Local News

Raleigh Mayor Wants State Law Reversed

Posted April 18, 2008 6:52 p.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2008 9:40 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh's mayor wants state lawmakers to reverse a recent law that eliminates the city's right to zone state-owned property within a six-block radius of the State Capitol.

The law was created and passed following a dispute over the city's wanting to build a parking deck near McDowell and Jones streets for shopping and retail purposes.

"I should have read the bill more carefully. I should have understood the implications of it, and I did not," said Sen. Janet Cowell, D-Wake, who authored Senate Bill 1313.

"There was no discussion at all, and there was really no debate. I think that there should have been discussion between the state and local governments, and the state overreacted and just put out a bill that is not acceptable," she said.

The city is hoping to have the bill reversed during the short session, which reconvenes in May.

"There was no reason for the city not to be consulted," Meeker said. "A number of members of the General Assembly – I've been to their fundraisers, functions. Yet, none of them had time to call me? I was extremely disappointed."

Meeker says the city will now pay a lobbyist thousands of dollars to watch out for Raleigh's interests.

Cowell said she thinks that is a good idea.

"When you have the Wake County delegation, you're dealing with 13 individuals," she said. "Even the best of intentions – if you don't have that two-way help to help you funnel bills through, they can easily get snagged up, even when the whole delegation is trying to work together."

Cowell said she is receptive to a repeal of the bill and plans to work with the city and state over future disputes.