A pair of development plans brought before the Planning Commission this week triggered a series of discussions on the growing lack of affordable and low-income housing in Raleigh – and what steps, if any, the city could take to address the problem.
Both plans call for new apartment complexes inside the Beltline, one at 3531 Horton St. near Martin Middle School, the other at 2600 Glenwood Avenue near the Carolina Country Club. Both would be developed by Grubb Ventures, and both would replace long-standing affordable apartment buildings.
Wake County real estate records show that Grubb Ventures purchased the existing Glenwood Gardens complex in 2012 and the Palms Apartments on Horton in 2008.
Developer Gordon Grubb explained that after an extensive analysis, it was determined that simply repairing and maintaining the properties was not financially feasible.
A handful of local residents expressed concerns over the loss of affordable housing, and, Grubb said, while his company would do everything they could to help those currently living in the two complexes, renovating instead of replacing them would also require a rent increase beyond what most living there could afford.
Ken Bowers, the city’s deputy planning director, said that in Raleigh, as in most other cities, the need for affordable housing exceeds the level of availability.
“The long-term solution to affordability is not to restrict the supply of housing. When redevelopment occurs, it increases the overall density, you are adding new supply into the marketplace,” which can help stabilize the average cost for rental units, Bowers said.
Donna Wolcott, a Raleigh resident who said she has delivered Meals on Wheels to the Glenwood Gardens apartments, said while it would be unfortunate for the city to lose another low-income housing complex, the Gardens as they stand “are not in very good shape, and ready for replacement.”
Of Grubb, she said that he and his company are “an excellent example of a group that does try to do the right thing, and be cooperative,” and that she appreciated the plans he had laid out to help the displaced residents.
Wolcott urged the city to consider adopting inclusionary zoning practices, which would require a given share of new construction to be made affordable to those with low to moderate incomes. This, of course, would be an issue for City Council, and is well beyond the scope of the Planning Commission, which, incidentally, voted unanimously to recommend approval of the site plans for both apartment complexes.
Raleigh retirees 55 and up looking to live out their golden years in gold-plated fashion — and for whom affordable housing is of little personal concern — will soon have a new option when it comes to choosing an upscale adult-living community.
Permits for the new Capital Oaks Retirement Resort, to be located on Ray Road in north Raleigh, were issued last week, allowing for the final, and at $15.57 million, the most expensive phase of construction, to begin.
The resort, like its nearby contemporaries The Cypress, The Springmoor and Wakefield Plantation, is a far cry from the dreary, despondent dwellings that typically spring to mind when one thinks of retirement homes. The resort offers amenities such as swimming pools, beauty salons and even indoor theaters. In short, Capital Oaks is no Sunnyvale Oaks, the facility depicted in the classic Twilight Zone episode “Kick The Can.”
In completely unrelated news, permits for a $25,000 upfit for Bingo on the One at 1640 South Saunders have been issued, allowing for a space dedicated to the most socially acceptable form of gambling this side of workplace March Madness brackets.
Adrenaline junkies seeking a rush more intense than even the most harrowing game of bingo can offer will be pleased to learn that permits have been issued for a Raleigh location of the indoor trampoline park franchise Sky Zone.
The 27,151-square-foot space will be built out inside of an existing warehouse on 2101 Westinghouse Boulevard, allowing revelers more than enough space to partake in the facility’s numerous activities, including the freestyle Open Jump, the fitness class SkyRobotics and, most alluring to the inner-bully in us all, Ultimate Dodgeball.
In addition to the Greenway Village at Lake Boone and 2600 Glenwood apartment complexes, Planning Commissioners this week also voted to recommend approval of the site plans for the Hibernian Entertainment Beer Garden on Glenwood and a Rex Hospital Heart and Vascular Tower on Lake Boone Trail.
The Commission also heard two rezoning cases that both arose from citations issued for violations of existing zoning regulations. The first was for Sanchez Brothers Masonry on Mitchell Mill Road in northeast Raleigh, which was cited for extending its storage yard area into the front and back yards. As rezoning the property to allow for such storage was found to be inconsistent with both the Future Land Use Map and the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, the commissioners voted unanimously to deny recommendation of the plan.
The second rezoning case would allow an existing bail bonds business to continue operating on Rush Road in South Raleigh. Owner David Beasley was issued a notice of violation in August of last year, as the current zoning restricts such a business from operating on the property. Beasley explained he was unaware of this restriction, as he had originally intended the space to be used as an administrative office and was forced to relocate his entire business there after his downtown office building was condemned in 2010.
The Planning Commissioners decided the case required further study, and moved to place it in the Committee of the Whole, which will next meet June 3.
The other rezoning case heard this week was less complicated; a 48-unit apartment complex on Tryon Road and Trailwood Hills Drive. Although there was some contention over the distance between the proposed development and the nearest city recreation facility, the Commissioners eventually voted unanimously to recommend approval of the plan.