Archive for August, 2009

Trailwood Hills HOA posts August 2009 update

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

The Trailwood Hills Home Owners Association, located in a quiet, family residential area in Raleigh, North Carolina, recently posted their August board meeting update to their website, trailwoodhills.com. The post mainly discusses pool card access and beautification to their common areas. The update also talks about pursuing additional parking restrictions to increase safety in their neighborhood.

Noise and Party Ordinance Information

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

A lot of residents in the Lineberry area have questions about noise violations and nuisance parties. I will try to clarify some of these questions based on the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years. First, I’d start by saying that having a quiet and peaceful neighborhood is a right that each neighbor has; violating this right impacts our quality of life. Second, I’ll cover the basics about prohibited noises and nuisance parties, what actions you can take, and frequently asked questions with some answers to help you. Feedback is welcome of course, use the comments section of the blog to post any additional questions.

About my approach

I used several different sources for this article including reviewing parts of the municipal code for the City of Raleigh and consulting experts in the Raleigh Police Department (RPD). You’ll notice a few numbers that are referenced, they are Raleigh City Code (RCC) and provide the basis for the ordinance, definition of violations, enforcement, and penalties.

The basics

Sample Nuisance Ticket

Sample Nuisance Ticket

The noise ordinance (RCC 12-5007) is in effect from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. (nighttime hours), local time. This covers any noise that is unreasonably loud such as amplified music, shouting, firearms, building construction, or animals (with habitual or frequent sounds like crying, howling, or barking). There is a 24-hour loud noise ordinance (RCC 12-5006), however, a police officer must receive information as to how the disturbance is specifically being a “detriment to the life or health” of the complainant. This makes it more difficult to enforce before 11 p.m.

Any nuisance party is enforceable 24×7. RCC 13-3017 defines a nuisance party as the following:

A nuisance party is a party or other social gathering conducted in the City and which, by reason of the conduct of those persons in attendance, results in any one (1) or more of the following conditions or occurrences:

  • unlawful public possession or consumption of alcohol, unlawful drunken and disruptive conduct; public urination or defecation; the unlawful sale, furnishing, or consumption of alcoholic beverages;
  • the unlawful deposit of trash or litter on public or private property;
  • the unlawful destruction of public or private property;
  • the generation of pedestrian or vehicular traffic caused by those invited to or allowed to attend which obstructs the free flow of residential traffic or interferes with the ability to provide emergency services;
  • excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise which disturbs the repose of the neighborhood;
  • public disturbances, brawls, fights or quarrels;
  • or any other activity resulting in conditions that annoy, injure or endanger the safety, health, comfort or repose of the neighboring residents, or results in any obscene conduct, or results in any immoral exhibition or indecent exposure by persons at the gathering.

Phew! Have you got all that? Now what can you do about it?

Citizen action

If your quality of life is being threatened by a noise violation or a nuisance party and you want police action, call 9-1-1. Other remedies include neighborly approaches such as contacting the property owner or notifying those in violation. Do not put yourself in any harmful situations. If you suspect the consumption of alcohol is involved, it may be in your best interest to contact 9-1-1 to not endanger yourself or provoke any unwanted actions. Additionally, contacting 9-1-1 will keep a record of any of these violations. Tip: You may want to get another neighbor to call 9-1-1 as well if you think they are being disturbed.

When you contact 9-1-1, give the communications specialist your name, address, and phone number as well as the violation type and location of the complaint. As I understand, it is not the practice of the police department to release your information to the subject you are complaining against. You can, however, request to remain anonymous. You can also request a call back from the officer after the call has been responded to.

Frequently asked questions

What happens when you call 9-1-1 to report a noise violation or nuisance party?
The communications specialist will collect the information and the complaint will then be dispatched to RPD. Both noise and party violations are priority four (P4). This means that a priority one call, such as an accident or a life-threatening situation will take precedence over a noise or party complaint. The upside though is that by September 2009, all officers will be trained on the recent amendments to the noise ordinances and nuisance party (source: Police Officers Receive Training In Housing Code Violations).

What are the penalties for a noise violation or nuisance party?
The penalties for these violations have changed as of July 2009 (source: Parties Could Get Pricey). Violators are now subject to a civil penalty of one hundred dollars ($100.00). If there are more than one violation within a 12-month period, the civil penalty increases to three hundred dollars ($300). Criminal penalties (misdemeanor) can also apply if convicted.

What if I’m the only person being disturbed by a nuisance party?
The way the ordinance reads, the nuisance party must have “excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noise which disturbs the repose of the neighborhood.” Because it says neighborhood and not neighbor, it must be more than one residence being disturbed. A good rule of thumb is to walk down two houses. If you can hear the violation from more than two houses away, this in fact, is disturbing the neighborhood.

Do I need to get a neighbor to call too?
RCC 12-5006 and RCC 12-5007 both use a two complainant standard. A police officer can be one of the complainants if, when they arrive on scene, can confirm the violation. The second complainant needs to be the original subject who called 9-1-1. If a complainant calling 9-1-1 does not leave their information with emergency communications, the complainant has possibly limited the officer’s enforcement actions to a warning. Additionally, a second complainant can be another person who is being disturbed by the violation.

Is a nuisance party a two complaint standard?
RCC 13-3017 is not a two complaint standard like the noise ordinance. However, if an officer arrives on scene and the nuisance party is only a noise complaint, it will have to meet the requirements of disturbing the neighborhood as mentioned above.

What if the party continues after the police have made a visit?
Call 9-1-1 again, inform the communication specialists that you believe an officer has already made one visit, but the violation is continuing.

Should I call the non-Emergency number instead?
I do not recommend that you contact the non-Emergency number for a noise violation or nuisance party. The communications specialists who answer 9-1-1 also answer the non-Emergency line. When you call 9-1-1 your call is recorded and dispatched.

Resources

Highway Message Sign Coming to Lake Wheeler Road

Friday, August 21st, 2009

According to an article posted on the City of Raleigh website, N.C. DOT To Begin Widening I-40 And Improving Signing For I-440, a new dynamic messaging sign is coming to our area of I-40 between Lake Wheeler Road and Gorman Street.

Another improvement will be the installation of a dynamic message sign on I-40 westbound between Lake Wheeler Road and Gorman Street, which will display information regarding travel conditions as needed.

There are many other parts to the project, including widening I-40 from the US-1/US-64 interchange to Wade Avenue from 4 to 6 lanes as well as installing new signs for I-40, removing the Inner / Outer Beltine designations “meant to help ease motorist confusion about travel on the Beltline.

I hope the sign isn’t going to interfere with the proposed interchange on the Centennial Campus Master Plan [PDF], which will take traffic from I-40 directly onto NC State’s Centennial Campus.

Lineberry Alliance Tips for Students Fall 2009 Edition

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Students, welcome to the neighborhood! We hope you have a successful Fall 2009 Semester. Move-in weekend was busy around N.C. State’s campus and we know that you’re probably busy getting things in order for classes. We wanted to take a few minutes to provide you with some essential information that could make your living experience in our neighborhoods safe, enjoyable, and friendly.

We’d like to first start off by providing some tips that will help you get going in our neighborhoods:

  • Get to know your neighbors. You should know your immediate neighbors. Go introduce yourselves, exchange numbers, emails, etc. They don’t have to be your new best friends, but when you think about crime prevention, your neighbor is a good ally.
  • Our trash, recycling, and yard waste collection day in SouthWest Raleigh is every Thursday (unless there is a holiday). The city also provides other services like bulky load pick-up or special load pick-up if you can’t get everything into your city-issued bin. The city requires that trash bins be brought in by Friday at 7:00 PM, we don’t want our neighborhoods to have trash bins out all week long. Get all the info you need from how to get a recycling bin to what items are recycled at the cities page for: Garbage, Recycling and Yardwaste.
  • Party up? Volume down. Our area has traditionally been known to have a party or two. Residents have been actively calling 9-1-1 on party-goers that are too loud or violate the noise ordinance that starts at 11:00 PM. As we previously wrote, Parties Could Get Pricey, tickets are being issued with zero tolerance and will count as a strike in the PROP (see below) when a citation is issued. A conviction is no longer needed, only a citation now.
    • Be a good neighbor and keep the noise down. Make sure your guests know this is a family neighborhood. It will make things a lot easier on everyone that lives here. We’re sure that you also appreciate a nice, quiet environment to study in.
  • Park only in designated parking spots. Some neighborhoods have restricted parking like NO PARKING zones. We recommend that you do not park in no parking zones as you will get ticketed and it will cost you $30. Also, for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, don’t park on sidewalks, block driveways, or park in areas that obstruct views. Those are cities rules, not ours.
  • Drive with respect. Because this is our, and now your neighborhood, we ask that you watch your speed. There are a lot of kids and active people in our area. Most streets in our area like Lineberry Drive, Sierra Drive, and Trailwood Hills drive are 35 MPH. Some are 25 MPH. People seem to think that Trailwood Drive is a speedway to Avent Ferry, when in fact it’s 35-40 MPH. You can go slower if you want, there’s no rush, classes will still be there. Raleigh Police Department (RPD) has been known to hand out speeding tickets like hotcakes. You’ve been warned ;)
  • Maintain your yard. Keeping your grass cut and your yard tidy is important not only for public health and welfare, but for crime prevention and neighborhood curb appeal. We’re not asking you to make the next JC Raulston Arboretum, but a well-maintained yard helps make our neighborhood look welcoming to guests and new neighbors. There are also numerous businesses in our neighborhood that specialize in landscape services.
  • Fireworks are illegal and often mistaken for gunshots. No one likes to think there are gunshots in our vicinity and with the hot, dry days, it also becomes a fire hazard. We do not want a neighbor to lose their home or have property damaged because of fireworks.

A lot of people live in this area because they love the location. We are convenient to NCSU, downtown, I-40, and have great shopping close-by. We also enjoy a great quality of life and a broad diversity of neighbors.

All of our neighborhoods have sidewalks on major streets which are great for exercising. We recently got new crosswalks along Lineberry Drive after requesting them back in January 2009. If you travel along Trailwood Drive, you’ve probably noticed our new traffic signal, it’s nice to have those improvements at that intersection.

The City of Raleigh made some updates recently to some ordinances that effect our neighborhoods:

  • For those of you renting, you need to be aware of the Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit Ordinance (PROP). The PROP now requires your landlords to be registered with the city and is focused on addressing the problem rental properties in established neighborhoods. Properties could start acquiring “strikes” in the PROP program for nuisance violations such as grass that is too tall, parties that are too loud, trash in the yard, and other public health, welfare, and quality of life issues. You can find out more on the cities website:
  • All residents using Raleigh’s water are under year-round water restrictions. Find out more: City Of Raleigh Water Restrictions
  • If you have a dog, you may want to read up on the new tethering rules: Prepare For Dog Tethering Ordinance

How to get involved

Thanks to Sheryl (Trailwood Hills), Danielle (Whitehurst Townhomes), Merri Beth (Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate), and Chad (Trailwood Springs) for contributing to this post.

DDNA Meeting Notes from August 2009

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

District D Neighborhood Alliance (DDNA) August 15, 2009 meeting (Raleigh, NC) — The room was packed for our August monthly meeting of the District D Neighborhood Alliance. Twenty citizens from around the district attended the meeting and helped review the District D proposed land use map. We started in Boylan Heights and went counter-clockwise around the district, getting consensus from those in attendance who know their neighborhoods best and identifying any additional changes.

Meeting notes

The notes below will highlight most of the areas we’ve changed from the existing future land use map (FLUM) [PDF, ~5MB]. They are shown on the proposed land use map, specific for District D [PDF, ~5.5MB]. The changes are outlined in a bold, black line and the underlying land use (color) has been updated to reflect what DDNA thinks it should be. The changes mostly are proposing better transitions of land use types between existing neighborhoods and other land uses that surround our neighborhoods.

District D Proposed Land Use Map

District D Proposed Land Use Map

View the more detailed version of the proposed land use [PDF].

  • Boylan Heights outlines the boundaries for the Gateway Plan [PDF] and pushes the Central Business District (CBD) east while introducing Neighborhood Retail Mixed Use and Medium Density Residential to transition from downtown to the neighborhood
  • West Morgan should be made into a Special Study Area / Small Area Plan for future analysis to eliminate the CBD infringement on their neighborhood
  • Cameron Village area includes the recommendations presented at Thursday’s public hearing and shows the Small Area Plan included
  • Wade Ave updated the area to the east of Ridgewood Shopping Center for better transition
  • The two Hillsborough Street proposed transit stops (west) have updated density to promote better land use than the current FLUM represents.
  • Hillsborough St / Western Blvd / Buck Jones (malfunction junction) should be converted to a Special Study Area / Small Area Plan for future analysis due to concerns about the Western Blvd extension and redevelopment of the shopping center
  • Gorman Street / I-40 concerns about the intension of Community Retail Mixed Use (which is the same designation as Cameron Village)
  • Lineberry area needs to add the park at Sierra Drive and Lineberry Drive and discussed the need for more Neighborhood Retail Mixed Use and Office & Residential Mixed Use, which is reflected in the Stewart Drive update
  • Peach Road has some updated neighborhood retail mixed use areas
  • Caraleigh has updated the Green Street area to provide better transition from the Office & Residential Mixed Use to the neighborhood

Additionally, many people are having trouble finding the Certified Recommendations (CR) from the Planning Commission (PC) and other documentation. We’ve added links here to help you:

Attendees

  • Connie Crumpler, Caraleigh / SWCAC
  • John G. Reaves, Jr., Caraleigh / SWCAC
  • Benson Kirkman, Avent West / West CAC
  • Chris Weedy, Boylan Heights
  • Jimmy Creech, Boylan Heights
  • Russ Stephenson, University Park
  • R. Bethea, Historic Method
  • Ted Shear, Avent West / West CAC
  • George Adler, Cameron Park
  • Jim Paumier, Fairview Acres
  • Bill Padgett, Wade CAC
  • Tom Erwin, Cameron Village
  • Phil Poe, Glenwood-Brooklyn
  • Jean Salter, Wade CAC
  • Sophia Katheriou, Glenwood-Wade
  • Shelby Gainer, Roylene Acres
  • Mary Belle Pate, Fairway Acres
  • Ana Duncan Pardo, West Morgan / Hillsborough CAC
  • Jason Hibbets, Lineberry Alliance / SWCAC
  • Thomas Crowder, City Council District D

District D Dominates 2030 Hearing

Friday, August 14th, 2009

At the public hearing for the 2030 Comprehensive Plan (Aug 13, 2009), District D Neighborhood Alliance (DDNA) dominated the podium with their expertise, passion, and dedication to Raleigh’s future.  Over the course of the evening, DDNA had almost 15 neighborhood leaders speak on behalf of their neighborhoods, District D, and the City.  They expressed their thanks, their concerns, and their suggestions.

District D neighborhood leaders spoke for over an hour and clearly showed their unification on issues and knowledge of the 2030 plan.  The theme that developed over the course of the DDNA’s involvement in the comp plan was evident tonight, “our plan, our city, and our future” resonated in City Council chambers.

As you may recall, DDNA formed 2030 focus groups in December 2008 to begin reviewing the Comp Plan.  Our approach was to divide into specialties and make recommendations.   Our focus groups were Arts and Culture, Environmental Protection, Parks and Greenways, Transportation Systems, and Urban Form and Land Use.  Over the course of the public process, DDNA collectively submitted several hundred comments.  Overall the plan is strong, easier to digest, and exciting.

The citizen experts that have been active from District D were well represented this evening.  These experts have provided the city council with free consulting hours for the 2030 Comp Plan over the past few months.  The purpose tonight was to make sure that our expertise and advice is heard and accounted for. (more…)

PRR-Watch Touring 9-1-1 Center

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Raleigh, NC – The Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate Community Watch, building a safe and informed family community, is preparing for a tour of the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center on Monday, August 17, 2009.  The tour is limited to 20 people.

Why would you want to take a tour of the Raleigh 9-1-1 center?
When you call 9-1-1 your call will be answered by one of the the trained Telecommunicators.  These individuals undergo an extensive screening and educational process that includes nationally recognized certifications as well as detailed information on local policies and procedures.   Only about one in twenty applicants successfully complete this rigorous testing.  They take your safety seriously.

Recently, Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications became the first center in North Carolina to be accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).  Additionally, during 2007, they became the only 9-1-1 center anywhere to receive accreditation by both CALEA and the National Academies of Emergency Medical Dispatch during the same year.  In order to achieve this honor written proof with observable examples of their ability to delivery quality service has to be provided.

An email sent to the community watch mailing list contained details on how to RSVP.  Alternatively, you can submit a request on the web form to the Watch Chairs.

Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange 2009

Monday, August 10th, 2009

September, which is neighborhoods month in Raleigh, is right around the corner. The Community Services Department is preparing for the sixth annual Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange held on September 19, 2009, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the McKimmon Center. I encourage all residents, particularly those involved with your neighborhood associations and organizations to attend.  The neighborhood exchange “provides citizens with information to help them build their neighborhoods.

View the session topics and registration information Neighborhood Exchange Registration Form [PDF]. Print, Fill Out & Return to: Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange, Community Services Department, P. O. Box 590, Raleigh, NC 27602.

(more…)

Neighbors Unite for NNO 2009 Night, The Cake was Good Too

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Raleigh, NC – The Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate Community Watch, building a safe and informed family community, celebrated National Night Out 2009 with over 80 neighbors and representatives from our local Fire, Police, and EMS departments.

NNO 2009 logoI’m eating chocolate cake and trying to decide what was best about Tuesday night. The cake is left over from the Pleasant Ridge & Ramsgate Community Watch National Night Out (NNO) 2009 celebration. This was our fourth one, and by far our best. Shelia (the event coordinator and also Secretary) truly outdid herself this year. Where do I start? Target, the NNO sponsor, donated water, freezer pops, beach balls, and more. They even sent some employees that came out and helped us get set-up. Other local businesses helped out too. Steve from Grocery Boy Jr., WRAL, NBC 17, Wal-Mart, Tarts Produce at the Farmer’s Market, CPI Security, were just a few of the donaters for goody bags. Ben once again provided our sound system. (more…)

Final Stretch for 2030 Plan

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Raleigh City Council has started to review the Draft 2030 Comprehensive Plan during a retreat this week A public hearing will be held for South West and District D residents on August 13, 2009 in City Council Chambers at 6:30 PM to allow residents to weigh-in with any last comments. Additional details regarding the Council review process are below. (more…)