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Raleigh City Council Votes To Study Bickett Place Plan

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The bickering over Bickett Place continued inside Raleigh City Council chambers Tuesday.

Breaking tradition, the City Council set aside the Raleigh Planning Commission's recommendation of approval for the project and voted 6-1 to further study the project; Mayor Charles Meeker voted against doing so.

Residents of the Roanoke Park section of Five Points area said that the plans for the Bickett Place project, which would add six townhouse buildings to 2.1 acres of land along Whitaker Mill Road, does not fit the community.

After the Raleigh Planning Commission gave the project a thumbs up earlier this month, residents used a section of the city code that allows neighbors to appeal to the City Council.

The Five Points neighborhood has let its feelings show in signs staked in yards and on front doors. Neighbors also showed the City Council just how determined they are to stop the project -- a plan that developers, neighbors, and the city planning commission have bickered over for months.

"Which I would submit to you worked. It created a project that is a good project. It created a project proposed by the developer that meets the criteria," said Lacy Reeves, who represented the developer.

Those opposed to the project flashed placards spelling out their concerns about the buildings that would house 21 townhouses as tall as 40 feet.

Residents used apples to represent existing homes and a cantaloupe as Bickett Place townhouses, to show the council how the project would tower over the Five Points homes, some of which were built 70 years ago.

"In spite of the neighborhood's continuing opposition to the Bickett Place project, there is an ongoing commitment from our group to work toward the development of a well-designed project on the site," said Kim Peacock, who opposes the development.

The planning commission spent seven months on the Bickett Place project. Tuesday's vote could delay the plan at least another month in the search for a final solution.