SouthWest Citizens Advisory Council (SWCAC) January 2008Notes
To kick the meeting off we got updates from Parks & Rec. Starting February 4, they have mens and womens aerobics class starting at Carolina Pines. There is also a special event, Free-Throw competition, on Saturday, January 19, 2008 hosted by the Elks.
Next we got the Raleigh Police Department update from Officer Upchurch. She reviewed the police calls in the SWCAC area for the last two months. Some things of interest: 96 animal calls, 6 graffiti calls, residential break-ins on Appalachian Drive and Sterling Park Drive, numerous noise calls, party calls, and loud-party calls and 40 suspicious person calls. Officer Upchurch did not have an update on the incident that occurred on Lake Wheeler Road, Saturday night (1/12) around 5:00 pm.
We got an Inspections update from Jerry Mahler. He said things are pretty steady, about 200 calls for the month of December (2007). The calls were pretty typical, most nuisance calls like tall grass go down in the winter. Hand-outs for PROP, nuisance violations and housing inspections were available at the meeting. Jerry also shared with us the departments new slogan, “Inspect to Protect, Health, Safety, and Welfare.”
Frank Olafson, Permits Office Administrator, was next on the agenda. He covered many different topics that were interesting to the audience. The permits office is part of the inspections department. Frank told us that they do about 6,000 new building permits per year and about 60,000 permits over the year. Most folks would be interested in additions to their homes like a new deck. The process is fairly simple, 1) Application 2) Plot Plan and 3) Approval.
Building a new house is different, a more detailed plan is required. This process usually takes about 5 days and the fee’s are based on the square footage of the new construction. Impact fee’s are also assessed during the permit process.
For things like fences and sheds, as long as they are under 6-feet and they are located behind the home, no permit is required. In particular, sheds less than 400 square feet do not require a full foundation. Any dimensions greater than 12 feet require a permit. If electrical work is part of the addition, an electrical permit is required.
Other items that were covered included: Permits last for 6 months and are renewed every year if work is continued. Permits should be visible from the street (however some projects allow permits to be placed in a front window). The current owner of a property is responsible for any floor plan updates on the Wake County records.
The Honorable Deborah Ross joined our meeting tonight to provide an update on the work going on in the NC Legislature. Representative Ross represents the 38 th District in the NC House. She mentioned that she tries to hold meetings every 6-8 weeks on Saturday mornings. Contact Mary Belle, Mildred or Jason to get more information or to get on the distribution list. Currently, the Legislature is in between the long and short sessions. Only certain things can pass during the short session. The Legislature will meet from May 13, 2008 to about the end of July. Typical items include small adjustments to the budget and other small changes that have “carry-over” from the previous session.
Next Representative Ross covered several topics of interest for the upcoming short session.
- Mental Health Reform – talked about Dix, Wake County is working together with the State.
- Drought – Focusing on 2 things:
- 1) changing the laws on the use of gray water and
- 2) prohibiting certain kinds of development/building in the water shed.
- Transportation – Re-evaluating the equity/inequity formula for transportation. She also covered items like regional rail for Wake County and other public transit opportunities.
Representative Ross is also involved with Planning & Capital Construction (aka land use). She mentioned that there are several projects on the board that are pretty exciting: Natural Science building, NC Department of Natural Resources (NC DENR), and the first Visitor Center for the capital. All project in Wake County, downtown. Raleigh is the last capital in the US without a visitor center. Also, part of the land use projects include a Master Plan for the State regarding property located in Wake County. 50% of the land in Wake County owned by the State is park or open space. The plan will be discussed this Wednesday at 1:30 pm in room 421 of the Legislative Building.
We wrapped up with a few items including the different options to consolidate the DHHS (Dept. of Health and Human Services) employees, re: Dix. Health Care reform, mental health coverage now included in health care providers plans, the creation of a high risk pool, and expanding children’s health insurance programs for the State. We talked about being able to walk and bike on State owned property (of course recognizing no trespassing signs). Finally, there was a question about toll roads. The option for toll roads was passed, but only in the sense that GAP funding from the State only provides the GAP amount for road construction. This is the difference in the amount the tolls will cover and the actual costs of the road.
That was pretty much the meeting summary, we had a few announcements, then concluded.