Council Roundup: RPD Wants Cameras on Glenwood South

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By a 7-to-1 vote, the Raleigh City Council Tuesday gave the go-ahead Raleigh Police to apply for a grant that would fund surveillance equipment for Glenwood South.

Councilor Thomas Crowder voted against the application, calling the program “Orwellian.”

If awarded, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program grant would be $93,750 on top of a city contribution of $31,250. The total $125,000 will be used to purchase the equipment installed around the city’s most popular night spots.

Raleigh Police Lt. Dana Knuckles said the cameras will provide real-time viewing for parts of the area and help emergency services and police officers respond faster.

HOD Put on Hold, Again
An historic overlay district for an area of South Person and South Blount streets is delayed for two more weeks.

In order for it to get full approval, the motion needed six or more votes. It failed 5 to 3, with councilors Mary-Ann Baldwin, John Odom and Eugene Weeks voting against it. The issue will be brought back to the city council for another vote at its next meeting April 3.

The district was unanimously approved by the Comprehensive Planning Committee at its meeting last week.

The discussion has caused sharp divides in the South Raleigh area. Some neighbors advocate strongly for an historic overlay district because they say it will foster predictable and responsible development in historic areas. Opponents say the extra regulations will hinder development.

Among the opponents are the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Shaw University, which owns some property that would be located within the overlay.

Historic overlay districts don’t prevent the razing of historic buildings, but renovations or new development would have to be approved by city planning staff.

Weeks had previously suggested redrawing the lines or including historical easements so that property owners would not have to be included in the overlay.

“I’m not satisfied with how this report came out,” he said.

Councilor Randy Stagner said the reasoning behind the decision to keep the boundary lines was to protect the neighborhood as a cultural asset and that if the city continued to minimize the area, it wouldn’t be worth protecting it at all.

Read more about the proposed historic overlay.

Cultural Districts Created
To showcase Raleigh’s rich cultural history, the city has created its first two Cultural Districts, which are recognized by the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

The first, South Park-East Raleigh Cultural District includes parts of the historic South Park and East Raleigh neighborhoods, Moore Square, Shaw University, Chavis Park and some businesses on Wilmington and Hargett streets.

Parts of the area are part of one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in the country.

The other new cultural district is the New Bern Avenue-Edenton Street Cultural District. It’s near New Bern Avenue and Edenton Street, between North Person Street and Hill Street. The track is dotted with historical markers, outlining the area’s history.

Both districts were created with grassroots efforts by the community. In the case of the South Park-East Raleigh district, it was seven years in the making.

Cultural districts, unlike historic overlay districts, do not impose any additional regulations. Its use is to recognize and promote the cultural accomplishments of a neighborhood.

City Planning Director Mitch Silver said anyone interested in creating a cultural district for a particular area would need to contact the city’s Planning Department.

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