Local News

Mordecai Residents Opposed To New Construction Plan

Posted May 10, 2006 10:07 a.m. EDT

— It's a quiet area in the heart of Raleigh. But with one trip to the Mordecai neighborhood, it's hard not to notice there's a war going on.

Signs are up throughout the area saying "No R-15," referring to the city's zoning code allowing residential homes, including townhomes. Developers want to put them there in place of a vacant 1940's warehouse.

"To put some repetitive townhomes, even though they're going try to put some on the street, is going to really change the character of the neighborhood," said resident Bob Thomas.

Neighbors say the real issue will be the traffic. The 54 townhomes will be on a 4-acre lot. Problem is, there's only one way out.

"It's going to be a problem," said Thomas. "We're going to get traffic jams and bottlenecks."

Developers with York Ventures said they've performed a traffic count in a similar neighborhood and didn't see a problem.

"A car would leave this site every 2.4 minutes during the morning peak, which quite frankly is not that much traffic," said York Ventures project director Settle Dockery.

And they also said they've addressed the issue of fitting in.

"Out on the street, we're going to have at least two duplexes that will look more in keeping," said Dockery. "They will look more like single-family homes."

Still, neighbors argue that it won't be the same. And it's an issue that's not unique to Mordecai.

"We've seen it in other neighborhoods," said Thomas. "You get an acre or two of land, and the land down here is expensive, so they're trying to get as many units down here as they can to make their money back."

The folks who live in Mordecai say they're not against development. However, they feel it's just the wrong project in the wrong place.

The Raleigh Planning Commission approved the plan on Tuesday. Now the rezoning debate goes to the City Council. They'll take up the issue at their next meeting on May 16.