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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Welcome to INDY Week's Raleigh City Councli live blog, evening edition

Posted by on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 7:02 PM

7:02: I' m here, the meeting has just been called to order.

First is petitions of citizens.

7:03: Khaled Assel is here to discuss stormwater concerns at 4401 Delta Lake Drive. Stormwater is being dumped onto his property; there will be a staff report.

7:05: Nicholas Voss has concerns about the Luc Lounge on Paula Street, which opened early spring and have had constant noise violations. Extremely loud music has affected him personally and professionally. "You cannot not hear the music," he says. They already lost their alcohol license, so now they're a BYOB club which operates from 1am to 6am. Yep, that sounds fairly horrible. 150 calls to police; 11 citations issued, 6 criminal. BUt police aren't serving violations because they can't find a responsible party to deal with them. He's asking that their amplified entertainment permit be revoked. The neighborhood has already complained twice to Council. 

7:09: Clearly this is a continual property, Mayor Nancy says. At what point can something be done about this being a public nuisance? Attorney says allow us to proceed with court action. That's what will happen. 

7:11: The Council approved parking restrictions on Paula Street earlier as well. 

7:13: Matters schedule for public hearing. First is Larry Jarvis' Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area plan, continued from September 1. He's going to go thru background and benefits, outrwach and community engagement efforts, concerns and responses, next step and recommendations. 

7:14: So NRSA will increase affordable housing supply and create mixed income neighborhoods. It will create mixed income home ownership with federal funds, low income housing tax credits for seniors via DHIC housing nonprofit.

7:15: HUD encourages mixed-income, and discourages low income concentration. 70% households low to moderate income; blocks 1 and 2 of census tract 506 meet that threshold. (not the Oakwood block)

7:16: The city owns a bunch of parcels in East College Park. So this is housing rehab to existing homeowners, expanding services to youth and seniors, job creation, commercial revitalization.

7:17: there was some outreach/meetings before September 1. Since, they have done four drop-in sessions  with 25 residents turning out. Capital Area Workforce Development did a presentation and there was an open house at Tarboro Road community center. 

7:18: they're increasing threshold of home for low income residents to 60 percent, from 51 percent. There won't be McMansions, byt house plans that fit with the neighborhood already. 

7:19: He's giving examples of potential buyer profiles. Low income buyers can get city, state assistance. Next steps are making final edits to the plan and submit to HUD for approval. Recommendation is to approve the 2016 NRSA plan and amend 2016-2020 consolidated plan to include NRSA plan and authorize submission to HUD. 

7:21: MAB asks: Right now, no plans for housing, correct? Yes,. J. Davis will plan housing mix, but that hasn't been done yet. It would be a public process.

7:23: Stephenson is asking about availability of low interest of forgivable loans to residents already living in the neighborhood. So there a many elderly homeowners who need to benefit from NRSA. Craft a rehab loan program attractive to seniors, Jarvis says. They don't want to encumber their property for a long time because it's an asset they can pass on to their children. This needs to be finalized, after meeting with residents. 

7:24: Weeks question: Is there a point where the 60% threshold of low-income to 40% moderate income: can that ratio change down the line? Council reserves the right to make adjustments; NRSA just allows mixed-income that ratio. 

7:25: Maiorano: To preserve affordability aspect, how is that built in? Loans would have to be paid back within the loan period; ways of discouraging people form selling shortly after purchasing. Possibility of land trust units. 

7:26: Octavia Rainey speaking. She has lived in College Park 60 years. She met with HUD on Capitol Hill yesterday; asked them to stop the process and called for a federal investigation. 506 is not high poverty census track; it was gerrymandered by leaving out Oakwood. "That is completely wrong and should have never happened," she says. 509 is the most high poverty track, not 506. 

7:28: DHIC have always said their issue is strictly Washington Terrace and senior housing. But on January 14, 2014, DHIC filed for a College Park collaborative LLC. "That's a conflict of interest," she says. They have always said they were only interested in Washington terrace; why was this not told before. This is what I mean by being sneaky, dirty and underhanded. Why was this never disclosed?

7:29: Rainey says building trust is the most important thing. This process has never been with trust. "My neighborhood was served up on a trashcan lid," she says. It hasn't been transparent. DHIC's board needs to be held accountable; why did they allow this to happen without transparency; do NOT move this process forward.

7:30: Roland Gammon is speaking. He served as chair of DHIC board for last 2 years. I don't recognize this conversation that preceded this about Greg Warren and the DHIC board, he says. We work closely with staff. We are well informed by Greg. We've enjoyed a relationship with the City of Raleigh. Mr. Jarvis gave a great description of why we need support of NRSA and tax credit approvals. "I've been to national meetings for DHIC and it is held in high regard nationally, Warren and the organization both." Maiorano adds that DHIC is held in high regard by the city.

7:32: Janet Lawrence, president of African American and Asian/Pacific Islander caucus. She was at the Capitol Hill meeting where they presented this to HUD, facilitated by Congressman David Price. She says Madonna Acres does not need revitalization; it is historical designation so should never have been included in the NRSA plan. She says HUD people were surprised to see the Jan. 2014 formation of DHIC's College Park LLC. She says these communities do not meet NRSA requirements. "We are expecting you to protect our interests," she says. "If you do not, we have a coalition that controls 85 percent of the vote."

7:36: Greg Warren is speaking. "I am really confused by this conversation," he says. Whenever we buy propeorty, we form a new LLC. In January 2014 when they bough Washington Terrace property, they needed to form a new LLC. They called it College Park collaborative because they thought they would work with residents there. He said he did not realize College Park was not part of Washington Terrace, and that he is in error for not changing the name of the LLC. Happy to disclose LLC board members- they're the same as DHIC executive committee.  We at DHIC are appreciative of city support for plan to replace rundown Washington Terrace with new, affordable, energy efficient apartments. DHIC has built 8 apartment communities in Southeast Raleigh. City partnered in most of those developments, and everyone is pleased with them. We've helped many residents find a path to home ownership. We've had significant positive impact on lives of Washington terrace residents. Green and sustainable design will enhance experiences for residents. Affordability, accessibility and quality is their goal. Building a mixed income community, and NRSA will help DHIC compete for 9 percent federal tax credits. DHIC is immensely qualified and committed to use all available tools to deliver affordable homes. NRSA will help. 

7:40: Maiorano asking about LLC formation: that issued hadn't been raised with Warren or DHIC before tonight. The LLC is owner of Washington Terrace apartments, wholly owned by DHIC. DHIC/Warren did not have a chance to address the LLC issue before tonight. "That's unfortunate," Maiorano says.

7:41: Sheila Porter, director of DHIC home ownership center is speaking. At DHIC home ownership center, they aim to help people build wealth and buy homes, and provide support through buying process and after closing. They work with banks and city to provide services to families at or below 80% of area median income. They've helped a lot of first time home buyers, mostly younger, African American with children and less than $40,000 annual income. "DHIC stands ready to help individuals and families prepare for home-ownership opportunities that may result from the NRSA designation."

7:43: Neighborho here to express need for affordable housing in the area. She's talking about a low income family she works with. "I am here because I want to express the need these and many people have for affordable housing," she says. This family has had to sacrifice purchasing medicine to pay rent; ended up in the hospital. "This is just one of many examples, this family through no fault of their own needs affordable housing."

7:46: Les Sykes (?)  member of affordable housing task force. They have done a lot of work with DHIC. He requests following staff rec to support NRSA recommendation to HUD. "We need to do everything we can to support affordable housing," he says. Approving NRSA will be in keeping with goals and strategies of the recently approved affordable housing plan. Affordable housing is a big deal right now, as Council members have said. Council members have taken own initiatives to try to address affordable housing, like Gaylord, Baldwin and Stephenson. Keep up the good work, he says.

7:50: Cheryl Parsons, DHIC's property management contractor for Washington Terrace. Since DHIC purchased WT in Jan. 2014, we have enjoyed working with Washington terrace residents. Her employees have done a great job" serving needs of residents. WT was built in the 1950's. We're reminded when things break down, and they don't make that part anymore. DHIC has been very thoughtful, accommodating and has worked hard to make sure WT residents have been cared for during this transition. She urges support for NRSA plan.

7:52: Glen French (?), DHIC board member. Provides assistance to board on Washington Terrace. "Housing changes peoples' outlook on life. I'm looking forward to that change that will take place in Washington Terrace when it is remodeled and rehabilitated. Residents don't want to wait. "All places have a history, there's acrimony around what has happened in the past, but I've been fighting for the underdog all my life." I think he supports NRSA.

7:57: Janet Howard is speaking. The question is whether this NRSA designation really meets the criteria as established by the federal government at the urging of President Obama. The purpose for a neighborhood revitalization area is to reduce poverty in the area. 5 key elements. First element is resident engagement and community leadership. The process for this designation has a plan and based on the way staff elected to propose this plan, the process was missed. That's what a lot of community members are concerned about. When you develop the plan, community stakeholders- especially poor residents— are supposed to be at the table. Remember WT redevelopment/revitalization plan is an excellent one, but does concentration on WT make this a neighborhood revitalization area? Other stakeholders like St. Augustine's should be at the table, North Central CAC, grace in the City...all should be at the table not just giving input that may or may not show up in the plan. We also want accountable partnerships looking at entire area. It appears to the community that the plan doesn't look beyond WT. We were told infrastructure upgrades will only benefit WT and city-owned lots. But there are homeowners who have been in this neighborhood far longer than WT; if infrastructure is important, that area should have been included. Also, number of units: there are 3 versions of the plan and three different sets of numbers. We want to make sure the plan looks beyond WT and considers that all neighbors matter, not just WT. 

8:03: James Giles: I'm against the plan as it appears to be now. I was the most popular city employee back in the day, they called me the money man. I went out to identify areas that qualified for a loan or grant. I don't see any good news happening tonight. He's upset that CAC's are not represented in the plan. 

8:06: Another speaker, he says the language of community development etc. needs to have meaning; get the community involved. there are issues here. 

8:07: Another speaker...there are more plans for this area than just this one. Grace in the City has a plan. There are other resources standing at the ready. We ask that when decisions are made that we be at the table. We have stake in the community. We stand at the ready to assist in this process, we don't oppose but want to be part of the process. 

8:09: Hearing is closed. MAB says we are really contemplating NRSA, not a plan. A lot of what i've hears is about the plan. So let's refocus on the designation, acknowledging that much work needs to be done to get to the next step which is planning for College Park. 

8:10: Weeks says he has heard twice tonight about the census tracts. He asks to clarify process used to choose 506 over 509? So 509 is not in this neighborhood. We're looking at 130 properties city owns. Boundaries drawn and 70 percent within are low to moderate income. Not including Oakwood gives flexibility; it's just good basic planning, IDK how else to say that. If we owned a bunch of property in 509 we might have looked at that. But in ECP we have been sitting on properties serving no purpose for years. 

8:12: Jarvis says he asking Council to approve 2016 NRSA tonight and then amend 2016-2020 consolidated plan and authorize submission to HUD. Maiorano makes a motion to approve, Stephenson seconds. HUD officials will let them know if they have questions. Odom asks what happens if HUD doesn't approve? How long will that delay more and better affordable housing? Jarvis says he can't fathom HUD not approving it. Having done NRSAs before, I can't think of any reason why we couldn't get quick approval. Council approves unanimously. 

8:14: MAB says no money for infrastructure improvements...we have reserve funding available and now is appropriate time to get staff to look at using that money to get necessary infrastructure around here. If we are going to make these improvements ,the time is right to look at this seriously. MN says we're waiting for result of a study on economic development in the area to use money best way possible. The Council will get an update.

8:17: There will be an update at the next meeting. Next up, Woodlinks sidewalk installation. That's approved.

8:19: Annexation petitions. Those pass.

8:20: Street closure items. Belvin Drive, an alley on West Lenoir and East Whitaker Mill/New Road. 

8:27: Belvin is held. 

8:34: We're discussing an alley in Boylan Heights, and whether to close it, using maps from 1908. And 1924. Basically if they close the alley, one of six parcels owned by one family, the White family, will become unmarketable. The petitioner says the property owner doesn't need the alley to be open. This will come back in 2 weeks.

8:41: They approve the Whitaker Mill/New Road closure. 

8:43: We're onto rezonings. First is Six Forks Road, rezone from residential to office mixed use. 

8:52: John Cady is back, opposing a driveway from commercial development on Six Forks Road to exit on to Northwood Drive. Tenants, delivery trucks, customers, everyone will be using a 26 foot wide street to traverse through a residential neighborhood. 

8:56: Another neighbor says Northwood Drive is a peaceful community, with a street full of kids on Halloween. This development says it will be minimal traffic, but it's a actually a lot more traffic coming down the street. The potential for an accident is there.  

8:58: Another neighbor says she can't support the project because of traffic, or wants to change traffic patterns, traffic signals etc. for this rezoning. 

9:00: The hearing is closed, the petitioner will submit new conditions and this will come back in two weeks. 

9:04: Next: Oberlin rezoning. Request is to rezone to residential, conditional mixed use. Attorney Michael Birch asks to close the public hearing to add a condition: per the request of friends of Oberlin, they will keep height consistent with the neighborhood: no more than 2 stories.

9:07: Sabrina Goode, executive director of Friends of Oberlin Village. She says they are protective of property because concerned about erosion of Oberlin Village and that higher priced properties coming in will drive up established property owners' taxes. She wants to continue dialogue with the developer; unanimously, the Friends of Oberlin decided they did not want this development. She says there's a lot of history there, that cement will erode history and it will be lost. She wants to take time and get it right. 

9:09: Mabel Patterson, an Oberlin Road resident, is here for the fourth time to let Council know she is tired. "There is an answer and you have it. Let your conscience be your guide and your character dictate doing the right thing. Be just and treat us fairly. I know I've probably been a thorn in your side, and I have put pressure on you. But persistence pays off. Please allow us to keep a piece of Oberlin's history intact, keep our conservation overlay in place." She refers to Octavia Rainey: she said we aren't throw-away people and our race, culture and history should be respected. Remember Oberlin Village. Don't include us with Cameron Village. 

9:13: Rebecca Ryan, an Oberlin resident, asks Council to consider the history of Oberlin Village. A neighborhood of newly freed slaves that named itself Oberlin village, founded churches and schools. A proud community of homeowners who served Raleigh for 150 years. 

9:19: head of Cameron Village HOA supports the project.

9:19: Carmen Coffin: She has lived in neighborhood 20 years, has watched neighborhood grow. Houses get bigger, lose people bc families choose to sell to white families moving in and building big houses. My house is dwarfed by houses all around me. I might not be bale to afford to keep my house with all the big new houses. Traffic is bad too. This will be taken up again later.

9:21: Brier Creek Parkway undeveloped parcel to office mixed use. They have more conditions to add so the hearing closes and they vote in 2 weeks.

9:27: Next up, an acre of parking lot on Bloodworth Street to be rezoned to NX, 5 stories. 19 townhomes would go here, with parking in the back (not on street). Neighbors support the case, no one apposes. This passes unanimously. 

9:38: So Dickie Thompson will be our new District A Councilmember, and that concludes my blogging for tonight. 









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