Stefanie Mendell | Indy Week

Stefanie Mendell 
Member since Sep 2, 2015


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Re: “The Disruption on the New Raleigh City Council Is a Blast from the Past

Once again I must take exception to being labelled as "slow-growth." I ran on a platform of responsible growth, smart growth, or planned growth -- growth that is compatible with surroundings, respects the environment, and has appropriate infrastructure in place.

Nicole Stewart's platform, if you check her campaign web site, also talked about growth in Raleigh "straining our natural resources." So having me serve on the Growth & Natural Resources Committee is not necessarily going to have "ramifications down the line."

I'd also like to know what is considered the opposite of "slow-growth" -- is it "fast growth" -- and what does that imply?

Admittedly I am new to politics, but I am confounded and disappointed that both the N&O and the IndyWeek continue to advance this "slow-growth" narrative, seemingly in the interests of stirring up controversy and dissension.

The current Council was sworn in just over a week ago. How about giving us some time to coalesce as a governing body under the leadership of Mayor McFarlane? And how about giving us the benefit of the doubt on "slow growth" versus "fast growth" until you see some results. At our first council meeting we actually approved a number of zoning requests that certainly belie a "slow growth" label.

17 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Stefanie Mendell on 12/13/2017 at 9:33 AM

Re: “In a Mid-Century Raleigh Neighborhood, New Mansions Are Built So High They Block Out the Sun

This kind of density won't reduce sprawl or traffic. Teachers, first responders, health care workers, etc won't be able to afford to live in the city. They will be forced to live in suburbs or small towns and commute in.

I live on Oak Grove Circle inside the belt line. 4 homes sold in past few years in the $300k to $400k range. Two were moved into and are being "fixed up" in keeping with neighborhood.

One was torn down, lot subdivided and two homes built and each sold in $800k range. Lots were pretty much filled up, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and repairs to neighbors from stormwater runoff. (We got new Infill stormwater regulations passed which should help with future projects).

Fourth home torn down and waiting to see what takes it place. Developer who bought house originally marketed plans for $1 million plus French Provincial which is in no way compatible with existing neighborhood.

Remember to vote in 10/10 City Council elections. David Cox and Kay Crowder stand for neighborhoods!

19 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Stefanie Mendell on 07/19/2017 at 2:02 PM

Re: “A Raleigh Family Asks a Court to Stop a Developer from Erecting a 28-Foot Wall Next to Their House

This is another of many examples across Raleigh where developers intimidate longtime residents and blatantly violate the stated intent of the UDO's Infill Compatibility Standards. We need more City Council members who will fight for residents over developers. Remember that on October 10th

38 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Stefanie Mendell on 07/14/2017 at 9:05 PM

Re: “Wake’s Early Voting Debate Illustrates Why It’s Time to Rethink Partisan Elections Boards

I attended the public hearing about early voting at the Wake County Board of Elections. It was a standing room only crowd. One speaker raised concerns about tax dollars being spent on early voting and didn’t think early voting was necessary. Of the other twenty-plus speakers, every single one advocated for increased access for those who might have difficulties getting to the polls. There was overwhelming support for Sunday hours and for polling stations at NCSU and in Chavis Heights.

After the public comment period, chair Brian Ratledge began by proposing that there be no Sunday early voting hours. He said he thought everyone needed a day of rest. The entire crowd seemed taken aback by his blatant disregard for the comments that had been made in favor of Sunday voting. The following day the News & Observer reported that Ratledge meant that poll workers needed a day of rest, but that was not the impression I got in the meeting Thursday night, and after reading this account, clearly Ratledge was trying to impose his religious Sabbath on everyone else (Sharia Law anyone?). He didn’t seem to be taking into account that some religions observe the Sabbath on days other than Sunday. He also seemed to disregard the fact that many people work on Sunday – including first responders, hospital workers, store clerks, etc. In addition to this clear violation of the separation of church and state, I don’t think Ratledge was truly concerned about the poll workers. I have worked early voting in the past (and plan to do so again in the future). I can testify that it is a lengthy and tiring commitment. But my experience with other early voting workers tells me that there are basically two types of poll workers who choose to work early voting – those who need the extra income and/or those who want to contribute to the democratic process. So working long hours for ten days straight is what we sign up for. Working those two Sundays out of an entire year is not burdensome or onerous. If Ratledge wants to take Sundays off, then he doesn’t have to vote that day.

After his comment about Sunday voting hours, Ratledge then proceeded to share with his colleagues his proposed list of early voting stations. Once again, to the crowd’s amazement, he did not include sites at Chavis Heights or at NCSU. His reasoning was that when he was in college, he was able to get to the polls and that college students are creative and will find a way.

When the crowd started grumbling in response to this ridiculous charade, Ratledge asked us to be quiet because “he had listened to us” and now it was our turn to listen to him. Except quite clearly he had NOT listened to us – he had merely allowed us to speak and then ignored everything we said.

So, this man who chairs the Wake County Board of Elections seemed to be working to do everything he could to subvert the will of the people and impose hardships wherever possible on those who might have difficulty getting to the polls. I don’t like to be cynical, but I can only conclude that this was an effort to stymie votes that Ratledge suspects might not align with his beliefs. Voting is a fundamental right and it is scary to see how some segments of our society continue to try to erode voting rights while purporting to be good Americans.

Fortunately the two other members of the commission were able to strike compromises that do allow Sunday voting and that do place early voting stations on the NCSU campus and at Chavis Heights. But this is another wake-up call that citizens can’t be complacent. We must turn up at these hearings. We must vote, regardless of the restrictions that are put in our way. Whatever causes are dear to you, whether it be the environment, domestic violence, healthcare, poverty, education, etc. – we have to get out the vote so that we can safeguard our rights as Americans.

Posted by Stefanie Mendell on 07/06/2016 at 2:22 PM

Re: “Will a New Townhouse Project Open the Floodgates for Raleigh Developers?

NCODs do take a lot of time, effort, energy, and money for residents to establish. What's the point if they can be so easily overturned? The developers say they want to make more affordable housing ($300k range) available to city residents. Well, part of the reason that more affordable housing in the $300k range isn't more available in Raleigh is that developers are tearing down houses in that price range and replacing them with $1M+ McMansions.

There are numerous examples of that across the city, but I can cite several on my small street alone (Oak Grove Circle). Two homes recently sold on Oak Grove Circle in that price range and are being fixed up and renovated by the buyers. Two other homes on the street also recently were sold. One was on a double lot and was replaced by two larger homes that fill up almost their entire lots and that sold for around $700k each. The other has been torn down and is slated to be replaced by a house that the developer will be selling for $1M+. All of this happens despite the stated intent of the "Infill Compatibility" standards established by the city to preserve neighborhood character. The intent sounds great, but the reality isn't panning out.

And not only do teardowns being replaced by McMansions make housing in my neighborhood less affordable, it damages the environment by contributing to more stormwater runoff due to the amount of the lot that is covered by the larger homes, driveways, and accessory structures. The increased runoff on Oak Grove Circle has caused some neighbors to spend thousands of dollars to fix the resulting damage. And we also need to consider the clear-cutting that often takes place after a teardown, or the amount of building material (entire houses) thrown into landfills.

The City (and we, its residents) then has to raise rates and taxes to cover the cost of better stormwater control, etc. Why aren't the developers on the hook for this instead of residents?

The developers will say we should be happy because their development increases the value of our property, but the increased property values also will increase property taxes. And while it's great that our property values increase, it's not so great because many of us are retired, living on fixed incomes, want to stay in place, but struggle with those increasing property taxes.

6 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Stefanie Mendell on 06/29/2016 at 4:36 PM

Re: ““It Seems Like Raleigh Isn’t Raleigh Anymore”

The fact that there was only one attendee at the Carolina Pines meeting might have been due to a typo in the N&O about meeting dates. Additionally, there are a lot of citizens who are upset about these changes, but are too busy trying to make a living to pay attention, keep up with the information (which is difficult to understand for many who are not builders or architects), and make the time to attend meetings. Meanwhile developers, who have significant financial interests and incentive, make it their business (because it is their business) to stay informed. And they have many more opportunities to interact with, and develop relationships with, City staff.

Those of us who are concerned about certain kinds of development are not anti-growth neanderthals. We understand the demographics and we want our city to grow. But we don't want to lose what is special about Raleigh. We'd like to prevent teardowns where possible, save trees where possible, and stop the huge houses that overwhelm their lots. These large houses add to stormwater runoff problems and impact the quality of life of their neighbors -- for instance, when taller homes block access to sunlight for backyard gardens or overlook formerly private backyard spaces.

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Stefanie Mendell on 05/04/2016 at 12:23 PM

Re: “Why is Raleigh rushing a rezoning vote before the next City Council is seated?

Let's not just hand District E to Bonner Gaylord. If enough people get out and vote who want to get developers off the City Council, he could be forced out. Please consider the alternatives and vote for Edie Jeffreys in District E (ediefordistricte.com).

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Stefanie Mendell on 09/30/2015 at 10:17 AM

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