'Save Shelley Lake!': Fans rally to save popular Raleigh park from proposed development

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Fans of a popular Raleigh park are working to stop a proposed development they say would disrupt the lake and wildlife they love.

Signs to "Save Shelley Lake" have appeared along Millbrook Rd. as an online petition to halt rezoning plans for the area, surpasses 4,000 signatures.

On a sunny day at Shelley Lake Park on Millbrook Rd., between Lead Mine Rd. and North Hills Dr., people come out for many reasons including to enjoy some exercise with a view and to be amidst the wildlife which includes bald eagles who took up residence in a tree along the park's walking trail last year.

Parkland preservation is a leading cause behind neighbors' and park visitors' growing call for the Raleigh City Council to deny a rezoning request that would make way for higher density development on parcels of land that border the park.

At the corner of Millbrook and North Hills Dr., records show, North Hills Investment Partners is buying up acreage; the developer, bought the biggest piece of land in May, for more than double what it's worth.

The purchase came after Raleigh's Planning Commission recommended city council approve the developer's request to rezone the area, making way for a proposed 3-4 story complex with more than a hundred condos.

"I'm fine with them building up other areas and gentrifying other areas but someplace you know that needs to be preserved where animals are- you can leave that alone," said Ebony Pittman, who said she comes to Shelley Lake to enjoy exercising outside.

"It's always nice to walk in the woods, like walk next to the lake and be out in the wilderness, essentially, and I feel that would be much less enjoyable if there's an apartment complex next to you instead," Grant Isemonger said.

City planners say the rezoning falls in line with its goals to accommodate a growing city and expand housing choices, but some who grew up in Raleigh, like Isemonger, said he's used to seeing changes to his hometown but hopes some things can stay the same.

"This has always stayed the same since I was young," he said. "It's always been this way."

City staff tell ABC11 city council will take up the rezoning request and could vote at its meeting on June 16th.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.