Redevelopment proposals draw concern from Raleigh residents

Michael Perchick Image
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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Some residents say progress could ruin the character of their neighborhoods.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- With the growth in Raleigh showing no signs of slowing, some community members are voicing concerns about proposals for further development.

Tuesday, the Raleigh City Council will consider a proposal from Kane Realty, for three commercial mixed-use buildings in North Hills, along Rowan Street, Lassiter Mill Road, and Six Forks Road, of up to 12, 30 and 40 stories. The plans call for apartments, bike stations, a bikeway, and dedicated land for future redevelopment of a fire station. Currently, the site is zoned for a 12-story mixed-use building and a five-story mixed-use building.

"We talk a lot about affordability, but a big part of affordability is whether you have to have a car or not. They've talked about doing a transit center here, it's not on a (Bus Rapid Transit) line, it's not on a major line yet. Maybe at some point, it will, but we're just doing the first BRT line and have three more to go. So I think there are opportunities for dense nodes that are supported by transit in other parts of the city, and I just don't see the infrastructure in place here to handle that," said former Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

McFarlane said she had heard from several people concerned about the plans in an area that has been transformed during the past decades, now full of shops, restaurants, apartments, and hotels, bordering single-home neighborhoods.

"The traffic here can be pretty bad, especially on Six Forks Road. Six Forks Road is a collector for all those neighborhoods, cul-de-sacs, everything north of here, and if you want to get on the Beltline, that's pretty much how you do it," McFarlane said.

The former mayor also expressed an issue with the idea of a 40-story tower obstructing the view of nearby, single-family houses. However, a resident who spoke off-camera said they believed the development would be a positive for the area.

ABC11 reached out to Kane Realty for comment but has not heard back.

Hayes Barton residents protesting proposal

The North Hills redevelopment is not the sole project set to draw attention during the meeting; a group of residents plans on gathering outside City Hall on Tuesday evening to voice concerns about a new city policy it fears will lead to larger-scale projects.

"We moved from Hickory. We were looking for an older neighborhood, a classic neighborhood. And this one certainly fit the bill. We appreciate the architecture and walkability of the neighborhood," said Terry Henderson, who has lived in Hayes Barton for 35 years.

In 2020, he wrote a book about the neighborhood's history, titled Hayes Barton @ 100; he's worried that history is at risk of not being preserved.

"I think it can change the character and nature of this neighborhood," said Henderson.

Single-family homes can now be redeveloped into larger projects, with developers able to bypass a zoning change request.

"Many people who have lived in Raleigh for a while are concerned about providing for all the growth that may be taking place, but not providing for the people who are here," said Henderson, who said he believed the value of existing homes in the area would be affected.

The affordable housing struggle

The housing types are referred to as "Missing Middle," with city officials believing it would increase access to affordable housing.

"What we're trying to do is really now defined as a national best practice to allow for different types of housing and housing choices," Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin told ABC11 in an interview last month.

Henderson remained dubious.

"I certainly agree that it will create more density. Whether it creates affordable housing is another thing. You have not repealed the laws of economics," Henderson countered while acknowledging the need to create more affordable housing, including outside of downtown.