Yard signs available for $10

Contact Greg Pierce, 904 Williamson Drive, gregorylincolnpierce@gmail.com.

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City Council Contacts

Stormie D. Forte, District D Council Member: stormie.forte@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

David Knight, District E Council Member: david.knight@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

Mary-Ann Baldwin, Mayor: mary-ann.baldwin@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

Jonathan Melton, At-Large Council Member: jonathan.melton@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

Nicole Stewart, At-Large Council Member, Mayor Pro Tem: nicole.stewart@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

Patrick Buffkin, District A Council Member: patrick.buffkin@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

David Cox, District B Council Member: david.cox@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

Corey Branch, District C Council Member: corey.branch@raleighnc.gov, 919-996-3050

August 3rd Meeting at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church

Summary of PowerPoint and Remarks by Frank Gordon

The proposed compact subdivision plan for 908 Williamson Drive

17 townhouses on tiny lots

In the heart of Hayes Barton (R-4 zoning for decades–.25 acres lots, minimum)

What is the “missing middle”?

• Allows duplexes, triplexes, quadraplexes, and townhouses in areas previously zoned for single family homes only.

• These housing types are in the middle of the spectrum of housing types, from single family homes to mid-rise apartments/condos/townhouses.

The mayor and city council of Raleigh have enacted a “missing middle” housing scheme in the middle of the pandemic through a series of text changes to the Unified Development Ordinance.

• For a neighborhood with R-4 zoning, these changes now allow townhouses/tiny houses in neighborhoods previously zoned R-4, which was 4 “single family dwellings” (old definition) per acre.

• In effect, with townhouses crammed onto drastically smaller lot sizes, these changes essentially have doubled the allowed density on any lot in your neighborhood.

These text changes also do away with the notice and opportunity-to-be-heard requirements of our previous zoning laws.

• There is no requirement that a sign be posted alerting neighbors that an application for this type of housing has been made. You’ll just have to hope that you hear about it through the grapevine.

• And even if you happen to hear about it, your opinion or opposition is not welcome – there is no public hearing by the zoning board or the city council in this new process.

In essence, this mayor and city council have delegated their oversight responsibilities to the city staff, which conducts an administrative review with no process for input from the public.

Our mayor and city council are following the lead of the handful of cities elsewhere that have enacted similar drastic changes to single family zoning, such as Portland and Minneapolis.

Single family zoning is now illegal in Minneapolis. If your idea of the American dream is a house and a yard in a neighborhood of houses and yards, you should not move to Minneapolis.

Silencing the voices of neighborhoods is a part of this radical plan: “public hearing requirements are an important target for regulatory reform.” (Ending Single Family Zoning is Not a Stand-Alone Solution, www.governing.com.) If your idea of the American dream includes public hearings for zoning decisions that will affect your property rights, you should be vehemently opposed to “missing middle” zoning.

There is no public input in the new system.

Our mayor and city council have also simultaneously done away with the Citizens’ Advisory Council (“CAC”) system, thereby eliminating an existing and established structure for providing public input via CACs on rezoning requests. There are also no more signs in the area to explain the proposed changes.

These changes apply to huge swaths of the city, not just our neighborhood.

The present mayor (Mary Ann Baldwin) and every current member of the city council voted for these changes except for David Cox.

Mayor Baldwin and our representative David Knight (District E) are running for reelection in November. They are being opposed by Terrance Ruth (for mayor) and Christine Jones (for District E), both of whom are opposed to this particular project and who support a rezoning process that restores the right of neighborhoods to receive notice of these projects and a meaningful opportunity to be heard about them.

Connect these dots:

David Knight spent $226,375 on his 2019 election campaign.

Approximately 75% of that money came from real estate developers or political action committees aligned with realtors or apartment builders.

Mary Ann Baldwin spent over $320,000 to get elected mayor in 2019; over half of that money came from real estate developers.

Recent polling indicates that over 70% of Raleigh voters think that our city government is too beholden to developers’ interests.

What can you do?

Write or call the mayor and the city council and express your displeasure with this project at 908 Williamson and with these radical “missing middle” changes to our zoning laws. Write or call again. Emphasize that you’re not satisfied with the city’s lack of response and failure to repeal “missing middle.”

Support and vote for candidates in November who are committed to listening to neighborhoods and restoring the previous zoning process.

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Stay updated at www.hayesbartonraleigh.com

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Volunteer to help with plans and logistics

Save Our Neighborhoods Steering Committee

Frank Gordon, 802 Williamson Drive fgordon@mgsattorneys.com

Margie Case, 1540 Carr St. plinymtc@gmail.com

Frank Hielema, 926 Williamson Drive, fhielema@aol.com

Terry A. Henderson 1001 Vance St. thenderson.1000@att.net


(Cut and Paste)

To the City Council of Raleigh

Restore Raleigh’s Zoning Process; Repeal the Missing Middle

Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and the city council have legislated radical changes in the city’s zoning regulations. These changes to the Uniform Development Ordinance (“UDO”) are known as the “Missing Middle,” which refers to supposedly “missing” styles of housing (duplexes, townhouses, condominiums, etc.) that are in the “middle” of the housing spectrum between single-family homes and mid-rise apartment buildings.

These UDO changes allow dramatically denser development in our neighborhood, including townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, quadriplexes, and apartment buildings.

At 908 Williamson Drive, a developer proposes to build 17 townhouses at a cost of about $2 million apiece. The lot is zoned R-4, formerly 4 single-family dwellings per acre. “Missing Middle” UDO changes make these townhouses possible.

The city has abolished previous requirements for public notice, hearing, and appeals to the process. Developers are not required to seek public approval.

We support sensible development, including affordable housing, according to previous zoning definitions.

We hold Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, and current city council members Nicole Stewart, Patrick Buffkin, Corey Branch, Stormie Forte, and David Knight responsible for these changes.

We are signing this petition to demand that the Raleigh City Council:

RESTORE RALEIGH’S ZONING PROCESS including public notice, hearings, and the appeal process before the City Council.

REPEAL THE MISSING MIDDLE. Develop 908 Williamson drive under the former R-4 definitions.

Signature: ______________________________________________

Name: _________________________________________________

Residence: _____________________________________________

I vote in Raleigh City elections: [ ] Yes [ ] No

Guest Commentary: The Many Downsides of Ending Single-Family Zoning – A Progressive’s View

Read  here

July 17, 2022

Residents vigorously challenge the City and developers’ plan to put 17 townhouses at the corner of 908 Williamson Drive

City makes major changes to zoning and neighborhood density requirements by downgrading protections.

Dear Hayes Barton Friends and Neighbors,

A developer has filed a proposal to build 17 townhouses at 908 Williamson Drive. The property is located on the corner of Williamson Drive and Iredell Drive. In case you have not seen the plans, they are shown above. This will fundamentally and permanently change the character and nature of the Historic Hayes Barton neighborhood and will affect density, property values, traffic, noise, congestion, water runoff, infrastructure and the comity of neighbors. Many residents are banding together to protest these changes. If you are interested in what you can do, please carefully read on, and plan to act quickly.

The Raleigh City Council approved changes to the Uniform Development Ordinance (“UDO”) to align Raleigh with Portland and Minneapolis, among other cities. These changes are codified in the UDO and you can find them here and here and by Googling “Missing Middle Raleigh NC.” The so-called Missing Middle changes have dispensed with any zoning requirements for Raleigh (doing away with former R4 protection) in the name of certain announced goals. Perhaps most importantly, as with this proposal, we will have no notice of these developers’ plans and no opportunity to be heard regarding them. Only certain areas of the city may be exempt from the UDO “Missing Middle” changes—our neighborhood is not. These changes were not widely understood and did not receive adequate input from those that would be affected. You may be alarmed, as we were, at the implications of the changes this drastic policy brings about.

Several of us have talked with knowledgeable attorneys, researching the background of this situation and considering our options as individuals, as a neighborhood, and as concerned citizens. There are several approaches. We hope you will help.

First, and very urgent, is the political approach. This may be very effective if enough of us voice our concerns to the right people in the right way. The more people they hear from, and the more vocal our concerns, the more they will feel inclined to listen. This is an election year.

With speed in mind, we have attached a series of points that you might want to make, along with any personal examples you know. Please voice your concerns immediately by contacting the Raleigh City Council and the mayor. You can certainly add anything else, and you don’t have to use any or all of our language. Please, however, don’t just directly copy or cut and paste these points in your communications. Express them in your own way so that city officials don’t ignore your comments because they appear to be ginned up in a robot fashion.

This protest is not against all development but about a city having reasonable development plans that don’t treat every neighborhood with a cookie cutter solution. It is also not about excluding any people or groups from this or any other neighborhood in Raleigh. We are acting in the name of preservation of history and of sensible standards for development, beauty, charm, and livability for our neighborhood and community.

DAVID KNIGHT is Hayes Barton’s city council representative. He and every other member of the city council, except David Cox, voted for these extreme changes of the “Missing Middle” that promote this and other such development changes. Please contact him at david.knight@raleighnc.gov ; his phone number is 919-996-3050. He is up for re-election in November.

MARY-ANN BALDWIN is the Mayor of Raleigh and led the charge for these changes to development standards and the principles of the Missing Middle that are allowing these 17 townhouses to be built. Her email is mary-ann.baldwin@raleighnc.gov. Her phone number is 919-996-3050. She is also up for re-election in November.

Email addresses and phone numbers for all city council members can be found here by clicking on individual names.

Second, we are continuing to investigate possible legal action. We have been discussing and investigating various approaches, and we expect to provide more details on that potential approach in the next week or so.

Third, please share this information with your neighbors and encourage them to provide their email to one of us so that they can get information updates.

We hope you’ll take immediate action. This is a dire situation which can lead to changes that will make our neighborhood unrecognizable in many ways. It will be impossible to recapture or reconstruct what is lost.

Our main point person up to now is Frank Gordon. Margie Case and Terry Henderson are working with him.

We appreciate help from anyone else. We expect to organize a public meeting (perhaps at one of the local churches) in the near future so as to provide an opportunity for people to ask more questions and perhaps get answers. In the meantime, we ask that you please not inundate our email boxes with those questions, as there is no way that we can answer them all– a public meeting will be much more efficient and manageable.

With thanks,

Margie Case, 1540 Carr St. plinymtc@gmail.com

Frank Gordon, 802 Williamson Drive fgordon@mgsattorneys.com

Terry A. Henderson, 1001 Vance St. thenderson.1000@att.net

Below are sample descriptions of some of the issues raised by the project. Although you should express your concerns to reflect your own views and situation, these may be helpful in preparing any comments.

RE: 908 Williamson Drive, Preliminary Subdivision Application Compact Development/townhouse (SUB 0045-2022)

  • This proposed development for Williamson Drive is grossly inconsistent with the aesthetic of our 100-year-old historic neighborhood. As such, this proposed development could easily be the beginning of the destruction of the fabric of this established neighborhood. For many years, Raleigh has successfully encouraged the preservation of its historic areas, which has made it a more attractive and livable place. If the changes that the City Council made last year to the Uniform Development Ordinance are applied to allow such development as this, it will ultimately lead to the deterioration of its older urban neighborhoods and the city as a whole.

  • None of the goals stated by the city council as the reason for changing the Uniform Development Ordinance to allow this kind of development are achieved by this proposal.

  • The city’s stated “goal of reducing carbon emissions and other air pollutants” will not be measurably furthered by this project. These are detached dwellings (nearly twice what would normally be allowed under R-4 zoning) and there is little to no evidence that the purchasers will be inclined to use the skeletal bus system. Moreover, whatever value that this proposal may have towards reducing carbon emissions and providing a handful of additional dwelling units is grossly outweighed by the aesthetic damage that will be caused to one of Raleigh’s most venerable and best-known historic neighborhoods.

  • This proposal will not contribute to the city’s effort to locate these developments “close to jobs and shopping” so as to promote walking and reduce car trips. There is little to no shopping within a reasonable walking distance from this project, and there are very few places of employment within a reasonable walking distance.

  • Raleigh has been successful in creating denser urban residential development without the need to destroy established urban neighborhoods. Examples include the new housing in the Warehouse District, in the areas around Glenwood South (stretching from Peace University to the developments in the Village District), Hillsborough Street, and North Hills. These types of developments better fulfill the goals sought in the UDO changes without encouraging the destruction of older historic homes and neighborhoods for the purpose of cramming new, incompatible developments into areas that don’t have the traffic or stormwater infrastructure to handle them. If the City allows the UDO to be applied in such a fashion, it will ultimately lead to the loss of the very characteristics that attract families to invest their time and effort in enhancing their neighborhood.

  • Destroying Hayes Barton will lessen Raleigh as a whole. Raleigh is a city composed of many neighborhoods. Hayes Barton is over 100 years old, and many of its homes are those originally built in the 1920s and 1930s by famous architects. Influential people from politics, the Arts, business, industry, women’s suffrage, and others, were part of the early fabric of the city that set the tone for some of Raleigh’s best qualities. In its recent celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of its founding in 1920, the Hayes Barton neighborhood documented and acknowledged the contributions of its past residents that have helped make the City of Raleigh the great city it is today.

  • This proposal will significantly add traffic and congestion to Williamson Drive, a small neighborhood street that is already overused as a cut through route from Glenwood Avenue to St. Mary’s Street. This proposal will result in at least 17 more cars using Williamson Drive several times per day. Construction is in progress for 11 new homes close by at Caswell Heights, where each home plan includes a 2-car garage. That’s about 40 more cars within a distance of 6 houses between the two developments.

  • This proposal will obviously negatively impact the creek that runs along Williamson Drive directly downhill from this proposed subdivision. All of the stormwater rejected by these impervious surfaces will go straight downhill, onto Williamson Drive, and into the creek; this creek feeds Pigeon House Branch, the area of which has been periodically flooded in recent years and is already the subject of mitigation efforts by the city.

  • This proposal will endanger numerous old growth trees. Those trees have added beauty and have embodied the neighborhood. They have cleaned the air of pollutants, shaded homes and land in the summer heat, and provided part of the neighborhood’s walkability.

  • Perhaps most significantly, speaking from an historic standpoint, this proposal will deliver a severe blow to the context of space and distance of lot sizes as originally constituted in the 1920 design of Hayes Barton. At the time, the landscaping and development of the neighborhood by a nationally recognized landscaper, Earl Sumner Draper, had very definite concepts that were innovative and state of the art. The bastardization and loss of these concepts is something that can never be recovered.

  • You have failed all of your constituents in this neighborhood by enacting an ordinance that now deprives us of the zoning protections and due process that we have relied on historically. This new process provides zero notice and zero opportunity to be heard regarding such a significant and drastic change in this neighborhood. As you should know, notice and an opportunity to be heard are fundamental constitutional requirements in America. You are taking vital parts of our neighborhood without any due process. The reduced opportunity for input into proposed projects under the amended UDO may benefit developers who use it to avoid questions or public input, but it will ultimately hurt the city, to the extent it facilitates incompatible development that is forced onto neighborhoods with no adequate opportunity to comment on changes that may have momentous impacts on the area and the people who live and own property there.

  • I will definitely be voting against anybody this fall who thinks that projects like this are good for the whole fabric of Raleigh.

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