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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Welcome to the INDY's Raleigh City Council Live Blog

Posted by on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 1:04 PM

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Hello, Tuesday, hope you all had a safe and merry Fourth of July and that your pets aren't too traumatized by the noise from the fireworks. 

Today at city council, manager Ruffin Hall will give an update on the upcoming Destination Dix festival happening in the "Big Field" at Dix park on July 23 from 10 a.m. to 7. It will surely be lit. Also, from my corner of the city, Council will consider renaming Lee Street Park in southeast Raleigh to "Junious N. Sorrell Park," after Mr. Sorrell, who has volunteered and advocated for the park for more than thirty years. The Parks board will present its annual work plan, too. 

Other than that there's not a lot of action this afternoon but you will definitely want to follow the blog tonight, where a ministry wants to open up shop right next to the Preferred Women's Health Center on Jones Franklin Road. Women will be harassed, but you know, the First Amendment; the council might not have much of a choice. 

1:09 p.m.: Mayor Nancy calls the meeting to order. Diane Sauer, parks director, is up here for "Play Day" proclamation. New campaign: "Your Parks, Your Stories." They're encouraging Raleigh-ites to visit the city's parks and share their stories.

1:13: Jackie Craig from the Green Chair Project, a nonprofit, is here. The group has been around for six years and provides furnishings for people after homelessness, crisis, immigration, kids aging out of foster care. They're providing beds to kids who need them here in Raleigh, and got a grant from the city to pick up most needed furniture items for their participants. Pretty simple items: couch, tables and chairs, dressers. They'll pick up twice a month for free.

1:19: MAB says the group is very deserving because they work with many different groups and make peoples' dreams come true. She and Mayor Nancy have donated a lot to the group. Thompson praises their business model, RS is involved through Wade CAC.

1:22: No items approved from the consent agenda, it's approved. Planning Commission report. Two developers are requesting waivers for rezoning. If a rezoning case fails, a developer has to wait two years before submitting a new filing. This would allow council to waive that waiting period in two cases, including one for a developer who wants to re-submit plans for student housing at the corner of Varsity and Avent Ferry. 

1:28: There's another developer who wants to re-apply to open up another storage facility in North Raleigh. It was approved for small office use originally, but the developer wants reapply for rezoning for storage. MAB says she's fine with moving forward with the waiver, but not saying she's going to vote for either case. Council approves the waivers for both cases.

1:30: Steve Schuster thanks the county for allowing him to serve as chairman for last two years. He will still be on the Planning Commission but they're electing new leaders. Council thanks him for his service, especially guiding them through the UDO process. 

1:32: Manager's report. Rich Kelly is the city's new engineering services director. "We're excited about his leadership." Up now: Destination Dix.

1:33: Kate Pearce. leading the planning of the party, is here to speak. "It's an opportunity to welcome the community to what will become a great park for the city and citizens of Raleigh." There will be music, activities and entertainment; hopefully the weather will correspond. There are three bands playing, a variety of music headlined by Chatham County line. There will also be kids activities, including inflatables and water supplies and city vehicles for kids who like cars. There will be tethered hot air balloon rides (awesome!) and a Ferris wheel so people can see the whole park. It's to get people thinking about what they want for the future. Beer an food trucks, picnic areas. There will be free water and misting tents/cooling stations. And there will be seven pick-up stations to transport people there from parking spaces downtown and on Centennial campus. They really thought of everything. Oaks and Spokes will be there doing bike things, and people are encouraged to walk and ride.

1:36: A lot of people have been involved to bring this to life. The Dix Park Conservancy and 15 other local businesses are sponsoring this free event, so beyond staff time, it's not cost to the city. 

1:37: No one has questions, just get the word out about it. Parks, Recreation and Greenways advisory board is reporting. 

1:38: First item is renaming Lee Street Park after Mr. Sorrell. The board unanimously recommended the name change because of Mr. Sorrell's advocacy and involvement since 1982. He gave equipment,  collected toys for kids and cleaned the park daily. The board chair says he thinks this is a really important change. "Mr. Sorrell has made Lee Street Park his life's mission to watch over," he says. He opened and closed the park for year, spent several hours and persona resources on the park. 

1:41: Corey Branch moves to rename the park, and the council approves unanimously. Next: the work plan, which is "extremely busy." Council approves "fiscal approval." And council just approved the design for Sierra/Lineberry Drive Park. Though Thompson would like to see the presentation. 

1:43: Matt Keough is presenting those plans. It's a 2.4 acre park in southwest Raleigh. The design is ready and if approved, will allow permits to move forward. There will be tree conservation areas, though some invasive species make that tricky. Storm water management is also a challenge: It's a full program for a small site, the consultant says. 

1:47: There will be a small shelter on the site, similar to those in other parks in Raleigh. Next steps: detailing construction documents, permitting and start and finish building in 2017. 

1:48: Committee reports are up. Or no community reports, but all will be meeting. Council member reports: David Cox says he had the pleasure of participating in a video "Can't Stop That Raleigh Feeling" where he premiers his dancing abilities. Lol. The video has more than eleven thousand views!

1:49: Corey Branch would like a summary of commissions and boards, and would like to see a summary of the direction of the boards. Info. on why they were established and their mission. Crowder says Wayne Maiorano brought up an ethics policy for the city council. She wants a group consisting of city attorneys, chief of staff, the School of Government (at UNC), a citizen rep Anthony McLeod and Wayne Maiorano to formally study ethics issues. Maiorano has agreed to serve,

1:52: Mayor Nancy says doesn't School of Government have a template for ethics policies? Why do we need a committee? Crowder says it will bring transparency. The attorney says law is clear on ethical views of council members, but Crowder wants that expanded into a code of conduct to amplify and better explain the legal side of ethics policies. The council approves Crowder's motion.

1:54: Dickie Thompson congratulates Rich Kelly. There are some vacancies on city boards. Leon Cox is appointed to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitor's Bureau. More vacancies. Terri Lomax is still nominated to the Performing Arts and Convention Center Authority. Brandy Thompson is re-appointed to the Appearance Commission. And more vacancies.

1:57: There's a real estate item slated for closed session. Mayor Nancy has a report from last closed session, authorizing a city expenditure to the Watershed Protection Program.  Meeting is adjourned to closed session, we'll be back here tonight. See you then!

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