Five Points area residents expressed their frustration and disappointment with Raleigh’s new zoning code at the Five Points CAC meeting earlier this month.
Only a handful of seats remained empty, as around 50 Five Points area residents and three city council members packed a multipurpose room for Raleigh Planning Director Ken Bowers’s presentation about the city’s new zoning code, the Unified Development Ordinance or UDO.
Residents repeatedly voiced concerns about the new building height standards, the new infill standards and the increase in the number of teardowns since the UDO was adopted.
Bowers said residents need to let the zoning staff know if residents think a house is in violation of the new zoning ordinance. He said inspectors would check on reported properties and fine the developer or builder for any zoning violations.
More than one resident asked if the city had enough inspectors to deal with complaints and whether the city was going to hire more inspectors if not.
Bowers said in addition to reporting suspected violations, residents could also pursue a historic district designation for their particular neighborhoods.
“If you want to preserve the character of a historic community, in my opinion, it’s the strongest tool that we have and really the only truly effective tool we have,” said Bowers.
The UDO includes two historic district designations: General Historic Overlay District and Streetside Historic Overlay.
Carole Meyre, the executive committee chair of the Five Points CAC, said she wanted residents to come away with the realization that there is still an opportunity to work with the planning department and the city council to make changes. Residents still have a voice but they have to act now she said.
Raleigh City Council members Kay Crowder, Bonner Gaylord and Russ Stephenson all encouraged residents to reach out to the council regarding any problems or concerns residents have regarding the UDO.
“It’s not over. It’s not been voted on so it’s not over. I know some of you feel like because the residential part has been done for a while it’s over because we’re mainly dealing now with the more commercial side but it’s not over,” Crowder said.
The next meeting of the Five Points CAC is scheduled for October 14. Meyre said she wants to bring in historic preservation staffers to continue the conversation.