Sidewalk Cafe Safety Questioned

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A city committee looked into the safety concerns with sidewalk cafes after resident Stephen Kravwatt petitioned the city at the Sept. 20 meeting to strengthen its regulations on outdoor dining.

Kravwatt said his initial interest came after a car drove onto the sidewalk at a Cameron Village restaurant in early September, injuring three people.

Kravwatt said he was directly connected to the injured women though he did not elaborate how.

The matter was discussed in the Law and Public Safety committee last Tuesday. Committee members decided to report the issue out of committee and have the fire marshal investigate outdoor seating for potential safety issues.

Councilor Thomas Crowder said while he hopes that the event was just a freak accident, he believed that having some sort of barrier between the street and the diners, like bollards, would not be an onerous burden on the property owner and be in the interest of public safety.

Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin, who is the committee chair, said if the city approved an ordinance for private property the city would become liable.

Crowder countered that it would be like any other inspection issue and that the inspector would be liable, not the city. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable,” said Crowder. “I just don’t see this as something that we should just blow off.”

“I don’t think we’re blowing this off,” responded Baldwin. “I think that by having the fire marshal  conduct some representative inspections, we’re trying to learn whether this is a significant issue or not”

The council voted 7 to 1 in favor of the motion with Crowder voting against.

St. Aug’s Stadium Schedule and Lot Sale Gets OK’d

Together with the city, St. Augustine’s has put together a building schedule for its 2,500-seat football and track stadium.

The school will have six months to receive its building permit, the parking must be completed within two years and the rest of the project completed within four.

The stadium was unanimously approved by the council at the last meeting in front of hundreds of students and school supporters. Some neighbors spoke out against the project citing concerns with lighting, noise and traffic.

City councilors also approved the school’s plan to purchase 15 city-owned lots to build single family homes for low- and moderate- income residents.

St. Augustine’s College received a $300,000 Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund the project. The school will buy the property from the city for $20,000 per lot at 0 percent interest until the homes are sold. The grant stipulates that the homes must be ready for sale by 2013.

The sale will be up for public hearing on Nov. 1.

Supportive Housing Registration Approved

City Councilors unanimously agreed to authorize staff to begin a registration program for supportive housing residences. Those are residences for people who need care for various reasons, including recovering drug users, and people with physical or mental disabilities, but who don’t have family support. Organizations that run supportive housing would be required to register annually for a fee of $76. The registration program will start January 1.

The measure came from a proposed ordinance that would increase the distance between supportive housing residences from 375 yards to 880 to avoid clustering in certain parts of the city. Upon staff review, the city found that without an annual registration program it was almost impossible to know how many residences were still active.

Between mailings and site visits, the city ascertained there are 216 homes that remain active out of the 319 that applied for supportive housing status over the past 20 years.

The city denied the ordinance increasing the distance and said it will review the issue again after the registration program has been in effect for one year.

Public Art Policy Approved

City councilors voted 7 to 1 in favor of the new Public Art Policy created by the Public Art and Design Board (PADB). Councilor John Odom voted against the policy and requested that it be put into committee for review.

The Public Art Policy lays out the process for acquiring and maintaining public art by the city. It also includes the Percent for Art program, which was not included in the old policy.

Board chair Thomas Sayre said that the policy has undergone seven revisions and uses examples from public art policies nationwide.

Because the ordinance would not require council action for the art acquisition and placement, Odom said he was concerned about the potential costs of the program going forward.

Sayre said that the PADB, which is appointed by the chair of the Raleigh Arts Commission, would make the final decisions as to what art goes where. He added that it is the norm in public art policies to have a separation between politicians and the art.

Petition Annexations Approved

The following petition annexations were approved:

  • Rex Property
  • Fallsford Townhomes
  • UV2505, LLC
  • Tyson Roe
  • Thales Academy
  • Lot 2 Loch Haven
  • 2604 Lake Wheeler Road – Annexation deferred
  • 4409 Dewees Court
  • 2305 Windy Woods
  • 114 Bashford Road – Annexation deferred

 

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