Council adopts the Comprehensive Plan

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The Raleigh City Council voted unanimously to adopt the 2030 Comprehensive Plan early Tuesday afternoon. The comprehensive plan will give the city a framework for growth over the next 20 years.

Only a few details remained in the two-year effort. At first, council continued meddling through the plan’s minutiae—including the nature of the downtown transitions area, wording discrepancies and zoning issues. But Mayor Charles Meeker urged his fellow council members to finalize and adopt the plan.

Mitch Silver, left, and Ken Bowers, right, of the planning department
talk council through final changes to the comprehensive plan. Photo
by C. Duncan Pardo.

“This is a milestone for us,” Meeker said. He made it clear that this is only a step in the course of progress for the next 20 years. “How successful this plan is,” Meeker said, “is dependent on how much work we put into it.”

The city’s planning department took two years to develop the plan. Creating the vision for the city’s future has focused heavily on the public input process. Planning Director Mitch Silver told council Tuesday that his staff will continue to work with the public on the plan.

Silver said the planning department is “committed to supplying a supplemental so the public can understand the policies they have to review, all the applicable policies they need to pay attention to.”

Mayor Pro-tem James West, left, and Mayor Charles Meeker, right,
consider final changes to the comprehensive plan. Photo by C.
Duncan Pardo.

The hotly debated Morgan Street area, originally slated to be part of the Central Business District, was designated a special study area at the last work session. The planning commission was concerned that the decision would leave eager developers in hiatus due to unspecified zoning. Today the council unanimously agreed to let the original 1989 zoning stand until a 6-month review defines the area.

The downtown transition areas, another important irritation for councilors, have been on the agenda for the past few work sessions. Councilor Thomas Crowder (District D) expressed concern about the potential for dense development to pop up next to lower-density residential areas, saying there were “conflicts in the language.” The planning department’s Ken Bowers assured him that the zoning on the Future Land Use Map would be the deciding factor. At last week’s work-session, council voted to alter the transition areas, giving a few outlying communities more breathing room between downtown and residential neighborhoods, as requested by the communities.

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