The Raleigh City Council will have another crack at the proposed 17-story public safety center at its Tuesday afternoon meeting. The building has stirred controversy since the new council came in late last year.
The city manager will bring a proposal this week to fund the project with $130,000 in bonds. The project could mean an 8-percent tax increase.
The New & Observer reported recently that republican leaders in the area have called for the city to put the building, and its construction costs, up for a vote this fall. But Mayor Charles Meeker and City Manager Russell Allan have said that the city could save “tens of millions of dollars” by putting the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center out for bids this spring.
New zoning regs
A new set of regulations on zoning will come back before council this week. The new rules, required by a state law that went into effect at the beginning of the year, dictate how appeals will be heard.
The new rules require site plan appeals to go to city council for a quasi-judicial hearing: meaning that witnesses will be sworn in, only experts can testify on traffic and property values, and anyone will be able to cross examine witnesses. Read previous coverage of this text change here.
The only change the planning commission asked for is shortening the appeal window from 30 days to 20 days. The new appeal window requirement will mean that developers will not be able to begin working on a project until the window closes.
Handicapped parking downtown
The issue over handicapped parking downtown has gone back and forth in council’s budget and economic development committee since last year, but committee members finally reached a resolution last week.
The proposed regulation says that people with handicapped placards should be able to park as long as they want downtown after the new automated meters go in later this year. The catch is that handicapped people will have to pay for all the time they use. Current law says people can park for as they want without paying the meter. Under the new system, handicapped parkers will have to pay for all the time they use at the dollar an hour rate.
Hillsborough St. bike lanes
The public works committee developed a plan for bicycle lanes along the area of Hillsborough Street that is currently under renovation. See coverage from last week’s meeting here.
If the plan passes council, it will have to go to the state Department of Transportation for approval and out for a public hearing before council can give a final go-ahead.
Moore Square design implementation
Now that the Moore Square design competition winner has been announced, council could vote next week to move forward with the redesign. Chris Counts Studio, the winner of last year’s competition, proposed a $184,000 project to change the face of the downtown square.
In a memo to council, the city manager says the city has funds already allocated for the project.
From the consent agenda
Items on the consent agenda can be passed with one motion or councilors can pull items for debate and a vote.
City manager, attorney pension plans
Council could give final approval to increasing the city’s contribution to the city manager and city attorney’s pension plans. Read the resolutions below. The proposal, which council already approved last year when it reviewed the attorney’s and manager’s performance, would be retroactive back to 2002.
Green roof funding
A grant for $125,500 will help with the city’s program to put green roofs on fire stations. The state’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund is putting in the money, along with almost $140,000 from the federal stimulus package, to put green roofs on 9 fire stations in Raleigh and two Wake County facilities.
The city also contributed about $107,000 to the project and the county put in about $17,000. Read more on the project here.