City’s vision for development to be ready in April

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A document outlining the city’s vision for future development will be ready for public comment in April.

The city is in the middle of drafting a new code, called the Unified Development Ordinance, or UDO. This revision, a complement to the 2009 changes to the Comprehensive Plan, will affect all future development in the city, dictating rezonings, site plans and subdivisions.

Code Studio, the city’s consultant on the UDO project, provided a status report Tuesday at the City Council meeting. The plan is scheduled for a 60-day public comment period starting April 6.

The new plan aims to update the code to more contemporary practices, ensuring growth is focused into mixed-use, dense areas instead of sprawl. Code Studio officials also said the new plan will be easier for the city and the public to understand.

Mayor Charles Meeker said Tuesday the goal is to “take Raleigh into the 21st century.”

“Instead of the 1970s or ‘60s or wherever we are today,” he said. “Everyone knows our code is outdated. It’s time for a change.”

The documents will not include a map at first. A map of the new code is not part of the original scope of work and will be created six to 18 months after the new code is adopted. That point raised eyebrows from Councilman Thomas Crowder, who compared the zoning code to reading a French novel.

“A map is what engaged the public in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan,” he said. “Whether it’s part of the scope or not, it needs to be part of this process.”

A public hearing on the document is tentatively scheduled for July, with City Council review and consideration to take place in the summer or fall. Meanwhile, the city has been educating the public about the plan through Community Advisory Committees.

In other business:

The council clarified its “Percent for Art” ordinance to include major streetscape projects.

By city ordinance, one half of 1 percent of money spent on capital improvement projects in the city is spent toward the creation and development of public art.

The new language includes streetscape projects, which “generally cover multiple city blocks in a City Council-established economic development focal area where the visual and functional character of all infrastructure within the right of way is redesigned and rebuilt to foster a more competitive, visually attractive and pedestrian-oriented environment.”

Examples include Fayetteville Street, Glenwood South and Hillsborough Street.

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