The debate about the changes to a master plan for a future development on Hillsborough Street remains in a Raleigh City Council committee until a compromise can be reached.
Raleigh Planning Commissioners this week approved the amendments needed to begin the last phase of the Stanhope development, a mixed-use building of student apartments and retail space on Hillsborough Street.
City Council members delayed final approval last week in order to discuss the changes in the Comprehensive Planning Committee meeting.
The main point of contention between the neighborhood and the developer is the height of the building, which would go from the currently allowed 40 feet to 86 feet.
Complicating the matter is a debate between feet and stories when describing the height of a building. In today's code, feet are used, but the new Unified Development Ordinance uses both.
While the developer is looking at a seven-story building, neighbors are willing to compromise at five.
Robin Currin, an attorney representing the developer, said they are willing to come down to 79 feet, which would put the building at visually the same level as the 75-foot Kerr Drugs building, also part of the development. At 79 feet, the building could still house seven stories.
Currin said the developer has been meeting with investors who have expressed interest in a building at that height.
While the 79-foot-tall building might end up being five stories, Currin said that a limitation to only five stories isn't something the developer could do.
Planning Director Mitch Silver said that once a seven-story building is established, it becomes a mark that other developments can use in the future. He observed that if the UDO were in effect today, a five-story building would be 75 feet.
Resident Malissa Kilpatrick, a neighbor that lives close to the project, said the building will create a shadow over the area. It would also increase traffic to an area which, she said, is already plagued by problems.
Mike Rieder, chair of the Wade Citizens Advisory Council, said CAC members support a five-story development and they gave the clear message that they wanted the building to match the Kerr Drugs building.
Councilor and Committee Chair Russ Stephenson asked that the case be held until the committee's next meeting Jan. 9 so that the developer could consider a five-story maximum height.