Archive for October, 2007

Trailwood Hills Parking History & Update

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

I have been out of town for about a week and a half, and have just returned. I have been trying to catch up at work and have not been able to send a synopsis around about what has happened and how we got we where are with the parking issue. Since, this issue seems to be escalating, I will try to do it quickly now. With respect to Trailwood Hills, the reason it was requested that the parking be on the side of the street with the pool was because one of the problems is being able to see around the curve to turn onto Laurel Falls from Trailwood Hills. It can easily be changed to the other side of the street, but we went with input we had at the time and the reasons for doing it that way (I don’t feel that the statement “since the HOA is not willing to do this” is fair or accurate). When the cars are parked on the side of the street with the houses, you have a line of sight problem. This was discussed at the August meeting to which every single homeowner was invited by mail. We got the signatures of the 2nd and 3rd house on Trailwoods Hills, and sent certified mail to the other 3 houses.

Update: The City is conducting a line of sight assessment to determine which side to restrict from a safety standpoint.

The reason only certain homes were contacted was because we were told that we only needed to contact the homes that would be affected by the change. In the notice we sent by certified mail, we advised homeowners they could contact Suzie with any questions or concerns. We gave her home phone and email address. In the invitiation we sent to all homeowners about this issue being discussed at the August meeting, we also told people if they could not come, they could contact us and give their opinions/suggestions.

To my knowledge, not a single person did that. Also, at that August meeting, with the exception of 2 people, all the homeowners were for getting parking restricted to one side.

I have been on the Board since it was taken over by the homeowners (2002 I believe). Since that time, the matter of parking on Laurel Falls, and subsequently Beech Gap and App has been a topic of discussion at almost every single Board meeting. I have orchestrated 3 meetings on the matter in the last 3 years based on complaints by homeowners. The school bus being rerouted from gonig down Laurel Falls was a huge issue because if they could not fit, then it was felt neither could fire trucks or other emergency vehicles. The first was at a Board member’s home, and everyone was invited by mail. It was discussed then to make Laurel Falls parking on one side as a possible option. After trying other options, including trying to get people with room to use their driveways and garages more, and after trying to make sure there were only 4 unrelated adults per house, we circled back to restricting parking to one side.

We had another meeting to which everyone was invited by mail. This time we invited the police and a city council member. There were several items discussed at this meeting, however, one of them was the parking situation. Again, restricted parking was discussed as the solution. There seemed to be no other workable solutions. Since that time, the Board has fielded more complaints about parking, and those complaints have moved to App and Beech Gap also as the parking there has become problematic. I was scheduled to speak to City Council in August and request restricted parking on Laurel Falls (based on the 2 meetings we had had and all of the complaints).

A Board member suggested that we again poll the community and see if there were any workable alternative solutions. So, in August, we again invited the homeowners to a meeting to discuss the parking situation. We also invited the police, a parking person, and Thomas Crowder (our City Councilman). This was done so that any alternative solutions could be discussed with those that would know if they were workable, etc. At the meeting, the majority of the homeowners were for the restricted parking. As safety has always been the concern (whether emergency vehicles can get down the road) the City agreed to have the fire department do an assessment of our neighborhood and determine whether emergency vehicles could navigate through it. We were told that after they received the fire department’s recommendation, the City could then present that recommendation to City Council. We were asked to have a petition signed by the homes affected notifying them that this was under discussion and would be presented to City Council. They could write on the petition whether they were for or against.

After some Board members spent a lot of time trying to get signatures going door-to-door, we sent certified letters to the remaining affected homes advising them of the petition. Again, they were advised that could contact Suzie with concerns or questions or suggestions.

Following is an excerpt from the fire department’s assessment of Laurel Falls, and as you can see, they are advising restricting parking to one side (both sides actually, but…):

  • Results I6
  • Inspection District 503.2.1 Dimensions.
  • Remarks: Fire apparatus access roads shall have an unobstructed width of not less than 20 feet (6096 mm), except for approved security gates in accordance with Section 503.6, and an unobstructed vertical clearance of not less than 13 feet 6 inches (4115 mm).
  • The section of Laurel Falls Ln from Trailwood Hills Drive to Alder Ridge Ln narrows to a single lane with the width of approximately 10 feet 10 inches from automobile mirror to automobile mirror when vehicles are parked on each side of the street, effectively reducing access to one lane. The total street width is 25 feet 5 inches.
  • Parking on both sides of the street will prohibit access on these streets by emergency apparatus when meeting other vehicles head on. Parking only on one side may still affect fire ladder company operations. It is advised to prohibit parking at least on one side of this street and preferably both sides of each street as the minimum unobstructed width required in the NC Fire Code is 20 feet.

I then sent what we had compiled with respect to signed petitions and certified cards to the City about 2 weeks ago.

I just spoke with Ms. Mise from the City of Raleigh. The City will be doing a sight distance study on Trailwood Hills to determine where side will be safer to restrict to parking. Also, the parking restriction for Laurel Falls, App, and Beech Gap will be presented most likely at the first meeting in December. The City has sent letters to the homes that did not sign the petition or sign for their certified letter advising them of this. These petitions, certified letters, and City letters were only sent to the affected homes.

I apologize for the confusion and I am sorry it has come to an email debate. However, I also feel that the Board has tried to inform homeowners of meetings and tried to get homeowner feedback on issues that affect the neighborhood. I am sorry if people feel they are not being informed of goings on, but we really are trying. Trying to keep up with different listserves and the website and blogs has been too much for us. We will discuss at the next Board meeting trying to keep up only the website, and trying to keep current information on it about issues.


City Planning 2030 Kickoff

Friday, October 26th, 2007

The Planning Raleigh 2030 project kickoff was held at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The gathering began around 7:00 PM with a mix of City Council members, citizens, developers, city staff, & media.  If I had to guess, I’d say at minimum 200 people in attendance.  Lots of familiar faces from the neighborhoods that I work with through District D and other parts of the city.

The kickoff began with some words from Mitch Silver, Planning Director, and Mayor Meeker.  Also speaking were the project lead from the consulting firm HNTB and Deputy Planning Director, Ken Bowers.  The 18-month timeline was reviewed and Mr. Bowers made three promises: 1) Transparency 2) Accountability and 3) Performance

The next steps include several citywide workshops from Nov 13-15 at various locations around the city . The closest one for us at the NCSU McKimmon Conference and Training Center, 1101 Gorman Street from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Wednesday, November 14, 2007.

Lots more information is at

Media Coverage:

The cool factor in all this, the information will be kept transparent throughout the process and you (yes you reading this) can contribute and participate.  Revising the comprehesive plan and creating a vision for a growing city does not happen that often.  What an exciting time for our city.

CPLI Leadership Panel

Friday, October 26th, 2007

On the evening of Thursday, October 24, 2007, I participated in a panel discussion for the Citizens’ Participation Leadership Institute held on the campus of Shaw University.

CPLI is program that the City of Raleigh Community Services Department coordinates for community leaders.  Kevin Smith, Community Specialist asked me to participate and to give the class an idea of what it is like on the “front lines” of community leading.  I talked about how I got involved with “Paving the future on Lineberry Drive,” the helping to build the foundation for the Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate Community Watch and then my involvement with the Lineberry Alliance.  I also addressed many of their questions about some of the struggles we are still trying to overcome and also shared the vision for Lineberry Park.

When asked for one piece of advice, I gave them several tidbits.  Don’t let a good idea die (thinking about the online crime mapping initiative), don’t get burned out (time management, family, etc.), and stay passionate about your community.

Evergreen Avenue Oct 24 Meeting

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

This evening (Oct 24, 2007) I attended a meeting for the Evergreen Avenue Neighborhood Association (EANA). Andy, their neighborhood advocate, invited me to share some of the things going on in the Lineberry Alliance. I was glad to attend and share our successes, ideas, and struggles.

Evergreen Avenue

I gave a brief overview of the Lineberry Alliance and the Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate Community Watch. I told them about our vision for Lineberry Park, the neighborhood plan, and the PRR-Watch real estate information flyer. I also gave them lots of information about the City of Raleigh, the PROP, front yard parking, 911.

Their concerns and issues are the same that we have in our neighborhood. Crime. Unmanaged and empty rental property. Front yard parking. Illegal street parking (trailers, unlicensed vehicles). Bus stop safety. The same stuff that I hear time and time again at different neighborhood meetings that I attend.

This stresses the importance of the core essence of the Lineberry Alliance. The unification of different neighborhood groups (HOA’s, Neighborhood Associations, Community Watches) to share information, experiences, and tackle the issues that each group faces from a neighborhood level. And when you think about the power the many neighborhoods can have working together and community-based assets, we can make our neighborhood a destination place to live in Raleigh.

EANA is excited about the opportunities that the Lineberry Alliance can help grow their group, gather additional neighborhood interest, and become more informed citizens. One thing that really impressed me was their annual neighborhood awards. At this evenings meeting, the nominated and voted for several categories to award their neighbors. Best landscape, Best kept yard, Most improved property, and Most outgoing neighbor. A great way to reward good community.

DDNA meeting notes from October 2007

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

District D Neighborhood Alliance (DDNA) Meeting notes from October 20, 2007

  • Jason Hibbets – Lineberry Alliance / PRR Watch / SWCAC
  • Ron Aycock – Cameron Park / Hillsborough CAC
  • John G. Reaves, Jr. – Caraleigh / SWCAC
  • Connie Crumpler – Caraleigh / SWCAC
  • Carolyn Sheets – Avent West / WCAC
  • R. Bethea – Method / WCAC
  • Ted Shear – Avent West / WCAC
  • Elizabeth Byrd – Avent West / WCAC (Chair)
  • Mark Vander Borgh – Avent West / WCAC
  • Mary Belle Pate – Fairway Acres / SWCAC (Chair)
  • Bruce Mamel – WCAC
  • Jim Paumier – Fairview Acres / WCAC
  • Joe Boisvert – University Park Homeowners Association
  • Lourent de Comormond – Cameron Village / Hillsborough CAC
  • Phil Poe – Glenwood Brooklyn / Five Points CAC
  • Bill Padgett
  • Thomas Crowder – District D
  • Nancy McFarlane – Councilor Elect District A
  • Rodger Koopman – Councilor Elect District B


  • We went around the table for neighborhood leader intro’s
  • Some of the top issues the neighborhoods are facing:
    • diversity (cultural & language barriers)
    • crime
    • PROP (need a stronger PROP, need criminal elements added)
    • Infill issues
    • sidewalks (aging, none, disconnection)

We went in-depth on some of these issues. We spent some time talking about infill, which we noted have several different types. One is the popular McMansions that we hear about, the other is a “prey” on cheaper property for apartment style housing. This will typically have no regard for building materials and devalues surrounding homes and property values. Thomas mentioned a proposal in the works for an interim solution that would limit infill until City Planning can better understand the issue and come up with solutions, standards, etc.

We talked about the Planning Commission (PC), the process, the composition. We are concerned that citizens do not have (enough) representation on the PC and about the geographic make-up of the PC.

We highlighted the success of the PROP in our neighborhoods but in the same breath talked about the need to strengthen the PROP, add the criminal element to it, and look at a landlord registration program. Along with issues like the PROP, we also mentioned Front Yard Parking (FYP) and Shopping Cart Blight.

The Comprehensive Plan is an important topic to DDNA. We discussed that, some of the potential solutions, and how neighborhoods can be strengthened through the comp plan. We noted that the Comp Plan kickoff is this Thursday at 7pm.

The strength of neighborhoods was mentioned and we talked about the desire to have a strong CAC program with support from Community Services. On the Boards & Commission topic, we talked about non-citizen friendly meeting times, with a hope that this would change to accommodate more citizen participation.

Finally, we got a chance to hear from both Nancy and Rodger.

Nancy will represent District A and has these concerns on her radar:

  • North Hills is a great development, but the neighborhoods can’t access it
  • concerns on traffic calming
  • storm water issues (how to get pre-construction storm water mgmt as well as legacy problems)
  • similar infill issues to what was discussed today

Rodger will represent District B and has these concerns on his radar:

  • sewer easement issues
  • parks (Horseshoe Farms, etc.)
  • concerned about the mix & make-up of the commissions and boards
  • concerned about the working poor
  • revenues, impact fees & property taxes
  • traffic calming
  • water conservation, usage, long term planning
  • philosophy: “will it be safe for my 7 year old?”

Letting your lawn go

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

On Tuesday, October 17, 2007, Raleigh City Council decided to extend the water restrictions and approved amended Stage 1 mandatory water conservation restrictions and rules. What’s this mean for you?  The big ones are no watering your lawn and no washing your cars.  See “Lawn Irrigation Prohibited Effective Oct. 23” for all the details, but here are a few of the highlights:

  • Prohibit watering by automatic or non-automatic spray irrigation systems
  • Prohibit washing vehicles at home
  • Prohibit watering by hose-end sprinklers and soaker hoses; and
  • Cease the issuance of lawn and landscape irrigation establishment permits.

And violators are gonna get hit in the wallet or purse:  First-time citations are a $200 penalty, second offenses are $1,000 penalty, and third offenses are an interruption of the customer’s water service.

Point being, it’s time to let your lawn go if you haven’t already.  Please be thoughtful of your water usage and conserve as much as you can.

Trailwood Hills Parking Petition

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

The parking petition will be on the City Council’s agenda this month. Looks like parking one one side only will be approved but we’ll have to wait and see!

October SWCAC Meeting

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

I attended the South West Citizens Advisory Council (SWCAC) meeting on October 8, 2007 at Carolina Pines. The SWCAC meets every second Monday of the month. The newsletter is available from the City of Raleigh. I arrived just a few minutes late and missed the Raleigh Police Report by Officer Upchurch. Nicky Brewster (Parks & Rec) provided an update on the latest events from Raleigh Parks and Rec happening at Carolina Pines. Next, Jerry Mahler (City of Raleigh Housing Inspector) provided an overview of the public nuisance violations in our area over the last 30-days. He mentioned that nothing in particular stood, out, just normal things like excessive trash and household furniture outdoors.

James Brantley was scheduled to give an overview on the update of the Comprehensive Plan, but because their is an upcoming project kickoff scheduled for October 25, 2007, this session was postponed.

Mary Belle Pate (SWCAC Chair) spent some time discussing two neighborhood park opportunities in our CAC area. Eliza Pool Park has just gotten approval to plant some trees and have other minor improvements, Mary Belle was gathering interest in volunteers who want to help with that. We also spoke about the potential park at Lineberry and Sierra Drive. Mary Belle and I are gathering interest to draft a neighborhood plan that includes the park. We do not want to depend nor wait on the City of Raleigh for this, we are planning a grass roots effort to draft the plan and present it to City Council. (Much of this motivation comes from September’s Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange, where we were inspired by Jim Diers, a community builder from Seattle, WA). More to come when we get better organized around both park goals.

Planning Raleigh 2030

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Well, many of the Raleigh City Council candidates stressed the importance of the Comprehensive Plan. Now it’s your turn to get involved. Help plan Raligh for the next 20+ years. See the information below from Raleigh Department of City Planning.

Comprehensive Plan Update Officially Begins

The update of the Raleigh Comprehensive Plan will officially begin with a kick off celebration on Thursday, October 25th. Please plan on attending the kick off celebration and at least one of the first set of public visioning workshops .

  • What: Kick Off Celebration
    • Where: Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts— Art Gallery
    • When: 7 to 9 PM, Thursday, October 25th, 2007

There will be short presentations made and background information available. This is a chance to meet and talk with the City Council, the Raleigh City Planning Commissioners , City Planning Staff, the project consultants, and the members of other City boards and commissions.

Public input workshops will be held in three sets of three meetings each, for a total of nine public meetings. This first set of workshops, which will focus on the overall vision for the City’s future, will be held on November 13, 14 and 15. Each of these first three meetings will have the same format, function, and background information provided. Eventually public workshops will be held in all parts of the city. Please plan on attending one of this first set of workshops for public visioning:

  • What: Public Visioning Workshop
    • Where: Long View Center , 118 South Person Street
    • When: 7:00 to 9:00 PM, Tuesday, November 13, 2007
  • What: Public Visioning Workshop
    • Where: NCSU McKimmon Conference and Training Center , 1101 Gorman Street
    • When: 7:00 to 9:00 PM, Wednesday, November 14, 2007
  • What: Public Visioning Workshop
    • Where: North Raleigh Church of Christ, 8701 Falls of Neuse Road (tentative location, check the web page for confirmation)
    • When: 7:00 to 9:00 PM, Thursday, November 15, 2007

For additional information, visit


ACTion by Communities Together – ACT Raleigh

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Vote on Tuesday October 9, 2007.  Take your friends with you!

Raleigh’s newly formed group, Action by Communities Together has addressed voting information on two key issues for financing Raleigh’s growth: Impact fees and public funding of private development.

Do you know how the candidates for Raleigh City Council stand on the issues?  Raleigh ACT has the scoop on how the candidates stand on the issue:

Best I can tell, it’s pretty consistant with the Candidate’s Forums that I’ve attended.  I hope that you find it useful in making your voting decision.  No matter where you stand on the issues, express your right to vote, as voter turn-out is expected to be low.