After more than a decade of discussion and debate, the 18 Citizen Advisory Councils in Raleigh will be changing their boundaries. The Raleigh City Council, which has to approve the changes, will hold a public hearing April 19.
Raleigh is comprised of 18 community districts and each person 18 years or older is a voting member of the Citizens Advisory Council. Each district’s chair member is responsible for communicating community issues and requests to the city council and the Raleigh CAC, which governs all CACs.
The proposal would create a new CAC and make small changes to existing boundaries.
The Raleigh CAC has been reviewing possible boundary alternatives with the city since 2000. Raleigh’s CAC boundaries, created in 1973, have remained untouched for 37 years.
“When I was voted chair, one of the agreements we had was to bring this change to a closure,” said Will Allen, chair of the Raleigh and Hillsborough CACs.
Allen proposed the new boundary map to city council last week.
Paul Brant, first vice chair of the Raleigh CAC and chair of the Northeast CAC, said the new boundaries follow recognizable lines such as corridors or rivers. They were decided based on four organizing principals: neighborhood characteristics, natural and manmade boundaries, population size and localized around a central meeting place.
Interstate-540 runs through the Northeast district, but under the new plans, it will split the district into two, creating a “New Northwest” CAC. The I-540 change would slightly affect members of the Falls, East, and Southeast CACs.
Allen said the most significant change is the merger of Falls of Neuse and Six Forks CACs, which would be renamed the Midtown CAC. The remaining portions of Falls of Neuse, Six Forks and a section of Northeast, would form a new CAC, Atlantic.
The proposal doesn’t change everything; many CAC boundaries will remain untouched. The unaffected districts include: North Central, Five Points, Glenwood, Mordecai, North, Northwest, Wade, South, and South Central. The other districts could experience significant or partial boundary changes.
At a council committee meeting this week, Councilman Bonner Gaylord said the changes make sense.
“If there are other changes or boundaries that you may change in the future, you need to get them right this time. But the boundaries that you are changing look to be static, long-term ones,” he said.
Population increases and industrial growth are key contributors for the decision to alter some of the districts. Brant said in 1974 when the CAC boundaries were created, the average number of people within one CAC was 7,000 to 14,000. Raleigh CAC Chair Allen said population in the North and Northwest districts is now more than 73,000 and more than 65,000 in the Northeast CAC.
Assistant Recreation Program Specialist Calvin Mitchell said Raleigh growth, especially in Central and South-Central Raleigh, is expanding.
“North Central and South Central may not be addressing the downtown atmosphere,” he said.
Mitchell said it may be beneficial to see how the public reacts to the proposed changes.
“Who knows? There may be some desire to keep it the way it is or make some other changes,” he said.
The city council will review the final proposal after the public hearing.