Archive for September, 2007

Avent West Candidate Forum Notes

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Avent West Candidates Forum, Thursday September 27, 2007 7:00 PM

Please find below my notes from the Avent West Candidate’s Forum held on Thursday, September 27, 2007. Over 50 folks in attendance with all 6 At-Large candidates particiapting in the forum, plus candiates from District D (Crowder, unopposed) and District B (Koopman) where offered opening statements. If I’ve written any inaccuracies, please contact me so that I can correct them. I wrote this live during the forum and completed this post within 36 hours while the information was fresh in my head.

Candidates, City Council (At-Large). Note, they are listed in the order they were seated at the table, from left to right.

Opening Statements from other candidates

  • Thomas Crowder (District D) – important city council b/c of the comprehensive plan, growth, stress on natural resources (water), leading for a sustainable future. Economically, environmentally, and culturally sustainable future.
  • Roger Koopman (District B) – Increase impact fees, infill standard, park protection. Appreciated all support. Urged to tell your friends in District B to vote for Koopman.

Opening Statements from forum candidates

  • Baldwin – Talked about air quality, wants to learn about the issues.
  • Williams – Thanked Avent West for the invite. 11 year Raleigh resident, financial advisor. Family, active in the community. Talked about challenges and thinks a financial advisor on council would be a nice complement.
  • Tart – Talked about endorsement from The Independent. Neighborhood plan. 3 years on Raleigh Transit Authority.
  • Best – Wants to bring new ideas and new mind, young mind to the council. Talked about experience on the planning department and tenure in the State (Dept of Commerce).
  • Anderson – Charlotte native, family (wife, 2 kids). Pastor for 22 years. Engaged with civic involvement (Urban Ministries, etc.)
  • Stephenson – Incumbent At-Large councilor. Talked about working with Thomas and neighborhood leaders like Elizabeth Byrd, Ted Shear, and Jason Hibbets. Wants to continue working for neighborhoods and wants smart growth & growth to pay it’s fair share.

Question 1: What are the best mechanisms for maintaining single family neighborhood standards?

  • Anderson – sit down with community team, strong CAC, define neighborhood characteristics. Make sure that zoning and planning (through comp plan) to ensure zoning is correct for the area.
  • Best – Examine the zoning and have open hearings between stakeholders. Zoning invokes property rights. Communication in zoning, maintaining zoning, through comp plan.
  • Tart – Agrees that the comp plan and the underlying zoning is the right method. Talked about neighborhood conservation plan being successful for her Neighborhood. Talked about neighborhood moratorium for neighborhoods that want a plan (considering the current Fallon Park rezoning), communication with key.
  • Williams – Thinks that government isn’t best to handle these types of issues; handled at local level with private land use covenants.
  • Baldwin – Talked about current planning director, Mitch Silver. Believes this the comp plan is the key, The current (existing) comp plan doesn’t meet our needs. New hire for infill issue (to address current concerns). Thinks the comp plan should contain tools/procedures for better communications between home owners and developers.
  • Stephenson – Existing neighborhoods are key to Quality of Life to our city. Proud to be a part of getting the new-hire to come forward. Neighborhood conservation Overlay District (NCOD) – is a great tool for protection. Overburdened planning staff can not create new NCOD for neighborhoods that want one.

Question 2: Topic is the Rapid Growth of Raleigh. What is the right percentage, balance of impact fees, taxes, etc?

  • Baldwin – Talked about projected growth. Balance between impact fees and taxes. Supports Transfer Tax for schools. ½ cents local sales tax option may work.
  • Williams – Have infrastructure fee’s, but there is another option. Wants to stretch municipal dollar. Activity-based costing. Raleigh is not getting fair share of NCDOT / State funding for transportation.
  • Tart – Frustrating the impact fees were only increased 72% during the last city council. Thinks that a ½ cent sales tax would be a good option. Besides paying for growth, this needs to be addressed in the comp plan.
  • Best – Wants to increase impact fees 30-40% (would support that percentage). Thinks impact fees can support up to 30% of the city budget.
  • Anderson – Combination of all of above. Fees are important. Increase of impact fees, look at tax structure. (Fees for collection of trash should be maintained / adjusted for growth).
  • Stephenson – Very clear position. Supports Mayor Meekers plan, new growth pays 1/3, tax base pays 2/3rds. Have graduated impact fees.

Question 3: If you were asked to approve a rezoning request for a rezoning that doesn’t match the comp plan, what’s the criteria you would look for?

  • Best – Utilize existing relationships from planning department. Important to update the comp plan. Rezoning does not comply b/c it’s 20-years old.
  • Anderson – new comp plan, hear from community, professionals. etc. Currently a lot of inconsistencies. any deviation from what was the intent and why was it written + support from community.
  • Stephenson – agrees with previous candidates. Talked about current band-aides over the past few years, to correct the outdated plan. Talked about interpretation . Wants the new comp plan to have a new zoning code.
  • Tart – Likes the idea of the new comp plan, natural systems based. Hard to imagine what might change that would require a zoning.
  • Williams – Thinks there will be inconsistencies, believe that there is an inflexible plan, that over time, comp plan becomes less and less consistent. Adapt more flexible land use controls. Push local problems to neighborhoods, with private covenants.
  • Baldwin – Agrees that the comp plan. Zoning needs to match the comp plan. Makes building / growth more predictable. Can’t predict the future, but thinks the exception is a 100% community backed change (project) because there is an unforeseen plan.

Question 4: Would you support tiered pricing for water use for conserving water?

  • Williams – Likes the idea of bulk re-use of waste water. Do not support tiered pricing b/c it’s price discrimination.
  • Tart – Supports tiered pricing.
  • Best – Supports tiered pricing. Thinks the idea is applicable for other city services. Work with Gen. Assembly to change water laws.
  • Anderson – Thinks the crisis is an opportunity to looks at tiered pricing, water reuse / recycle. Look at more conservation efforts.
  • Stephenson – Tiered pricing makes sense. Talked about 2 distinct tiers, basic needs for human hygiene, and then everything else. Encourage conservation and innovation in water use.
  • Baldwin – Thinks there is more that we can do with water re-use. Golf courses are a huge water user. Wants to promote more water conservation education. Open to looking at tiered structure: wants a definition of the tiers, wants the impact of the users.

Question 5: Air quality. Proposal to lower smog in Raleigh?

  • Tart – Basic problem is land use. When we build new houses, encourage dense development, walkable communities. Improve transit system. Supports the rail.
  • Williams – Agrees with land use issues. Look at a more flexible land use market. Thinks this would encourage more mixed-use development. Mayors conference on climate change – trading in pollution credits for pollution rights. Go away from big buses that waste gas and go towards vans.
  • Baldwin – Air quality is a huge issue. Go back to the comp plan, this is a land use issue. Need more walkable communities, support transit, wants to look at commuter rail. Has been working (actively) with an organization called Triangle Tomorrow, who has been working on this issue.
  • Stephenson – Talked again about Mayors conference on climate change. More efficiently in city vehicles, building use (green buildings). Better quality, more sustainable development patterns.
  • Anderson – How are we efficiently using are vehicles, using better, cleaner fuels. Regionally directed and strategically placed
  • Best – Support more trees, requires more base area in land use. Look at Charlotte, how they did rail and acquired funding.

Question 6: Would you support local public financing?

  • Tart – Spent the least of any candidate, supports public financing. Is running because she listens to people.

Question 7: Position on PROP, would you add a criminal activity component to the PROP?

  • Stephenson – Strong supporter of neighborhoods. Lives in a neighborhood near the university (NSCU) which has a a higher renter ratio. Supports adding criminal elements to the PROP and making the PROP stronger for neighborhoods.

Question 8: There has been some recent criticism of CAC’s (Citizen Advisory Council), should the CAC’s mission be changed, if so, what ways?

  • Anderson – Thinks CAC’s are wonderful assets to communities. Wants to continue CAC. Change the weight of the communities voice.

Question 9: Do you believe the city should have a student housing code?

  • Baldwin – Doesn’t have an answer, but is willing to research it and get an answer to the group.

Question 10: What compels you to run for public office? What are your drivers?

  • Best – His age group is not represented on City Council. Knows what it’s like to be on city staff.

Question 11: You talked about local communities using private land use plans, what about all the homes owned by non-local owners?

  • Williams – Wants to avoid using the power of government for private land use governance, thinks private covenants are the corrective measure.

Closing Statements

  • Stephenson – Thanks citizens of AW. Proud to currently serve, will continue to serve with your vote. PROP, traffic calming, growth paying for quality growth. Conserving natural resources. Has a proven record, Sierra club endorsed.
  • Anderson – Thanks group for organizing the event. Can build bridges with people, ideas, and resources.
  • Best – Thanks for event, invitation, and thanks for attending. Brings experience with land-use planning, credits, etc. Fresh mind, fresh face with new ideas. Energy. Will be seen, will be active. Make the Best choice for Raleigh city council.
  • Tart – Reason she is here is the audience (citizens). Likes Raleighwoods, maybe even Raleigh walks. Will listen to the citizens.
  • Williams – Thanks for inviting, thanked for attending. Thinks he’s the best candidate for At-Large. Wants to exercise strong financial prudence. No special interest. Only endorsement in the race from the Wake County Tax Payers Association.
  • Baldwin – Tonight proves that she doesn’t know everything, but is eager to learn. AFL-CIO endorsed. She would like to be everyone’s second choice. (There was a previous typo here that listed Anderson, this is supposed to be Baldwin.  My Apologies.)

SWCAC October 2007 Newsletter

Friday, September 28th, 2007

The SouthWest Citizens Advisory Council (SWCAC) October 2007 newsletter is now available.

Parking and Soliciting

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

We will be knocking and a few doors to collect a few more signatures on Sunday. Your signature will indicated that your are aware the city council will consider making several streets in Trailwookd Hills parking on one side only in October.

 Those that were selling magazines in the neighborhood last week should not be here. A Raleigh permit does not give the the right to be here as we have no solociting signs posted. You may call 911 to report these incidents if you feel the need to do so.

Russ Stephenson Meet & Greet, Sept 30

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

All neighbors from the Lineberry Alliance – the Lineberry Drive and Trailwood Drive area – are invited for a meet and greet with City of Raleigh At-Large Candidate, Russ Stephenson.

Join us on Sunday, September 30, 2007 between 3:00 – 5:00 PM for Wine, Appetizers, and Neighbors. Come by anytime to meet Russ, learn about the issues, and meet some of your neighbors.

We know you are all very busy and we hope to see you there, even if you can only come for a short time, your support is appreciated.

Five Points & Fallon Park Rezoning

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

On Tuesday September 18, 2007, I attended the public hearing for Raleigh City Council and Planning Commission to consider rezoning 140 properties in the Five Points and Fallon Park areas. The rezoning is calling for a downgrade of R-6 and R-10 areas to R-4. The house was packed with citizens and property owners from both sides of the issue.

First, we got an overview of the rezoning request from staff which explained the areas requested for down-zoning.  Then those in favor gave their arguements, pleading that they want to maintain the character of the neighborhood and this is the only tool they currently have.  Those opposed got to speak, claiming limitations on property value growth and loss of options like subdividing or house additions.

For me, I think this is a really neat issue.  Again, it boils down to property rights vs. community rights and where is the right balance?

Here is a small article in the N&O about the debate:

    UPHA Candidate Forum Notes

    Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

    Please find below my notes from the University Park Candidate’s Forum held on Monday, September 17, 2007. Over 50 folks in attendance with 8 candidates from the upcoming October election. If I’ve written any inaccuracies, please contact me so that I can correct them. I wrote this live during the forum and completed this post within 24 hours while the information was fresh in my head.

    Candidate Attendees & Opening remarks

    • Anne McLaurin
      • School Board (unopposed)
      • Looking to improve one of the largest school systems in the nation, focus on
    • Thomas Crowder (District D – unopposed)
      • PROP, 6 new Environmental Inspectors, 7 new RPD officers (in D26)
      • Future for next 20 years: Comp Plan
    • Mary-Ann Baldwin (At-Large)
      • 19-year resident of Raleigh (Lived in University Park
        for 5 years – but was never a member of the UPHA)
      • moved here for many reasons that you and I live here
      • Marketing & Communications professional
      • Community involvement – non profit, economic development committee
    • David Williams (At-Large)
      • 11-year resident or Raleigh
      • Financial advisor (planning and advisement)
      • Strong fiscal conservative, taxes/spending constraints (focus on home ownership / fixed-income)
      • Volunteer at several organizations
    • Paul Anderson (At-Large)
      • Been in Raleigh since 1985, currently a pastor
      • Currently on Planning Commission, Board of Urban Ministries
      • Maintain quality of life for residents
    • Russ Stephenson (At-Large, incumbent)
      • Went up through the ranks, Planning Commission, currently At-Large
      • How can we continue to grow? Thinks growth should pay it’s fair share, currently they pay 15% and thinks that growth should pay more (85%). Conserving natural resources, community improvements.
    • Helen Tart (At-Large)
      • Involved because of the Hillsborough St. Partnership. Make it easier for neighborhoods to get together and talk to the city. Strong support of the environment, concerned with the comp plan (based on natural systems) and this may get lost in the process.
    • Will Best (At-Large)
      • Former employee of planning department
      • Dept of Commerce, planning & policy issues

    Questions 1: 2 Things they would like to accomplish.

    1. McLaurin – a) funding issues in school system, keeping up with growth; where does this money come from b) get back to business of educating.
    2. Crowder – a) strengthen the PROP, criminal activity (landlord license) & Front Yard Parking b) develop a comp plan to address a sustainable city, economically & environmentally.
    3. Baldwin – a) development of the new comp plan (to address growth issue) with a focus on continued sprawl, with good (vertical) infill. Preserve watershed, balance of commercial and residential b) currently do not sit down with other municipal folks like county commissioners, this needs improvement for broader vision
    4. Williams – a) environmental protection, Dix park; protection of green space b) tax restraint & better municipal control (thinks there is a spending problem)
    5. Anderson – a) growth; how to grow, comp plan, inclusion of green space b) transportation – regional view
    6. Stephenson – a) growth (urban planning professional) track record with growth; grow intelligently b) Sierra club has supported Russ on protection of natural resources
    7. Tart – agrees with other candidates on growth & natural res. a) support of CAC’s b) 5 year transit plan (past chair of transit authority)
    8. Best – a) re-evaluate & re-write parts of the comp plan (focus on smart infill) b) in 2005, 100k residents were ages 18-35, wants representation of his age group.

    Question 2: Children not doing well in a current school system; how do we improve?
    McLaurin – use prediction of those who might be suspended, use that to identify where help is needed; school system should partner with dealing with children who need additional assistance

    Question 3: Proposal to deal with FYP (Front Yard Parking)?
    Crowder – currently no regulation on FYP, with no enforcement. Get a 16-foot drive (designated parking area) and allow 300 sq ft. extra (that’s it)

    Question 4: Campaign financing and contributions?
    Baldwin – explained contributions from a broad base of support. Made comparisons of “development” backed funding to other candidates.

    Question 5: Financial house in order?
    Williams – activity-based costing (stretch municipal dollars); lots of investments, water, roads, but wants to protect quality of life. Get value to tax dollar. Realize efficiency. Has a problem with the convention center as a city supported item on the budget (rushed into).

    Question 6: In Favor of Tax Increment Financing (for North Hills parking deck)?
    Anderson – No; not in favor of TIF for the north hills parking deck. Typically used in blighted areas. City does not have a policy for using TIF, needs to create a policy and focused on areas of blight/need.

    Question 7: What are the arguments against increasing impact fees?
    Stephenson – disclaims that raising IF’s hurt home ownership (supports a graduated impact fee based on dwelling size)

    Question 8: Improve bus service?
    Tart – Make the buses run on time; re-align schedules; half cents sales tax dedicated for transportation.

    Question 9: What guidelines could be put in place to improve quality of life in neighborhoods?
    Best – Proper zoning, b/c it addresses property right. In-fill; height restrictions. need better zoning and requirements, which now needs stricter rezoning. Size of lot zoning.

    Question 10: School planning
    McLaurin – has not been enough planning; get more municipalities to talk and provide better planning with large and small scale projects. Focus on location, town and school board decision.

    Question 11: Impact Fees

    • Crowder – at least double impact fees (personally triple them) and work to incentives; meet the urban design guidelines, water conservation
    • Baldwin – supports impact fees; but has issues with tripling them. talked about district c and mortgage crisis. concerned with graduated fees (requires study)
    • Williams – does not support impact fees; wants to look at stretching municipal dollars
    • Anderson – in favor of IF, graduated fees, does not know the magic number right now
    • Stephenson – supports infrastructure investments; get impact fees in-line with surrounding areas like Cary
    • Tart – agrees on increasing fess; pay for past and future growth; like the idea of graduated fees.
    • Best – thinks looking at Cary may be a mistake (talked about their loss in revenue)

    Question 12: Local school lost magnet status.
    McLaurin – would like to re-magnetize the school; but there may be a lot or work there

    Question 13: Most important changes to the comp plan?
    Crowder – loosing 50 acres land /per day in Wake County; multi-nodal transportation system (greenways), look at urban-based code (UDG), neighborhood centers, regulate it, enforce it.

    Question 14: Better communication with legislature?
    Baldwin – currently have a rural legislature; needs to meet on a regular basis (perhaps quarterly)

    Question 15: How to fund the Dix property?
    Williams – general obligation bonds, not support TIF. Gov’t owes Raleigh money.

    Question 16: Support policies that protect natural resources, LEED design?
    Anderson – look at more buildings being greener; helps with air quality.

    Question 17: Endorsed by Sierra club – what can a city councilor do to improve environment?
    Stephenson – it’s a global issue. Thinks the city can help reduce green house gases, using renewable energy resources, land use patterns, more trees, climate protection agreement.

    Battery ran out. There were a few more questions that went through and then closing remarks.

    RNE – Session Review

    Monday, September 17th, 2007

    I spent my Saturday morning on September 15, 2007 at the 4th Annual Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange (RNE); an event that any HOA Board members, community leader, or curious citizen should have attended. The caliber of folks who attended, the variety of topics, the knowledge experts who presented, the low cost, the location, all factors as to why someone like yourself missed out on a great opportunity.

    I arrived shortly after 8:00 am and was quickly registered. I mingled around the display room where there were numerous booths ranging from recycling, Fire Department, Costco, to RPD. All very inviting, not intrusive.

    The first session I attended was the Infill! Refill! Overfill! session lead by Phil Poe (RCAC Chair) and Ken Bowers (Deputy Planning Director, Raleigh Planning Department). This is a really hot topic lately considering several media outlets covering the debate over the issue, such as the N&O who printed articles over the weekend:

    I learned a great deal from both presenters including definitions, statistics, and where the issue is now. The majority of the infill seems to be happening north of downtown, south of the beltline. An area that you and I would often refer to as 5-Points. McMansions are popping up left and right, mature trees are disappearing quickly. But what the issue seems to really boil down to is property rights vs. community rights. Point in case, does the impact of your neighbors home have an effect on your quality of life and the character of the neighborhood as a whole? Something that should be considered that the real estate market has no “rules” for per se.

    So where does this issue stand? I learned that all infill is not bad. In fact, Planning Departments consider infill good growth. Why? Typical infill projects will come in and possibly tear down an older dwelling and replace it with something newer. Something more energy efficient (pending sq. footage & materials), something with a higher taxable base, and more importantly, something already connected to existing infrastructure (water, sewer, schools, roads, etc.). The problem? An infill project out of character with the other homes surrounding it that can potentially have impacts on gentrification (affordable housing), quality of life, and even sun/shade impacts from removed trees or building heights. Even more so, residents are seeing homes that dwarf surrounding structures in square footage & setbacks and may possibly disrupt the historic nature of the neighborhood.

    The solution? None so far. This is a nation-wide issue and Raleigh is just one city among others like Atlanta, Austin, LA, and Charlotte dealing with this. The City of Raleigh Planning Department is hiring a full-time person dedicated to this topic of concern. We were fortunate enough to have Mitch Silver, CoR Planning Director in attendance who added his expertise to the topic. The City is planning on moving forward with a four-phase approach: 1) Scope 2) Best Practices Review 3) Recommendation and 4) Adoption of Processes. And they want public input, according to Silver.

    Interested? If you are, there are two things coming up. First off, on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 there is a public hearing for a rezoning case in Fallon Park at City Hall. It starts at 6:30pm and I can almost wager that a good crowd will be in attendance. Second, there is a meeting on the update of the Comprehensive Plan on October 25, 2007 more details to follow, but a chance for you to participate.

    I didn’t mean to spend so much time on that topic, but it’s an important issue. It doesn’t quite effect the Lineberry area now, but this is something that could impact us in the future. The outcome now could result in a better quality of life for our area in the years to come. It’s interesting to pay attention and understand the issues from both sides. It’s also important that you understand which At-large candidates support which side of the issue for the upcoming October 2007 election.

    At 9:50am I attended a session entitled Will Raleigh Run Dry? Well, if you’re curious, the answer is NO. The session went into details about the Neuse Rive basin and the planning efforts from our Public Utilities Department. We saw historical data as well as projected data. The fact that we are in a severe drought right now is a good time to heighten awareness of conservation efforts that you should be taking. Understanding why watering your grass has such a huge impact on the amount of water that needs to be processed and how you can reduce that amount is important.

    I thought it was really neat to understand the entire process which took me back to middle school science and reminded me of the responsibilities of home ownership & water conservation.

    The last session I attended was a Fraud Forum. There were numerous topics presented here ranging from Medicare fraud (insurance) to investment fraud and monies that may be yours to identify theft. I have an abundance of information from this session and will request the the officers from PRR-Watch consider this as a hot topic during our annual meeting in February 2008.

    So that’s pretty much it from the sessions. I heard the Environmental & Financial Benefits of Urban Trees session was also a good one to attend. After the sessions concluded, it was time for lunch and time to listen to the lunch keynote speaker, North Carolina Secretary of State, Elaine F. Marshall. After the keynote, elected officials Russ Stephenson (At-Large) and Jesse Taliaferro (District B) were recognized for their apperances as well as At-Large Candidates Roger Koopman and Helen Tart.

    Overall, attending the Fourth Annual Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange was a great use of my time. I wish more of my neighbors saw the same value and had the chance to attend. Everyone is busy and has certain obligations, but this is one event that is already on my calendar for next year.

    RNE – Keynote Dinner with Jim Diers

    Sunday, September 16th, 2007

    September is neighborhoods month here in Raleigh, what a more appropriate way to celebrate neighborhoods month than with a city-wide Neighborhood Exchange. This is the fourth annual Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange and it was held at NC State’s McKimmon Center of September 14th and 15th, 2007.

    On Friday evening September 14, 2007, Jim Diers was the keynote speaker at the RNE dinner. Jim Diers teaches courses about community-driven development at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also has a book, “Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way” which comes highly recommended and has gotten great reviews.
    Diers spoke with us this evening about Asses-Based community development and brought numerous examples of grassroots community organizations. He is passionate about his work in the community and is very motivating.

    Attendees of the Neighborhood Exchange got a special treat on Saturday afternoon, September 15, 2007. Jim Diers provided a special presentation which he labeled as the nuts and bolts, 5 Ways to Expanding Community Engagements. The high level ways are:

    1. Have Fun
    2. Start Where the People Are
    3. Don’t Sit on your Assets
    4. Celebrate Success and Recognize Caring Neighbors
    5. Share Stories

    But honestly, Diers adds such color and provides real, neighborhood examples that bring these topics to life. For example, when he talks about starting where the people are, he mentions starting with their block, their networks, their language & culture, their call, and/or their passions.

    When Diers spoke about sitting on Assets, he makes several great points. Every community has an abundance of resources. Every individual has a gift. A gift of smarts (subject matter experts), a gift or passion, or a gift with their hands. He talked about the labels that people tend to give people: renters, immigrants, teenagers, homeless, disables, unemployed, elderly, etc.  These labels add negativity and deter neighborhood development.  So if you are reading this, what asset can you provide to your community? Maybe your neighborhood leaders don’t know how to ask or didn’t think that you were interested.  You can add value and I am interested in hearing what you can bring to the community.
    My biggest takeaway is that it’s not all about meetings. I already new this, but Diers really drove the point home. Looking back at asset-based community development, each person has something different to add to their community. I know for a fact that the Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate Community Watch program has been trying to achieve this. We provide numerous activities for people to participate, besides the 4 meetings that we hold throughout the year. We have our annual Street Sweep event, Yard Sale, Shredding Event volunteer opportunities, Cookie Exchange, and we are looking to provide other ways to participate.  PRR-Watch has a  goal is to provide a variety of ways for our neighbors to participate, contribute, and lead in our neighborhood.

    The RNE Friday Keynote by Jim Diers was a great use of my time and I found a ton of value in the special presentation from Diers on Saturday afternoon.  I hope that the neighbors from our area that attended found the same value.

    SWCAC Recap – September 2007

    Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

    Another interesting Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) meeting tonight. We went over the police report with Officer Upchurch. This past month, things of interest were low volume in animal calls, 58 Loud Music/Party Calls (Brent Rd.), and 9 parking violations. Officer Upchurch fielded questions from the audience, where there was some extended discussion about the recent gunshots in Pleasant Ridge. Take-away: if you hear gunshots or fire works, call 911 to report them immediately. Both are illegal in the city limits and with our recent drought conditions, fire works pose an even greater danger to starting fires.

    Next, Nicky Brewster gave the report from Parks & Rec. Falls classes are starting soon. There is an “Escape Day” on September 24th. There is a Skate Day for ages 5 & up on October 5, 2007 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Lastly, it’s Carolina Pines birthday on October 6, 2007. Stop by CP for some cake and goodie prizes for the kids.

    Next, we had a presentation from Raleigh Parks & Rec about the upcoming Parks Bonds. Wow, there is bunch of stuff on the parks bond. And only one item in our area, $700,000 for Carolina Pines. There is money for Park Land Acquisition, but no mention of specifics (i.e. the park we’ve asked for at Sierra Drive and Lineberry Drive). Lots of great questions from the audience, so it was a great opportunity for you to find out all the info on the bond. [Opinion] The park bond seems pretty fair and spread evenly throughout the city, but no major benefits to our area.

    For more information, see: Proposed 2007 Parks and Greenway Bond Referendum

    Next, we had a really great presentation from Jane Thurman about the preservation of city-owned, historic cemeteries, which include Mount Hope (which is located in SWCAC). They have some lofty, but achievable goals. You can find out more at There is a fundraiser on October 11 ($35) if you are interested.

    After the great presentation on our city cemeteries, we covered new and old business.

    There September CAC newsletter is available here.

    Temporary Road Closing on Lineberry Drive

    Monday, September 10th, 2007

    Residents and business owners received notice this morning that Lineberry Drive will be temporarily closed from Ramsgate Street to Alder Ridge Lane beginning Wednesday, Sep 12, 2007 to Friday Sep 14, 2007 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Holmes Contracting is completing the Lineberry Drive Street Improvements that the Lineberry Alliance requested from City Council.  When the project is complete, the neighborhood will have curb, gutter, and sidewalk along portions between Broad Oaks Townhomes and Alder Ridge Lane.

    If there are any questions or concerns, here are folks that can be contacted:

    • Holmes Contracting, Inc. (919) 851-5897
    • Saeed Ghori, City of Raleigh Project Engineer (919) 890-3030