Local News

Wake Leaders Debate Measures to Curb Growth

Posted May 8, 2007 10:43 p.m. EDT
Updated May 8, 2007 11:51 p.m. EDT

— Wake County leaders are looking for ways to correct the classroom crisis. One suggestion has been to cap the number of people who move into the county, but not everyone agrees that's the solution.

The Raleigh Chamber of Commerce says Wake County is growing by nearly 100 people a day, and the school system expects 8,000 more students in the fall. The school board feels stuck in the middle, so some members are ready to take charge.

“We're facing a crisis of school capacity,” said board member Beverley Clark.

Clark wants to control growth and cited Franklin County, which charges developers to build if schools are overcrowded. The school board will take Clark's resolution and discuss it in committee. Some board members like the idea of taking the initiative, but are cautious in how to proceed.

“One person put it like this: If the roads were overcrowded, we don't try to ban car dealers from selling cars,” said Wake school board member Lori Millberg.

Officials with the Homebuilders Association of Raleigh-Wake County said they’re anxious about an effort to put limits on growth.

“What you don't want to happen is government getting into the marketplace,” said group spokesman Tim Minton. “When you put a sign up and say, ‘We don't want you here,’ businesses see that and go other places.”

Across town Tuesday night, there was another meeting with the same tone. A group called "Wake Up Wake County" sponsored a forum at the Cameron Village Regional Library to discuss growth issues.

State lawmakers are considering several bills that would increase revenue to fund infrastructure. Some would allow voters to decide if their counties should have impact fees, higher sales taxes or fees for selling a home.

"A lot of people want to move here," Minton said. "It's an exciting time. Now we have to decide where to go from here."

Wake County isn't the only place feeling the crunch. Chatham County is struggling with the issue of taxing the sale of homes, and the Chapel Hill Town Council is considering a temporary halt on development on the north end of town.