Local News

Rezoning Battle Could Affect Raleigh Neighborhoods

Posted September 17, 2007 6:16 p.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2007 5:17 a.m. EDT

— In one of the city's largest rezoning requests in recent memory, a community group wants to limit what types of homes people are allowed to build in two neighborhoods north of downtown.

An organization known as Community Scale wants to rezone 141 lots – nearly 66 acres – in the Fallon Park and Anderson Heights neighborhoods from R-10 and R-6 to R-4. The move would limit efforts to subdivide lots to build additional houses by requiring larger lots and setbacks.

Larry McBennett of Community Scale said the change, which will be debated in a public hearing Tuesday, would help preserve the integrity of the neighborhoods.

"All we're asking for in scale is that, as things change, the neighborhoods be taken into consideration – that the end result be a win-win for everybody," McBennett said. "We're not talking about changing the status quo, but confirming it."

A city report released Friday showed that almost 600 homes had been torn down in neighborhoods inside the Interstate 440 Beltline and replaced by houses that were usually much larger.

McBennett and others backing the rezoning said the change would limit additions and tear-down replacements that encroach on neighboring yards. It also would reflect a comprehensive approach for the Fallon Park and Anderson heights neighborhoods, parts of which were rezoned R-4 about 20 years ago.

"We object to nitpicking a neighborhood – taking one house here, one house there, bit-by bit, just nibbling the neighborhood to death – so that it's no longer desirable," he said.

If the zoning were changed, 11 property owners would find their homes out of compliance with the new regulations, according to the city Planning Department. Another 30 homeowners would be denied the right to subdivide their lots, the Planning Department said.

Foster Sikes said he would like to build two small homes, including one for his mother, on a lot he owns in the neighborhood.

"I'd much prefer to put two houses that would be more in character with the neighborhood," Sikes said. "Taste is subjective. How do we legislate taste? That's what they're trying to do right now with the zoning is a step toward trying to legislate taste."