Local News

Raleigh Seeks to Limit Watershed Zoning Impact

Posted January 29, 2008 11:33 a.m. EST
Updated January 29, 2008 5:16 p.m. EST

— The city Planning Commission on Tuesday rejected a state-mandated rezoning proposal intended to protect the Neuse River from excessive runoff.

The zoning change would have limited how thousands of people in north Raleigh could develop their property, such as building additions or decks. City officials said they would prefer to rewrite the new regulations to meet minimum state standards.

The rezoning would cover a 5,000-acre area between N.C. Highway 98 and Durant Road on the north and south and between Falls of Neuse Road and Capital Boulevard on the west and east. The area includes the Wakefield Plantation, Bedford at Falls River and Falls River neighborhoods.

The regulations are aimed at protecting the Neuse River near the old Burlington Mills plant off Capital Boulevard. The state has designated the river as a water supply and wants the new rules to limit stormwater runoff from rooftops and driveways to increase water-quality levels.

A privately owned water intake at the Burlington Mills site is unused, but Franklin County officials have issued plans to use it to draw water from the Neuse.

Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said meeting the minimum state standards would give property owners more flexibility to build on their lots. Most existing homeowners would be grandfathered in under the relaxed rules, he said.

"I definitely feel it's a step in the correct direction. I think what still needs to happen is that (city officials) need to go back to the state ... and try to have (the mandated regulations) completely expunged," said Billy Sutton, of Wakefield Development Co.

The City Council is expected to discuss the rewritten zoning rules next week. If the city doesn't implement stiffer regulations, the state could levy $10,000 monthly fines.