I attended a meeting tonight in the 5 Points area about an organization called Community SCALE. Community SCALE’s mission is to preserve the character and integrity of Raleigh’s diverse neighborhoods. SCALE stands for Streets that connect people under a Canopy of trees with Architecture of different types & Land preserved for a neighborhood Everyone can enjoy. The website is http://communityscale.googlepages.com/. Which is now available on out Blogroll (on the right menu).
The meeting started with a brief intro about Community SCALE, saying that their main objective [for this meeting] was to create a stronger and more unified presence for neighborhoods across Raleigh and to keep those neighborhoods informed on City Council issues. The purpose of tonights meeting was to gather leaders from across Raleigh’s neighborhoods to hear about the different issues we are facing and to see if Community Scale could become an umbrella organization for all Raleigh neighborhoods to unite under.
One of the main problems folks in the 5 Points area are seeing (in addition to other parts of the city) are infill and McMansions. Older homes are being demolished and bigger homes are being build that are not characteristic with the rest of the neighborhood. The City of Raleigh’s weak tree ordinance allows large, mature trees to be leveled and is removing the tree canopy that gives neighborhoods a sense of character & community. You can learn more about the infill issue at this years Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange on September 14 & 15, 2007.
We went around the room to get an understanding of where everyone was from and listened to the variety and commonality of issues each area is facing. Related to infill, we heard things from Preservation North Carolina that stated over 600 demolition permits were issued in Raleigh within the lat five years.
We started talking about the importance of having a city council that would work to help promote and achieve the goals of this organization. One important issue is the update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comp Plan is basically the blueprints to zoning and the protection of our neighborhoods when new constructions and redevelopment request come forth. One current example is something called a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District (NCOD). This is supposed to help protect the neighborhoods character, but their are loopholes, it’s sometimes inconsistent with the Comp Plan (or contradicting), and the City doesn’t have the staff to deal with the neighborhood issues.
The group also noted the importance of appointments to boards and commissions. The appointments come from City Council and when you think about the current make-up of the Planning Commission, you can see how one-sided it is and how important getting a balanced board or commission is.
In the upcoming weeks, you, as a voter, will have a great opportunity to learn more about the At-Large City Councilors and other District seats. There are several candidates forums that you can attend to learn more about the issues.