May 2010 DDNA: Fairfax, UDO, Union Station, and more

District D Neighborhood Alliance (DDNA) met on May 15, 2010 at the Whole Foods community room at Wade Avenue. District D Councilor Thomas Crowder was unable to attend so Jason Hibbets ran the meeting in his place. At-Large Councilor Russ Stephenson was in attendance. The group got a report on this years intercity Chamber of Commerce trip to Fairfax, Virginia from Councilor Stephenson. Additionally, we discussed the upcoming Raleigh budget review, Union Station, the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), and got an update from the neighborhoods around the district.

Meeting Notes – May 15, 2010

Recap of the Intercity Chamber of Commerce trip

Russ Stephenson reported on the intercity trip to Fairfax, VA. The main purpose was to learn about economic development, transit, and schools. One of his observations is that Fairfax is definitely taking advantage of their proximity to DC. The intercity trip is an annual trip that the chamber of commerce takes to see how other cities do things. In the past they’ve been to Nashville, Dallas-Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Denver, Minneapolis, and other places.

Russ shared some statistics that compared Fairfax County to Wake County. Their population grew from 969,000 to 1,000,000 people from 2000-2008. They also have an older population compared to Wake County. During the same time period, Wake County grew from 633,000 to 866,000 people.

There are 393,000 housing units in Fairfax and only 353,000 housing units in Wake. Both areas have a similar range in urban vs suburban areas. Fairfax has a median income of $107,000 with a 5.4% unemployment rate. Wake has a $65,000 median income with a 9.2% unemployment rate.

As far as economic development, Fairfax has done a lot of investment in office development as opposed to industrial.

On the topic of schools, Fairfax schools enroll 173,000 students with a budget of $2.2M, while Wake has 140,000 students with a budget of $1.24M. Most of the funding for Fairfax comes from the county. The majority of Wake county funding comes from the state.

They visited Thomas Jefferson High School, a top rated school in the US, similar to the NC School of Math and Sciences. TJS has great partnerships with corporations (to bring in technology to the school) and they have a strong commitment from the county. They seem to have similar diversity, both racial and social economic.

The last major topic was transit. Fairfax is benefiting from the mature transit system from DC and building from that. They have a regional rail that is in-between Amtrack and light rail that the group got to ride on and seems to work quite well.

On all the trips he’s been on, Russ feels like Raleigh is doing good. Final thoughts: don’t mess it up.

Budget

At this weeks SWCAC, we asked what the neighborhoods need for budget (from the city). We encourage all neighborhoods to attend the budget hearing on the first Tuesday in June for the public hearing at the evening session, June 1, 2010.

If you want to ask for anything on behalf of your neighborhood, be brief, get to the point, and follow-up.

The county is proposing 7% cuts across the board. Raleigh has had a “soft” freeze and is looking to reduce some services in order to balance the budget. Russ gave the impression that the city would rather keep employees and delay new services than layoff employees.

Union Station

We provided a brief update on the Union Station presentation this past Wednesday. The concept is to be Raleigh’s first multi-modal station, combining high speed rail, Amtrak, CSX, and light rail connecting CAT, Greyhound, and R-Line buses with pedestrians and other transit options.

One of the major challenges are the different land owners: three rail companies. Raleigh is stepping up and is showing leadership to tackle these challenges. The biggest take-away in the presentation was an emphasis on location of the station and the individual location of the platforms.

Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)

The first phase was to agree on an approach, which has been completed. However, there are still lots of abstract concepts. It’s difficult to get people engaged in this process, and looking back, there was more participation in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan. There will be a few more workshops and hopefully we will have more pictures to react to, that will illustrate the concepts being talked about.

What DDNA can do

There is an upcoming Workshop on transitions. Attend and be ready to participate. We can suggest additional workshops, perhaps on housing and inclusionary zoning, so that we can have a place to discus these topics with other stakeholders.

The consultant is going to take a deep dive into form-based zoning with a sample area. They are also working under a compressed time line (under 2 years), where other cities they’ve worked with have taken 3-5 years. The plan is to come up with a toolkit on how to do form-based zoning and then our planning department can use that toolkit to draft additional form-based zoning for other areas of the city.

The fundamental concept: Right rules in the right places

Side note: the planning department is also doing an incentive study (separate from the UDO).

Around the horn

  • Renaissance Park – Tryon Road project
  • UPHA – Artsplosure today and tomorrow, NC State power plant is under maintenance and there will be no power on NC State campus from 6am-1pm on Sunday (May 16). Hillsborough Street is ahead of schedule, the grand opening is scheduled for the last Saturday of August. Former chef of Duck n Dumpling has taken over the old Red, Hot, and Blue space.
  • Cameron Park – not much
  • Greenbelt – annual home owners meeting on Monday
  • Glenwood-Brooklyn – 5-points now has a new farmer’s market (Saturday from 8-12) on Bickett blvd, Raleigh Charter High School is proposing a relocation: SW corner at Glenwood and Wade
  • Lineberry – community gardens, excitement about our park i.e. sketch plans, getting organized

Attendance

  • Russ Stephenson, At- Large City Councilor
  • Tom Platt, Renaissance Park
  • Joe Boisvert, UPHA / Hillsborough Street
  • George Adler, Cameron Park
  • Steven Yoho, Greenbelt
  • Joe Savina, UPHA
  • Jason Hibbets, Lineberry Alliance / SWCAC Chair
  • Sondra Beeson, Lineberry Alliance
  • Phil Poe, Glenwood-Brooklyn
  • Sophia Katheriou, Glenwood-Wade

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