Council Roundup: Public Input for Historic Guidelines, Part of Charter Square Sold

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CORRECTION APPENDED: This article originally stated the Historic District Commission’s committee in charge of certificates of appropriateness has three members. The committee has five members, but requires three to be present for a vote.

A large, contemporary home in Oakwood has prompted a broader debate about building in historic districts, and the public will soon be invited to share input.

The Raleigh Historic Development Commission relies on a set of guidelines to approve construction in Raleigh’s six historic districts: Blount Street, Boylan Heights, Capitol Square, Moore Square, Oakwood and Prince Hall.

The guidelines were last updated in 2001 and the Historic Development Commission has been in the process of an update since 2011. The final draft of that update is in the City Attorney’s office for review.

The decision to review the guidelines came after a request by Oakwood resident Gail Weisner in October. Weisner requested that Councilors deny a Certificate of Appropriateness for a new project at 516 Euclid St. in the Oakwood neighborhood.

516 Euclid

Karen Tam / Raleigh Public Record

A resident has requested that Councilors deny a Certificate of Appropriateness for this project at 516 Euclid St. in the Oakwood neighborhood.

Councilors Tuesday agreed to move forward with a discussion after the issue was heard in a special Comprehensive Planning Committee meeting held the day before.

“The strongest interest I’ve heard among all parties is that in reviewing and updating the Historic Development Commission guidelines,”Councilor Russ Stephenson said at the special meeting.“This might be an opportunity to bring in community comments about this and other changes that might be appropriate both in terms of the guidelines text themselves and in terms of the processes and makeup of the historic development commission.”

A date for the public discussion has not been scheduled.

Before construction can begin in a historic district, the project must be given a Certificate of Appropriateness. A five-member committee of the RHDC is responsible for making these decisions.

According to state law, the City Council can’t overturn a certificate of appropriateness, but the decision can be appealed to the Board of Adjustment. The Euclid Street project, which is already under construction, will be heard by the Board Jan. 13.

Councilors could change the process so that the entire commission, not just a special committee, is required to vote on a certificate.

Charter Square Property Sold to Dominion Realty
After buying back the Charter Square property from its original developer, Councilors Tuesday approved selling the southern portion of the site to Dominion Realty for $6.3 million.

Dominion wants to build a 230,000-square-foot office building on the site, which has already been approved by the Planning Commission. ch_sq_render1_2013_full

The property near City Plaza has remained fenced off since developers weren’t able to get financing for the original project. The city entered into a development agreement with Charter Square about six years ago with a stipulation that the project would be completed by Sept. 20, 2012. Hampered by the financial downturn, the developer asked for an additional year to begin construction.

Developers planned on building a mixed-use project that would include two towers, one for residential and one for office, with ground-floor retail in both.

When the developer still unable to get going, the city bought the property back. The maximum price tag for the sale is $20.2 million, part of which will be recouped with the sale to Dominion.

Dominion has two years to decide if it wants to purchase the north end of the property. If not, the city will market it to another developer.

Dominion has 30 years to purchase the city-owned parking deck that has already been built at Charter Square.

Downtown Plan Consultant Hired
Councilors also approved a contract with Sasaki Associates to develop a Downtown Plan that includes a 10-year vision with short-, mid- and long-term improvements. The city will pay Sasaki a lump sum of $343,500, including expenses.

Councilor Eugene Weeks was concerned that the study did not seem to include Shaw University, which sits on the southern tip of downtown Raleigh.

Planning Director Mitchell Silver said that Shaw University is included in the study as well as areas that are south of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

The plan will include various downtown improvements in transportation and connections between ares of the city and Dix Park recommendations for development sites. The plan will also make recommendations for future development, establish an urban identity and include destinations for visitor.

In a follow-up email to the Record, Silver said the previous downtown plan — the Livable Streets plan — was created in 2004 and outlined five goals to be completed in five years. The building of a convention center, the establishment of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and making improvements to Fayetteville Street were all part of the plan.

“The Livable Streets plan was the primary force behind Raleigh’s Downtown Renaissance,” wrote Silver. “But that plan was mostly limited to the Fayetteville Street corridor. Based upon new market forces for jobs, housing, entertainment and tourism, the new plan will focus the greater downtown area and address the new market demand driven by demographic shifts and the desire for a dynamic center city.”

Councilor John Odom voted against the contract, but did not specify why.

Rezonings Approved
City Councilors approved the following rezonings:

Z-23-13: 1 acre of property on Ebenezer Church Road near Barefoot Industrial to be rezoned from Industrial 1 Conditional Use to Industrial Mixed Use Conditional Use. Edens Land Corporation intends to use the property as a small car dealership.

Z-29-13: About 1 acre on Hillsborough Street near Henderson Street from Neighborhood Business and Residential 6 to Neighborhood Mixed Use 3. The rezoning allows an internal parking deck.

z-30-13: About 7 acres on Poole Road and Old Poole Road from Office and Industrial-1 and Thoroughfare District to Commercial Mixed Use 3 Conditional Use. The rezoning allows unlimited residential density, but one of the conditions puts limits about to how intense the project can become. The rezoning also caps building height at three stories.

Z-31-13: 8.5 acres on Rock Quarry Road near Barwell Road from Residential 15 to Residential Mixed Use 3. If approved, the rezoning would allow for more intense development including 4,000 square feet of retail space. Applicant Jim Baker will refile his application as a conditional use case in order to include a transit easement under the rezoning. It will come back in two weeks for Council approval.

Road Races Approved
Along with approving a new route for April’s Rock N Roll Marathon, Councilors also approved five additional smaller races. Residents can keep up with races and road closures on the city’s website.

Race: St. Timothy’s School benefiting Wake Medical Children’s Center
Location: 4523 Six Forks Road
Length: 5K
Date and Time: Saturday, March 1 at about 9 a.m.
Attendees: About 600

Race: Wake Tech 5K
Location: Wake Tech campus
Length: 5K
Date and Time: Saturday, March 15 at about 7:45 a.m.
Attendees: About 500

Race: Purple Stride Timed 5K Run
Location: NC State’s Centennial Campus
Length: 5K and Family Fun Run
Date and Time: Saturday, May 17 at about 8 a.m.
Attendees: 1,500

Race: Race for the Cure
Location: Hillsborough Street between Gorman Street and Beryl Road
Length: 5K
Date and Time: Saturday, June 15 at 7 a.m.
Attendees: 15,000

Race: Grace Community Church Road Race
Location: 6561 Meridien Drive
Date and Time: Saturday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m.
Attendees: 350

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