Archive for August, 2007

Community SCALE – How to Deal with the Infill?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

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.

Lineberry & Sierra Resurfacing

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Please watch out for temporary no parking signs on August 29, 30, and 31, 2007 while parts of Lineberry Drive and Sierra Drive are resurfaced under the City of Raleigh’s resurfacing and maintenance program.  Do not park in these areas or your car will get towed.  Please use extra precautions when crews are working on improving these streets.

Stage 1 Water Restrictions Take Effect August 28

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Due to recent drought conditions, the City Of Raleigh is implementing Stage 1 water conservation plan use restrictions effective Tuesday, August 28, 2007. For more info about these increased restrictions click on the following links:

Thoughts: It’s time to seriously think about if watering grass is more important than having drinking water available or even water just coming out of the faucet to do the daily things we are used to doing.

Important – the Stage 1 Chart indicate that watering is now restricted not only by days, but also by time. Please pay attention to the days and times on when you can water and water type of watering can be done, i.e. sprinkler vs. handheld.

UPHA Candidate’s Forum

Monday, August 27th, 2007

A message from University Park President, Donna Bailey.

A candidates forum, similar to the one posted in Let’s Meet the Candidates for October  is being sponsored by UPHA.  The forum will be held on Monday September 17, 2007 at Brooks Church of Christ, on the corner of Brooks and Rosedale.  Dinner will be served at 6:00 PM and the forum starts at 7:00 PM.

This is a great opportunity for you to meet the candidates that will effect the upcoming City Council.  If you can’t make it to the Avent West forum, try to make it to the UPHA forum.  Or try to attend both.  Your attendance is important.

Lineberry Construction Notification

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Letters were handed out today to some neighbors in the Lineberry Drive & Ramsgate Street area from Henry Hardy, President of Holmes Contracting, Inc.  The letter indicates that the City of Raleigh has awarded the annual street improvement project to Holmes Contracting Company.  We will soon begin to see construction activity on Lineberry Drive.  They pledge to exercise caution at all time for our protection and for the protection of everyone’s property.  The crews will attempt to minimize damage to trees, shrubs, lawns, and gardens.

This is due to the street improvement petition submitted to Raleigh requesting curb, gutter, and sidewalk along Lineberry Drive from Broad Oaks (near Joanne Drive) to Trailwood Hills (near Alder Ridge Lane).  If I remember correctly, curb, gutter & sidewalk will be added to the west side of Lineberry between the Broad Oaks property and Alder Ridge.  Sidewalk will also be added to the east side of Lineberry between Alder Ridge and Ramsgate.

Project Questions? Contact:

  • City of Raleigh Project Engineer, Saeed Ghori – (919) 890-3030
  • Holmes Construction Office (919) 851-5897

Raleigh On-line Crime Mapping Now Available

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

The following press release was sent to me from Jim Sugrue, Public Information Officer Raleigh Police Department. I went to Raleigh City Council on June 6, 2005 to ask for a public version of COMPSTAT. Today, I’m happy to get this announcememt from RPD and Raleigh’s IT Department. Crime statistics at the fingertips for Raleigh citizens will go a long way for crime prevention in our communities.

The Raleigh Police Department and the GIS Division of the City of Raleigh’s IT Department have partnered to provide on-line crime mapping to the public. The crime mapping will be provided through the Wake County and City of Raleigh iMAPS site, which is familiar to many people who have used it to find other governmental data.

“We are all pleased to provide this service to the public,” said Interim Chief of Police Kent Sholar. “People often want to know about crimes occurring in and around their neighborhoods and at other locations. The iMAP data will provide them with an easy and convenient way to get that information.”

The iMAP crime mapping will provide 30-days of data on the Part I crimes of arson, motor vehicle thefts, larcenies, burglaries, aggravated assaults, robberies and homicides. Rape reports will not appear to help protect the identities of rape victims. Check boxes allow users to turn on or turn off specific crimes and other data layers.

The crime-mapping link is:

Crime mapping is among the tools used daily by the Raleigh Police Department to monitor incidents and address criminal patterns.

Initially, the crime data will be updated twice weekly, on Mondays and Thursday. After experience is gained with the site, daily updates will be made Mondays through Friday.

The mapping system uses the GIS system to geo-locate reported incidents along the street centerline GIS database by site address. The data contains all the streets in Wake County along with an address block range for each street segment. When incidents are geo-located, the GIS system interpolates the address and mathematically determines where it would fall along a street block range. The crime incidents are then geo-located as icons on the map to approximate locations along a street segment. The icons may not fall exactly on the property of the reported incident.

As users zoom in to areas, case numbers related to individual icons will appear. When zoomed in closely, (a scale of 1″=825′ or less), users can see additional information about the incident by clicking on the identify tool (“i” button) located on the top-left of the page. Then, when icon for an incident is clicked, additional information about the report will appear on the right side of the screen. That information includes:

  • Incident number – RPD case number for the incident
  • Offense – Crime category description
  • Incident date – The date the incident occurred
  • Day – The incident date day of the week
  • Beat – The RPD Police Beat for the incident
  • District – The RPD Police District for the incident
  • LCR code description – Full description of the LCR code
  • LCR code – Local crime reporting (LCR) code associated with the incident
  • LCR Group – Category grouping for the LCR codes
  • Contact – RPD District for that incident

A help document found on the iMAPS crime-mapping page provides information about the crime-mapping system and includes telephone numbers for police districts. Residents can call the districts to ask for or provide information about a reported incident. The link to the help document is: http://imaps.co.wake.nc.us/imaps/RPD_imaps.htm

General and helpful information related to the iMAPS site can be found at: http://imaps.co.wake.nc.us/imaps/default.asp

Let’s meet the candidates for October

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Your vote is important this upcoming October. Believe it or not, you have the power, by your vote, to elect four seats on the Raleigh City Council. Those seats are the Mayor, District D Councilor, and two At-Large candidates. And guess what? Five votes are needed to pass something through City Council. Your vote is needed. District D needs to show the rest of Raleigh that we care about the quality of life for our district and throughout the city. So here’s a great chance to get to know the issues and the candidates.

The Avent West Neighborhood Association is hosting a Raleigh Candidates Forum on September 27, 2007 at 7:00 pm. The forum will be at the Western Blvd Presbyterian Church on Kaplan Drive. An invitation to District D Neighborhoods, Communities, & CAC’s south of Western Blvd has been extended to the Lineberry Alliance and all neighborhoods in our area.

The purpose of the forum is to offer citizens an opportunity to become more familiar and educated with those wanting to make decisions and rules that will affect and guide Raleigh in the coming years. All candidates will be invited to the forum.

A moderator, who will ask candidates questions provided by our communities, will run the forum in a timely manner. A social meet and greet will begin at 6:30 pm and the forum will begin sharply at 7:00 pm, ending no later than 9:00 pm.

Be prepared to vote. Get registered if you’re not, find out much more information from the Board of Elections:

Trailwood Hills looks for safer parking

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

On Thursday, August 16, 2007, I was invited to a meeting for the Trailwood Hills HOA held at 7:00 PM at Carolina Pines. The hot topic – parking on Trailwood Hills Drive, Laurel Falls Lane and other streets that are overcrowded with parked cars.

Sheryl Roberts lead the meeting and kicked off with introductions to the HOA board. There were probably about 20-25 people in attendance. Special guest included City Councilor (District D) Thomas Crowder, RPD District 26 Captain, C. M. Mise, and City of Raleigh Public Works Transportation Analyst, Audrey Mise.

The overview of the situation is that Laurel Falls Lane basically turns into a one-way street when cars park on both sides. This makes it impassable at times for school buses and emergency vehicles like ambulances & fire trucks. The overall concern is for the public well-being in the event of an emergency, the ability to for emergency vehicles to respond to a 911 call.

There was some great discussion both for and against the proposal to convert the streets to parking on one-side only. In my eyes, the issue was boiling down to convenience versus safety. Safety wins in this case. On the other hand, it’s easy to understand why someone feels they have a right to park in front of their house, but on a 22-foot street when cars are parking on both sides and the street turns impassable at times, the issue of safety comes into play.

Adding to the complication of the problem are households with 4, 6, even up to 9 vehicles parking overnight. Some residents choose not to use their driveway and only park in the street. Other residents have chosen to convert the garage into household use, therefore eliminating valuable parking spaces. There is even drop-off car pooling going on. People have been seen parking their cars in Trailwood Hills and being picked up by a roommate or friend to drive to another neighborhood in the Lineberry area. Additionally, organizations from other neighborhoods in the area have new parking rules and others have started to implement more strict enforcement.

Laurel Falls Lane

If you look at the core of the issue, we can question the reasoning behind development installing a street that is 22 feet. The intension is that this situation typically works in a single family residence where care are being parked in their garages and in their driveways. The cases where there are multiple homes with 4 or more cars creates a huge use case that was outside the scope of the original intention.

So what is the solution? Well, Captain Mise did a drive-by around 3:00 PM earlier in the day and stated that he had to weave through Laurel Falls Lane and even had to stop to let another car through. His suggestions is that No Parking should be placed on one side of the street. This solution has worked in other parts of the city.

Thomas Crowder offered the same solution and even suggested parking permits, similar to the program at University Park neighborhood on Hillsborough Street (by NC State campus) to resolve the drive-by car pooling issue. Audrey Mise offered great information about the necessary steps to initiate the no parking processes & safety inspections and was equipped with much needed subject expertise.

In the end, the few in opposition came around and embraced the proposed solutions and I got the impression that everyone left on a positive note.

The action being taken is as follows: The HOA Board is going to request a safety evaluation from the Fire and Police Departments. This will most likely result in a recommendation to impose parking on one-side only for the smaller 22-foot roads like Laurel Falls Lane, Appalachian Drive, and others. Captain Mise stated that if the no parking signs are installed, he will enforce them. A petition will be going around the Trailwood Hills neighborhood and the neighbors can spell out if they agree or disagree with the no parking proposal. The petition, along with the safety evaluation will go to City Council to be voted on.

Additionally, the board is looking to implement no parking along Trailwood Hills Drive from Lineberry Road to at least Laurel Falls Lane (possibly extending this a few houses around the curve) to increase safety. Most drivers seem to agree that with cars parked near this intersection, it creates blind spots and unsafe conditions.

SWCAC Recap – August 2007

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

There was a pretty decent turnout for the SWCAC meeting on August 13, 2007 at Carolina Pines.  The meeting kicked off with a review of police stats by officer Upchurch.  A few questions from the attendees.  Then Nicky Brewster provided a run down of what’s going on for Parks & Rec.

Our first guest speaker this evening was current At-Large City Councilor, Joyce Kekas.  She provided an oversight as to what an At-Large councilor does and spoke about her experience on the council.  After her brief talk, she opened the floor to questions.

Our next speaker was Edward Buchan, Raleigh Water Conservation Specialist.  He provided an overview of the new water restrictions and explained the new rules.  He also indicated that Raleigh would probably announce Stage 1 restrictions if the current drought intensifies.  Lots of good questions were asked after the presentation.

The meeting wrapped up with a few announcements including a reminder about the Volunteer opportunity at Carolina Pines on Saturday for the dog park and an announcement for the Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange which is on Friday September 14, 2007 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm and on Saturday September 15, 2007 from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm (with registration starting at 7:45 am) at the McKimmon Center on Gorman Street.

4th Annual Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Neighborhoods month, September, is right around the corner. For the fourth year, Raleigh will host it’s neighborhood exchange, an effort to create informed citizens in each community. Every neighborhood from the Lineberry area should have a representative attend. The cost is low, and the value is high. Topics this year include:

  • Infill! Refill! Overfill?
  • Will Raleigh Run Dry
  • Environmental & Financial Benefits of Urban Trees
  • Organizing Your Community
  • Fraud Forum
  • Topics for the Latino Community
  • Teen Topics (first 40 teens free)

Not only are there a good set of topics to learn about, scheduled for the Friday dinner Keynote is Jime Diers, an expert in building communities. Also, the Saturday lunch Keynote speaker is The Honorable Elaine F. Marshall, Secretary of State.

Regsiter by August 24th, 2007 and save $10. The cost to attend if $15 before early registration and $25 after the deadline. For more information and registration details, visit the Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange – Many Neighborhoods . . . One Raleigh! page today!

The event will be held on Friday September 14, 2007 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm and on Saturday September 15, 2007 from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm (with registration starting at 7:45 am) at the McKimmon Center on Gorman Street.