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Protect Falls 
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Re: “Inside the Guess and Latta Road Rezoning Fight That Has Set a North Durham Neighborhood on Edge

All good comments here; not the least being the unfortunate print headline. But the broader issue is pretty simple. Elected officials honor the city's policies on growth and development, and manage accordingly, or they disregard their guiding policies and the taxpayers/constituents who stand to be most negatively impacted by a proposed rezoning. Here's hoping that the Durham City Council will weigh the proposal against Durham's plans, the Planning Commission vote and those who are directly affected.

Take heart, neighbors, from the Raleigh case referred to in this story. In that case the city Planning Commission voted 8-1 to recommend approval of the proposed rezoning (at the entrance to neighborhoods). The city council voted unanimously to deny the proposal. The motion for denial made no reference to the applicant's withdrawal one business day before the hearing. The motion cited the proposal as not consistent with the city's policies/plans for growth, not in the public interest, incompatible with the street system in the area (neighborhood streets not intended to be shopping center traffic routes), and incompatible with Raleigh's plans for the urban watershed. Recommend Durham neighbors view the motion and craft messages accordingly if they align with this proposal.…

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Protect Falls on 06/02/2017 at 10:25 AM

Re: “Raleigh Votes to Establish a Community Engagement Board, Which Critics Worry Will Take Power Away from Citizens Advisory Councils

A possible outcome of the Citizen Engagement Task Force is the elimination of citizens' opportunity to vote on rezoning proposals through their CAC, votes that today have no binding effect on City Council. But they provide one more piece of information. Ironically enough, the task force chair before taking the helm at the Fletcher Foundation, was in charge of the NC Voter Education Center. As reported by Indy in March 2012:…

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Protect Falls on 05/03/2017 at 2:31 PM

Re: “Welcome to the INDY's Raleigh City Council Live Blog

How many millions of dollars has Steve Schuster's firm made from the City of Raleigh? I.e., taxpayers have enriched him immensely. His strong business ties with the city make his role on the planning commission an obvious conflict of interest. And, of course, the whole being a rubber stamp for developers over citizens as well.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Protect Falls on 07/05/2016 at 9:17 PM

Re: “How Raleigh’s election was hijacked by questions of vibrancy

Mr. Van Dyk, with respect your post reinforces Mr. Geary's message. You are a fine and respected architect and your business is dependent on clients who require your excellent services. I.e., you would acknowledge that development is your bread and butter?

However, I will concede you are sincere in your view on engaging young voters in the electoral process and that is a point we agree. The young people who were/are part of KRV movement appeared sincere in their passion and motivations. But we're honestly proud if whether you can drink a beer on a public sidewalk at 1:01 a.m. motivates people to vote? I give young folks more credit than that. We bemoan low election turnouts but I think we can be proud that something so trivial DIDN'T impact the outcome.

As to the column devolving into an anti-development "rant"...first, I dispute the "anti-development" label. More importantly, the KRV connection to Raleigh's very influential and deep-pocketed development community cannot be ignored. It's appropriate (if not obvious) commentary from Indy. Simply look at the candidates KRV endorsed, and those candidates' big donors: developers. No coincidence.

The story here is that the KRV movement was ginned up by pro-development interests to spur an expected young voter bloc to elect a specific slate of candidates. The intent was clear, who was driving it was clear IMO, and it didn't work. Younger voters were smarter than that. And by and large, all Raleigh voters understood the issue of this election was not about some minor downtown ordinance. It was about managing growth with forethought and appropriate planning versus continuing the Wild, Wild West approach of late. That's good and right for Raleigh.

20 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Protect Falls on 10/07/2015 at 1:10 PM

Re: “Watch the throne: Three young, credible challengers seek to upend the Raleigh City Council

Interesting observation by Mr. Yowell. One need only look at all campaign finance reports available at and it's not difficult to determine those candidates whose political careers are largely funded by commercial development interests.

In fact, Mr. Yowell is quite a generous contributor to Ms. Smith, having donated $1,100 in August alone. Are those elected officials and Ms. Smith a rubber stamp for developers? One thing's for certain, their campaigns are bankrolled by developers, not Raleigh's everyday citizens.…

FWIW, I and many people I know are big fans of Moonlight Pizza.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Protect Falls on 09/16/2015 at 9:06 PM

Re: “Raleigh food trucks losing appetite over new zoning

Mr. Crane and Ms. Baldwin make very interesting comments in this report. Consider the topic, food trucks. It appears the city has determined that food trucks are not appropriate for neighborhoods (or at least districts zoned as Neighborhood Mixed Use, NX). Okay, then.

And now, for the rest of the story...

The city is doing away with the Buffer Commercial (BC) zoning district and in some cases, remapping those properties to Neighborhood Mixed Use (NX). As the name implies, BC is intended to serve as a buffer between commercial development and residential neighborhoods. Mr. Crane indicates that NX was designed as a buffer for neighborhoods. Presumably, that is why food trucks aren't permitted in NX. That's very interesting because under the UDO,the scale and intensity for NX is exponentially expanded compared to the current BC. In BC, retail development is permitted at 3,000 square feet per floor per building. NX has no limitation on retail square footage; ergo, exponential increase. Entitlements for NX properties include gas stations, bars, destination retail, virtually any commercial development you can fit on a site (all that's often much larger than 3,000 square feet).

By doing away with BC and rezoning those properties to NX, the city will drastically upzone those properties in a way that can harm neighborhoods. It would be welcome news indeed if the assertion attributed to Mr. Crane about NX being a buffer was in fact true. It isn't, and he knows it isn't because he and his Planning Department are the people responsible for the UDO.

Councilwoman Baldwin's remarks at the end are encouraging. Clearly, the UDO can be changed (fixed). I hope Ms. Baldwin will advocate for neighborhoods and fix the UDO and its failure to protect neighborhoods.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Protect Falls on 07/15/2015 at 7:30 PM

Re: “10 things we learned at Raleigh's rezoning ruckus

More than anything, this list demonstrates that the UDO remapping has failed citywide. At least in the eyes of citizens and neighborhoods that will live with remapping's consequences. It was apparent at the July 7 hearing that residents from all parts of Raleigh share similar concerns. Very well chronicled here. It's also apparent that the Planning Department places little value in citizen input. How else to explain holding the hearing at council chambers, where far more people were unable to participate than could. One nice thing to see was as specific neighborhood residents completed their remarks, groups of people would leave and allow other groups to come in and get seats. All in all, the failure of planning for a hearing about growth was a fitting and obvious analogy.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Protect Falls on 07/15/2015 at 11:35 AM

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