Raleigh community neighboring NC State Fairgrounds fear overflow parking lot plans

Josh Chapin Image
Thursday, June 3, 2021
Community neighboring NC State fairgrounds fear parking lot plans
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An ongoing battle in a Raleigh community neighboring the popular North Carolina State Fairgrounds is pitting residents against plans to build an overflow parking lot.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's an ongoing battle in a Raleigh community neighboring the popular North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

It's pitting families in the Westover community against the North Carolina State Fair, residents are upset about plans to build an overflow parking lot. Homeowners feel there hasn't been transparency from the beginning.

There was supposed to be a meeting between neighbors and the Department of Agriculture and State Fair on Thursday night but it was canceled an hour before because "two key members had last-minute conflicts."

"I just bought the house and six months after, they started staking," said Gillian Coats. "We want to know what is going to be build up there. Are they going to have these big lights shooting up down up there? If so we want to know that."

Communication between the subdivision, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and State Fair officials started in mid-May.

They told folks that they were surveying the property as a location for an auxiliary parking lot for the fair as well as some other large-scale events.

Site plans weren't final, according to an email obtained by ABC11. Less than a week later, they were sent another letter saying work would start on the parking lot soon.

The lot would be used for emergency response and staging. Yet Gillian said the work had already started.

"It's not just the fair," she said. "It's big events like the Beyonce concert that shut us down, we couldn't get in and out of the neighborhood. When those things happen, we can't get emergency vehicles in here."

Rebecca Evans lived in the neighborhood in the late 2000s when she said there was a campground put in for RVs on the other side of Gary Street.

Like this time, she said crews came in to clear trees before they said they'd start working.

"I found it galling after everything we went through that they didn't bother to let us know anything," Rebecca said. "It's all this convoluted hiding of information and saying we don't have plans, we don't know what we're going to do next."

According to the letter sent to residents by NC State Fair Manager Kent Yelverton, improvements include grading work and a stone parking lot.

Access to the property will be a new driveway from Highway 54 and via an extension to the current driveway from Youth Center Drive.

No permanent lighting or other facilities are planned for the property.