Planning Commissioners on Tuesday voted to unanimously recommend approval of two separate neighborhood mixed-use rezoning cases, while sending a third off to committee.
Z-9-15 concerned four vacant properties on S. West Street between W. Lenoir and W. South Streets. The property owner sought for all four lots to be rezoned to neighborhood mixed-use, with a three story height limit. The change would allow for some possible retail development or a three story residential development.While the city staff found the case to be inconsistent overall with the comprehensive plan and future land use map, they noted that the case was consistent with many comprehensive plan policies. Doug Hill, a planner with the city of Raleigh, said it is “all about appropriateness.”
Planning commission members debated whether a 10-day sit period was necessary for some of the technical language within the case. Ben Kuhn, representing the applicant, pushed for an immediate recommendation of approval. Eric Braun of the planning commission agreed with him and made the motion to recommend approval. It was passed unanimously.
Retail Development on Litchford Road Sent To Committee
The planning commission sent a rezoning case on Litchford Road to the committee of the whole. Z-2-15 concerned 6.95 acres and the proposed rezoning was to neighborhood mixed-use, with a three story height limit. The rezoning would increase residential density, along with office and retail intensities. Staff found it to be overall inconsistent with the comprehensive plan and future land use map.Attorney Tom Worth represented the applicant. He stated that the reason it was found inconsistent with the comprehensive plan was because the new rezoning would allow for primarily retail development, instead of office use. The applicant had already eliminated certain residential uses.
“We are committed, to whatever extent we can, to be accommodating of our neighborhood’s requirements,” Worth said.
Residents from the Woodstone neighborhood talked about the increased traffic that a new development would create. They noted that stormwater runoff would increase and that there was no need for another retail center with three already in the neighborhood.
The case was moved to the committee of the whole for further discussion.
Retail Development on Northside of Dixie Forest Recommended for Approval
The planning commission recommended approval of a rezoning case at the intersection of Litchford Road and Dixie Forest Road. The case — Z-7-14 — would rezone the 5.11 acre property to neighborhood mixed-use, with a three story height limit. The rezoning would increase residential density, along with office and retail intensities. Staff found it to be inconsistent with the comprehensive plan and the future land use map.
Michael Birch, from Morningstar Law Group, represented the applicant. He spoke of the unanimous vote of approval from the North citizens advisory council and that the rezoning would allow for some retail services on the north side of Dixie Forest Road.
Planning commission members focused on the intersection itself, asking questions about traffic congestion. A traffic engineer for the city of Raleigh said that a project to improve the intersection was in this year’s budget. If the budget was to be approved, the design phase for the project would begin.
The case was recommended for approval unanimously.