Editor's note: This post is the first of what will be regular city council coverage.
By C. Duncan Pardo
Two hot topics brought West Raleigh residents to today’s city council meeting. The council discussed the new building proposal for Cameron Village, but held the real debate for next week. Moving down Clark Avenue to Peace Street, council members assured Broughton High School parents and alumni they would help find a compromise for student parking at the school. And a 6-2 council vote approved new permanent water conservation measures and increased the number of days people can water each week.
The proposed six-story building in Cameron Village at the corner of Clark Avenue and Oberlin Road will be back in front of council in another two weeks. The project’s developer increased the setback for the building from 10 feet to 15 feet, but councilors expressed reservations about the six-story design. The Urban Design Guidelines say buildings should be capped at three stories, but those are guidelines and not requirements.
A yard sign near Oberlin Road protesting the new building proposed for Cameron Village. (Photo: C. Duncan Pardo)
Thomas Crowder (District D) was concerned about the building height and confusion between the guidelines and regulations. Russ Stephenson (At-Large), who lived a block from the building site, commended the developer for “the work put into addressing residents’ concerns." The council pushed the proposal to a special item at the next council meeting. After the council moved on the next item, more than two-dozen people wearing bright green “Smart Growth for Cameron Village” stood and walked out of the council chambers.
The council did not give its blessing to the proposed parking lot at Broughton High. The planning commission voted 6 to 3 to deny the school’s request to pave over the lawn in front of the school along Peace Street. Mayor Charles Meeker pointed out that during the day there are a number of open parking spaces at Cameron Village and along St. Mary’s Street that could be used for student parking.
Philip Isley (District E) pointed out the traffic problems around Broughton before school and after classes get out, drawing cheers from the more than 20 people who came to support the parking lot. Recognizing the controversy, Isley said, “Whatever decision we make, it’s gonna be the wrong decision.”
The council handed off the parking lot question to City Manager Russell Allen to work with the school board to figure out a good compromise. Meeker said, “We are going to try to satisfy both sides here."
On the water front, the council approved additional permanent conservation measures. Residents can now water three days a week instead of two. The new restrictions include language about “water waste,” such as sprinklers watering sidewalks and driveways. The take-home message on wasting water: don't do it. The council also voted to move “indoor water restrictions” from Stage 2 Restrictions to make them standard practice. That mean Raleigh residents will always have to ask for water in restaurants and local hotels have to limit the washing of linens.
Meeker voted against implementing the restrictions now. He said he wanted to wait for the full package of water restriction changes expected by the end of the year. Meeker said he doesn’t want “the public to get the impression” that the time for water restrictions has passed, but said he doesn’t want to change the rules too many times.