Council Roundup: Councilors Disagree on Sign Task Force Role

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Raleigh Councilors this week disagreed with how a newly formed task force will be handling issues with the current sign ordinance.

While Mayor Nancy McFarlane said the group’s focus will be on the procedural issues and issues related to signs inside of windows, Councilor Bonner Gaylord said the group should also put together a report of other issues with the law that come up during discussions.

“I don’t think we have the staff and the ability to look at the whole sign ordinance right now,” McFarlane said.

The Mecca restaurant sign downtown.

Karen Tam / Raleigh Public Record

The Mecca restaurant sign downtown.

Councilors will continue to nominate people for the 10-person task force for the next week. Then, Councilors Wayne Maiorano, Gaylord and Thomas Crowder will work together to form the official committee.

Gaylord said the group doesn’t have to fully discuss all of the problems, but the group should be able to bring back a report that the Council can act on later.

“We can decide on whether to act on them or act on specific ones,” he said.

“I think that’s opening up the whole sign ordinance, and I have a problem with that, too,” said Crowder. “Our sign ordinance has served us extremely well.”

Councilor John Odom, who staunchly opposed the city’s sign ordinance for years, said the entire law needs to be reviewed. Odom said he gets complaints about the ordinance every day.

“We haven’t done this in 30-some years,” Odom said.

Gaylord said the entire Council is going to have a problem if they refuse to listen to the feedback from the community.

“We should at least gather the information,” he said.

McFarlane said she wants to hear if there are issues that come up consistently, but worries that asking for input may set up false expectations that the entire law will be reviewed and revamped in the near future.

Councilor Russ Stephenson suggested a two-step process: First, a discussion of the issue initially assigned to the task force, which is the permit process and signs in windows. Then, the Council could decide how much time they have to commit to the second list of issues that may come out of the discussion.

Tree Ordinances Could be in Jeopardy
Raleigh’s tree ordinances could be in jeopardy if proposed state legislation makes its way through the approval process.

tree

Hide Terada / Raleigh Public Record

File 2012: The sunset view of the federal building near St. Augustine’s College.

The draft legislation was recommended by the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission for introduction during the N.C. General Assembly’s short session, which begins this month.

If approved, the law would remove the city’s authority to regulate trees on private property. The city requires tree conservation for properties that are more than two acres and those in watershed protection districts. In some cases, the city also requires the planting of trees that act as buffers between properties.

The Council gave City Attorney Tom McCormick the go-ahead to reach out to the city’s delegation at the state legislature to try to stop the law from being introduced.

Eighth Contract Amendment for Forest Ridge Park

Councilors approved the eighth design contract amendment for Forest Ridge Park. The additional $34,658 will be used to pay the consultant to comb through the state building code and make sure that the design meets all the current regulations and make any necessary changes.

The joint project between the city and the state has been delayed because of city, state and federal lease negotiations. The park itself is located in the federally owned Falls Lake area.

The project contract underwent seven other amendments since 2009 for a total of about $539,000 in unforeseen costs.

New Seaboard Station Drive Parking Restriction
If you’re one of the people that park a car on Seaboard Station Drive, your free, all-day parking days are numbered.

peace_seaboardview1

Leo Suarez / Raleigh Public Record

Councilors Tuesday approved a two-hour time limit on the short block that connects Peace Street and Seaboard Avenue. The change came at the request of Big Daddy’s Burger Bar and York Properties, who would like to see some more turnover.

Crowder asked that the public works department take a look at possible safety hazards of the direct pull-in parking on Seaboard Avenue.

“I myself have almost gotten hit going through there with people pulling out,” Crowder said.

Road Races Approved
Race: WakeMed 5K and 10K Scrub Run
Location: Downtown
Length: 5K and 10K Road Race
Date and Time: June 21 from 3 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Attendees: Not specified

Race: Monster Dash 5K
Location: Clark Avenue near Oberlin Road
Length: 5K
Date and Time: Oct., 26 from 1 to 6 p.m.
Attendees: 1,200

Race: Raleigh’s Finest 5K
Location: Downtown
Length: 5K
Date and Time: July 26 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Attendees: 400

Race: Youth Triathlon
Location: Kerr YMCA, Sycamore Grove Lane
Length: Varied
Date and Time: Aug. 10 from 6:45 to 11 a.m.
Attendees: 200

Race: 9th Annual Youth Triathlon
Location: A.E. Finley YMCA, Baileywick Road
Length: Varied
Date and Time: Aug. 24 from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.
Attendees: 225

Race: RunRaleigh Rock’N Rebellion Half Marathon
Length: Half marathon
Date and Time: Oct. 5 from 7 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
Attendees: 600

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