Raleigh's growing pains causing rezoning concerns

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- With Raleigh booming, real estate is in high demand. In one neighborhood just outside of downtown, a local developer is trying to make his vision a reality.

But, it means rezoning land around a long-standing neighborhood and people living nearby fear it will set a precedent for what's to come all over town.

Michael Mann has lived in the Mordecai neighborhood outside downtown since 1952. He's glad a developer wants to tear down apartments on his street and build new houses.

"Upgrading is upgrading no matter which way you go," Mann said. "And [the neighborhood] needs it really bad. And the sooner that you do it, the better it will be."

Not everyone feels that way, though.

The developer needs the city to rezone the two-acre property for 17 single-family homes and two townhouses, inspired by a neighborhood near Dorthea Dix. That means smaller lot sizes and houses closer to the street that what its zoned for.

Sean Farres lives across the street and started a petition.

"I felt like something had to be said, because the developer isn't working within current guidelines of the historic part," Farres said.

Ross Massey handles all the planning, engineering, and zoning issues for the project.

"What we wanted to do is to provide houses that are more affordable, families are getting priced out of city center," Massey said.

Massey and the builder are meeting for the third time Thursday night with neighbors to iron out concerns.

"If we can adjust our proposal the be more in keeping, if we can explain what we want to do better so that people more understand what we want to do here, I think they'll embrace it," Massey said.

Some, like Mann, already are embracing the plans. Others, like Farres, want more give from the developer.

"I would love to see him work within the conservation overlay, to keep the character of the neighborhood and the setbacks," Farres explained.

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