Local News

Court Of Appeals Makes Way For Rescue Mission's Plans Near Historic Oakwood

Posted November 7, 2002 7:47 a.m. EST

— The Raleigh Rescue Mission's plan to build a dorm for the city's homeless is getting a helping hand.

The rescue mission wanted to build the home near a historic neighborhood. Three years ago, the Board of Adjustment voted against the plan.

The Court of Appeals has ruled that the zoning board did not have a right to overturn the rescue mission's original plans.

For Sam Foster of the Raleigh Rescue Mission, the 7-plus acre piece of property on the corner of Swain Street and New Bern Avenue, near Historic Oakwood, is a field of dreams.

"I can see multi-family units up on the other end. I see a 15 to 20-year plan of one day being able to have a gated community like Peace or Meredith [College], with a fence around it, welcoming those people to our doors who are less fortunate," he said.

People who live several blocks away, in Historic Oakwood, are split on the project.

"It's a sensible place to have a homeless shelter near transportation and other resources people might need," resident Susan Pollit said.

Janet Wellman has lived in Historic Oakwood for 12 years. She said the community is not against the concept of the shelter, just the construction of it.

"A homeless campus is not what it should be," Wellman said. "It should be more residential, commercial. It should fit into the existing neighborhood and have all the elements of smart growth."

Foster said it will be six months to a year before there is any movement on the property.

A source close to neighbors of Historic Oakwood said they have their own planned legal strategy that could put the mission's plans on hold.