Raleigh Children Invited to Paint Downtown Raleigh Mural this weekend. ow.ly/dDkJT
— BEST Raleigh (@BESTRaleigh) September 11, 2012
Accessory dwelling units. They sound so benign, and in many cases they are — you put up a little cottage out back for grandma, or a college student, or as a place for your guests to stay if they're staying and, uh, staying.
But now picture this. Your neighbor builds an ADU, a honkin' two-story pad behind his house; but wait, it gets better (worse): your neighbor doesn't actually live in the house. No, he rents it out to four college students, and in the new "accessory dwelling unit," four more college students are suddenly resident, and they're living just a few feet from your house. Where you DO live.
Maybe they'll all be bookworms.
Yet this is what the new Raleigh zoning code, the so-called UDO (Unified Development Ordinance), seems to propose. Or so says Linda Watson, chair of the Glenwood Citizens Advisory Council, who's studied the issue for a year without assuaging her fears. She'd like to think the code would distinguish between places where an ADU is desirable and places where it isn't. Instead, she's pretty sure it will allow a rather large party pad to be built right up against the back lot line of a house even if the ADU looms over the backyard/house on the lot behind it. (And notice, in the graphic at right — which is taken from the proposed code — that the cottages are built on an alley. But unless I'm missing something, the alley isn't required. A two-story cottage can be erected within 10 feet of the back lot line, not counting roof overhangs and balconies, even if puts your backyard in the shade.
One other (huge) factor to consider. According to former Planning Commission member Betsy Kane, a lawyer-planner by trade, a North Carolina appeals court has ruled that cities cannot distinguish between owner-occupied homes and absentee-landlord houses when deciding whether ADU's should be legal or not. In other words, if ADU's are permitted at all, they must be available to slumlords and owner-occupants alike.
So Watson has called a special meeting of the Glenwood CAC this evening to air the issue. It's set for 6:30-9 p.m. at the Glen Eden Park Community Center, 1500 Glen Eden Drive.
You can read more about it in the Glenwood CAC newsletter:
By the way, where the heck is the Unified Development Ordinance? (Updated here and above to add the link — per John Burns' comment on FB that the answer to my question is, the UDO is online and has been for a long time. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise.)
The answer is, the consultants are finished writing it, the Planning Commission is finished reviewing it, and a mere three years after Raleigh adopted its new 2030 Comprehensive Plan, the zoning code that is supposed to put the plan in action is ready for consideration by the City Council.
Starting in September.
The code, as you may supposed, is replete with question marks. The ones surrounding accessory dwelling units have generated the first public skirmish, but no doubt not the last.
Hey, the kids are back in town, and it's N.C. State's 125th birthday, so there's going to a blow-out on Hillsborough Street tomorrow. Number 1 fact: Hillsborough Street will closed to traffic from early morning to after midnight between the Pullen Road roundabout and Brooks Avenue. Number 2 fact: Free parking on campus.
What does this mean? Come into the campus off Western Boulevard for best access to the parking lots and decks.
The festival is from 2-10 p.m., with a big red finish promised at the Bell Tower. The main stage will be there with four bands: Liquid Pleasure, Mamas Love, Leela James and Carolina Liar.
This is from the Hillsborough Street Community Service Corporation, which is helping (and h/t to executive director Jeff Murison for reminding me that tomorrow's the day):
On Aug. 18, historic Hillsborough Street in Raleigh will be the site
of Packapalooza, an all-day block party and street festival
celebrating North Carolina State University’s 125th birthday. Music,
activities and food will be part of the festival, which will feature
more than 160 booths from local and university sponsors.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will kick off at 2
p.m. and run until 10 p.m. Two stages will feature live musical and
dance performances as well as autograph sessions with Wolfpack
baseball, football and women’s basketball teams. Numerous “zones”
along Hillsborough Street will give visitors a taste of NC State’s
traditions, as well as the opportunity to create works of art, learn
dance, try their hand at sports, explore our students’ cultural
backgrounds and purchase delicious food from local vendors. Free water
will be provided at various locations. At 10 p.m., the festival will
end with the lighting of the Belltower.
"It's a great opportunity to engage the entire community in the university's celebration," Murison said.
They also sent along a video:
Harry Dolan's been in the news lately, at odds with a lot of his troops. is there a connection between that and his announcement today that he's out of here as police chief in a few weeks?
City Manager Russell Allen heaps praise on Dolan, so much so that you wonder why he's leaving:
Raleigh’s Chief of Police to Retire
City Manager J. Russell Allen today announced the retirement of Chief of Police Harry P. Dolan, effective Oct. 1. Chief Dolan’s retirement after five years as police chief caps a law enforcement career spanning 32 years and a tenure that brought progress to the department.
“Harry Dolan has been an excellent police chief for Raleigh, but more importantly, he has been an exceptional leader,” Mr. Allen said. “His high level of technical and strategic law enforcement skills are matched by his unwavering ethical standards, commitment to the community, pride in the department’s employees, and enthusiasm for police work.
“Every day, he was as excited about his opportunities as police chief as he was about his work as an officer the day he graduated from the Raleigh Police Academy 30 years ago. Our community is safer today because of his work, and he has personally touched many of us with his humor and compassion,” the City Manager added.
Chief Dolan’s tenure as Raleigh’s police chief began Sept. 4, 2007, when he assumed his duties here after serving as chief of the Grand Rapids, Mich., Police Department for nine years. Prior to his service in Michigan, he was the chief of the Lumberton Police Department from 1992 to 1998 and the chief of the North Carolina Department of Human Resources’ Police Department at Black Mountain from 1987 to 1992. Before his work as a chief began, he served as a Raleigh Police Department officer from 1982 to 1987 after being named the most outstanding graduate of his police academy class. Chief Dolan’s law enforcement career began in 1980 as a Buncombe County deputy sheriff.
“I am grateful to City Manager J. Russell Allen for selecting me to serve as Raleigh’s chief of police and a member of his leadership team,” Chief Dolan said. “That afforded me the distinct privilege and honor of serving this dynamic city and permitted me to have the truly remarkable experience of once again serving with the men and women of the Raleigh Police Department. Throughout their ranks, the members of this department demonstrate every day that they have a tremendous dedication to serving and protecting this community, and I’m absolutely confident they are prepared to continue to accomplish a great deal on behalf of its residents.”
Each of the Raleigh Police Department’s six districts now have officers assigned to full-time community policing work, an initiative Chief Dolan began in the Southeast Police District in January 2009, and community policing is a hallmark of his tenure as chief. Internally, he emphasized training and preparedness, exemplified by accomplishments such as the development of the department’s Leadership Institute program and its implementation of national standards for handling critical incidents. In addition, he focused on improving departmental staffing, both in terms of filling officer vacancies and in regard to bolstering supervisory and managerial capabilities.
“As chief, he has done an exemplary job leading the Raleigh Police Department,” Mr. Allen said. “He is a champion of community policing and has used his considerable knowledge and expertise in that area to strengthen ties between residents and police officers. In addition, he deserves credit for significant enhancements that have been made to the training received by Raleigh police officers and for improvements to the department’s organization, accountability, and professionalism.
“Raleigh justifiably prides itself on having one of the nation’s best police departments,” Mr. Allen continued, “and Chief Dolan has enhanced that reputation during his tenure. His retirement is well-earned, and I know the entire community joins me in wishing him the best as he moves forward.”
The City Manager said Deputy Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown will serve as interim chief of police upon Chief Dolan’s departure. The search process for a new chief will be advertised and open to highly qualified internal and external candidates.
Chief Dolan said that he began making plans to depart as his retirement eligibility approached and that he made a decision several months ago to retire from the department this fall. He has not yet announced his personal plans for the future.
So earlier, we reported that Sparkcon 2012 would be held, for the first time, in the tres-artsy Warehouse District. Great idea, but it turns out that getting all the necessary streets closed in order to have room for all the various "Sparks" wasn't possible ... or at least not this year. Maybe in some future year.
Thus, this 7th edition (wow!) of Sparkcon will again be conducted on Fayetteville Street, which is where it all started and where, notwithstanding its amazing growth, all the sparks can still fly.
This news comes from our 2012 Indies Arts Award winner Sarah Powers, who manages Sparkcon along with her staff at the Visual Art Exchange.
Sparkcon 2012 is September 13-16.
That's the weekend after our 3rd annual Hopscotch Music Festival.
So here's the deal. You have to dial the area code now. So you dial 9-1-9. Oops, you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake.
In Wake County, that happened 5,655 times.
So you did that, and now what? Well, you just hang up, right?
5,655 times NO!
You stay on the line.
Otherwise, the cops think you called 9-1-1 because somebody was breaking into your house and you hung up because that somebody just put a gun to your head.
That's what they're paid to think. You want them to think that way. They send a patrol car. They have to.
It's a big waste of their time and your tax money.
So if you misdial, they ask that you stay on the line. Tell the operator, "Oops. No problem here."
(How do they know that the guy with the gun didn't tell you to say that? I dunno. Probably the tone of your voice.)
Anyway, this has gotta be the sixth or maybe 16th plea we've gotten from the Raleigh-Wake emergency responders on this subject. We pass it along in hopes it will help a little.
Ten-Digit Misdials Continue to Plague 9-1-1 Center
Four months after its introduction, ten-digit dialing continues to cause significant problems for the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center. Instead of dialing the area code 919, callers are mistakenly dialing 9-1-1 and hanging up.
Misdials and hang-up calls divert resources away from actual emergencies since dispatchers must dial back on hang-ups to assure that an emergency is not taking place. If no response is received from the call-back, dispatchers send a police officer to the source of the call to make certain that no assistance is needed. During the second quarter of this year, emergency operators answered nearly 25 percent more 9-1-1 calls, and made almost 60 percent more outgoing calls than they did during April, May, and June of last year.
The bulk of these numbers are a direct result of the requirement to dial 10 digits within our area code. As a result, real emergencies can’t be answered as quickly as they used to be because 9-1-1 staff is engaged in dealing with these erroneous calls.
During July, 5,655 dispatches were made to check on the welfare of hang-up callers, a rate of 7.6 per hour which is the highest number recorded since the problems began with the introduction of 10-digit dialing. Nearly 3,2000 of these dispatches were within the City of Raleigh. While some calls were verified and cleared prior to an officer’s arrival, Raleigh Police still spent more than 300 hours last month responding to 9-1-1 hang-ups.
“If you dial 9-1-1 incorrectly, it is imperative that you stay on the line,” said Emergency Communications Director Barry Furey. “The only apparent cure is careful dialing. We can’t fix this issue without the public’s help.”
Then this morning, I see a press release from the Beehive Collective (they're another good story). They make grants for good works in Raleigh, and they've chosen placemaking as their theme for 2012.
They're offering one grant of up to $25,000, for which they're taking applications through September 4:
Placemaking means making the built and social environment that surrounds us positive, healthy, and restorative for individuals and communities. In choosing this giving theme for 2012, The Beehive Collective seeks to fund work in Raleigh that focuses on improving our physical and/or social environment to have a positive impact on ourselves and our community. One grant of up to $25,000 will be awarded. If you or your organization has or is thinking about undertaking a project that fits our theme, please consider submitting an application by our deadline on September 4, 2012.
There's a little more about the Collective's concept of placemaking on their website.
These types of places may vary from community and healing gardens to teen centers, arts venues, crisis centers, or shelters. These could be organizations that work on advocacy for positive places, such as bicycle advocacy, environmental activism, or community groups that focus on making Raleigh neighborhoods safe, vibrant and healthy. Successful grantees will focus on improving our physical or social environment to enable people living in it to flourish and to be of service to their community.
If you go to enough planning meetings, you'll begin to think that everyone's into placemaking and everyone knows what it means. The auto-correct function for this blog has obviously never heard of it, however. Because every time I write placemaking — and don't stop to change it back — it turns into platemaking.
This will be in the Indy tomorrow. (Look for a piece about the Visual Art Exchange.) But the VAE has a press release out, so no need to wait. I love Sparkcon. Moving it to the Warehouse District should make it even better — as a spark for the new downtown arts hub. And the fashion show in the Amphitheater will spark-le.
If you don't know Sparkcon, it's all here on the website. It's September 13-16.
This is from Sarah Powers at VAE:
SPARKcon will be moving to the Warehouse District and the Raleigh Amphitheatre for 2012. Organizers are looking forward to creating a new and distinct look for SPARKcon against the industrial backdrop of Raleigh’s new art district.
The event is September 13-16, 2012, kicking off at the Raleigh Amphitheater for its first Opening Ceremony on September 13. All of the outdoor programming during September 14-16 will be held in the Warehouse District between Martin, Davie, Dawson and West Streets.
SPARKcon will showcase the talent of more than 1,700 artists and attract a crowd of more than 25,000 people over four days. This will be a boon to the emerging arts district and SPARKcon believes this event can help secure the Warehouse district as an arts destination.
SPARKcon is an interdisciplinary arts festival created by designers, artists and community organizers to celebrate creativity in the Triangle. SPARKcon’s name comes from being a “con”ference to “spark” the local art community and seeks to brand the Triangle as “the creative hub of the South.” The event is organized by Visual Art Exchange, which moved its gallery space to the Warehouse District in 2011.
By moving the event, SPARKcon organizers can invest in VAE’s new neighborhood and help brand the neighborhood as an art district. Further, the move will help keep the event fresh and keep SPARKcon distinct amongst the growing number of events and festivals held in downtown Raleigh. The area is also close to transit (take the train to SPARKcon from Cary and Durham!) and provides a combination of indoor art spaces and street space that work with the organizer’s vision for the event.
The Opening Ceremony will be hosted in the Raleigh Amphitheater and will feature fashionSPARK’s runway show as well as dance, circus and music performances. The amphitheater will raise the profile of these events and SPARKcon is thrilled to used this new, professional venue for their production.
Ah, Mitt. You know as well as anyone that the whole point of a corporation is to shield the people who run it from personal liability — while letting them reap the profits, of course. So, yes, there are people in corporations. And these people are entitled to their rights (free speech, political activity). They're just not entitled, or they shouldn't be, to exercise their rights from behind a corporate shield.
So glad to get that off my chest. Now for the news.
"Move to Amend" is meeting tonight, 6:30-8:30, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Ave. This is, as the title suggests, a movement to amend the Constitution to make it clear that corporations are not entitled to the same First Amendment rights as individual citizens. The effect would be to reverse the Supreme Court's detestable Citizens United ruling that corporations do enjoy the same political rights as people.
From the local organizers:
Move to Amend executive committee member George Friday, an anti-oppression trainer and community organizer, will be touring North Carolina this July, in an effort to build connections, inspire activism, and reveal the origins of corporate power in America.
Move to Amend is a national coalition of over 212,900 people and organizations whose goal is amending the United States Constitution to end corporate rule by building a multiracial, cross-class democracy movement. George's presentations are part history lesson and part heart-felt call-to-action! "Challenging Corporate Rule & Creating Democracy" aims to help local folks understand how they can work to abolish corporate personhood and establish a government of, by, and for the people.
This event is free and open to the public. We appreciate your donations to help us finance these tours, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
And, catching up on some news from last week that doesn't seem to have been reported anywhere (which is strange), the Raleigh City Council voted 6-2 to take a position in favor of a constitutional amendment and against Citizens United. Councilor Thomas Crowder's resolution is framed as supporting the original McCain-Feingold curbs on corporate political action that Citizens United overturned. Voting no, Republican John Odom and Bonner Gaylord, unaffiliated. The five Democrats and Mayor Nancy McFarlane, also unaffiliated, voted in favor.
Here's the full resolution:
What's the secret sauce that'll lift our public schools to better results? I think the recipe contains getting kids on their feet more ... and encouraging them to work in groups, helping each other so everyone does better.
Working alone is tedious; and, if your parents can't help, it's so much harder.
Groups are fun. Presenting as part of a group is fun and a real-world skill that can take you far.
Why shouldn't learning be fun?
Anyway, I love seeing stuff like this. (h/t: Mike Charbonneau at the Wake schools office.) It's a music video produced by a 5th-grade class at Pleasant Union Elementary School — in North Raleigh— and it won the grand prize in a competition with an interesting back story, about which more below. But first:
So the contest involved teachers and their students making music videos using one of many lyrics written by a guy who works at N.C. State.
He's Dr. Lodge McCammon, who's in the College of Education, and he writes "curriculum-based" songs about various subjects from social studies to, in this case, algebra.
Jeffrey Collins had his 5th-grade class do the one about deciding on the order of operations in an algebraic equation. Think about it: How important is getting the order of operations right in your life?
The "Dr. Lodge Video Challenge" was sponsored by a for-profit company, Discovery Education. It sells digital content to schools, so don't confuse it with a philanthropy. On the other hand, no reason to assume that because it makes money, it isn't producing good material.
I've excerpted the company's press release below.