Raleigh City Councilors unanimously approved reducing the number of Planning Commission members from 12 to 10, but the group is still not compliant with state law.
Nine members of the commission will now represent residents of the city, with one representing residents living in the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) in Wake County. Currently, the 12-member board has three ETJ representatives.
To comply with state law, the commission must reduce its membership to nine, with only one member representing the ETJ. The city has not complied with the law for the past 20 years.
Raleigh’s Planning Commissioners agreed last Tuesday to reduce membership from 12 to 11 due to concerns with the lack of ETJ representation and the requirement of eight votes for site plan approval.
401 Oberlin Rezoning Approved
In other business, Councilors voted 7 to 1 in favor of a rezoning application for the 401 Oberlin project. Councilor Thomas Crowder voted against the application because of the unknown impacts of the project.
The 3-acre parcel sits on the northwest corner of Oberlin Road and Clark Avenue was originally zoned for residential and office use. The change allows for a planned mixed-use development, which will feature about 260 residential units and up to 14,000 square feet of retail space.
Some residents opposed the plan because of its inconsistency with the Comprehensive Plan and a predicted increase in traffic.
Other residents applauded the development for being consistent with a pedestrian-friendly environment.
CVS Caremark Contract Review Approved
City Councilors approved a review of the city employee prescription plan through CVS Caremark by an independent agency. Councilors also approved going forward with a request for proposal for a benefits consultant.
The city switched its prescription drug coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield last year to save money. Before making the deal official, the city paid Aon Consulting $27,000 to review the contract. Aon Consulting is already contracted with the city for projects requiring analysis.
Councilor and mayor-elect Nancy McFarlane had concerns about the cost of the program, which she felt were too high. McFarlane is familiar with drug costs from her work as a pharmacist and pharmaceutical company owner.
Since Aon Consulting does not have a fiduciary duty clause in its contract with the city, McFarlane wanted an independent consultant to review the contract to make sure that they got the best deal.
Flood Insurance Discount to Decrease
About 2,000 residents with flood insurance policies can expect to see their bills increase. Councilors agreed Tuesday not to change the permit application process for home additions.
Subsequently, the city’s Community Rating will increase to an 8, decreasing the discount policy holders get from 15 to 10 percent.
The Community Rating System, which is part of the National Flood Insurance Program, determines the discount floodplain residents receive on insurance premiums. The voluntary program has a rating system of 0 to 10; communities rated a 10 receive no discount.
The city is now rated at 7, which allows for a 15 percent discount on insurance premiums. The city could be as low as a 6, which would qualify resident for a 20 percent discount.
To keep the rating, the city would have to require structural plans when a homeowner applies for a permit to build an addition – like a deck — on his or her home. The plans would not have to be sealed by a design professional, but they would have to be prepared and reviewed by the city.
This would be required for all residents who apply for a permit, not just those located in a floodplain. While the Planning Department has the capacity to handle such a change, it would add time and possibly an extra expense to the permit process.
Text Changes Approved
The following text changes were approved.
Signage (Text Change 8-11)
City staff recommended no longer requiring an ID sticker on the front of permitted signage.
Raleigh Historic District Commission Name Change (Text Change 10-11)
Commissioners approved changing the name of the Raleigh Historic District Commission to the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.