banks...what is done is the opposite. If you dont believe it paddle down the river sometime.

  • Garnerwolf1 Jan 29, 2008

    Too many people, not enough water. 3 droughts in 10 years. Yet we continue to build new developments all over Wake and the surrounding Counties. Past time to slap some pretty stringent restrictions on somebody.

  • mumof3 Jan 29, 2008

    Also, whatelseisnew - "Ah don't worry about it; I am sure Meeker is working on a new fee to defray the 10,000 monthly fine."

    Meeker wants to double the existing impact fees to developers and builders. it is currently on the table with the City Council. How do they not understand that this just translates into higher home prices??? We need to elect a stronger mayor and city council that will implement controlled growth without crippling builders, developers and homeowners. Meeker has no clue how vital the building industry is to this area. He is too busy reacting to last years problems.

  • mumof3 Jan 29, 2008

    Here is a funny story about how messed up our local government is. The city is concerned about storm water run off in this particular area. So, when trying to get a building permit in this area, we were told that we needed a TEMPORARY retaining pond to control storm water run off while the home was being built (city claimed silt fencing was not enough) . In order to put in this retaining pond, we had to cut down a gorgeous 200 year old oak tree. So, the temporary run off issue has created a bigger issue - more run off in the future, as this tree is no longer there!! If someone can tell me how this makes sense I would appreciate it. Also, We have had to fight to get building permits on lots that have been cleared for over 2 years, because all of a sudden they are considered Neuse River basin. The lots back up to a gulley that was created by the developer, to catch and control storm water runoff and it originates and terminates in the neighborhood. How does this affect the Neuse?

  • shine Jan 29, 2008

    Thanks NCcarguy... just seems like to me that they want to talk about everything BUT the problem. Over the weekend it was written that the 'ones to be' were going to discuss further conservation measures. If you don't have run off - why worry about that today - talk about that when the lakes start filling back. The powers to be have evaded the problem for so long ( at least six months now) until it has gotten to be worse than a problem.

  • Rabid_Wolf_3 Jan 29, 2008

    "rewrite the new regulations to meet minimum state standards"

    Nothing like performing to 'minimum standards' Sure to get a raise doing that . . . .

  • Riddickfield Jan 29, 2008

    So how many people does this affect? I mean the piece of land in question is occupied in large part by the Dump, Mallinckrodt, the quarry and Burlington mills. I don't think anyone wil be building houses on any of that land.

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