Council Receives Update on Hospitality District, Historic Landmarks

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In its regular afternoon session Tuesday, City Council discussed issues ranging from a proposed white water rafting park to historical landmark designations.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Kay C. Crowder were not in attendance. John Odom served as Mayor Pro Tem for the two sessions.

A few items were pulled from the consent agenda for further discussion, including two items that concerned Raleigh Union Station, the subject of a project that “is a core element of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan to create a multi-modal transit center to serve as a regional gateway to Downtown Raleigh.”

In particular, the budget amendment for Raleigh Union Station, which authorized the City Manager to execute additional grant documentation and a budget amendment of $17,250,000, was pulled because it had already been voted on and as such did not need a second vote.

In a report to council, the City Manager’s office suggested they adopt the “Hospitality District Ordinance,” which, if it reaches approval after a public hearing, would designate Glenwood South in downtown Raleigh as a hospitality district, as part of a one-year pilot program. If it reaches approval, permit holders would be allowed to play music at certain times of the day at certain decibel levels. Music includes recorded music and live acoustic music.

“Stakeholders worked on this and came together,” Mary-Ann Baldwin said of the ordinance, adding that the ordinance has the possibility of “improved relationships between residents and merchants.”

The report also gave a brief update on the Falls Whitewater Park project, which, while simply received as information, appeared to have the support of at least two council members—Mary-Ann Baldwin and Bonner Gaylord.

“We want to continue to attract the best, the brightest, the top talent out there,” Gaylord said. “And this amenity will do that.”

Baldwin added that the “project needs to continue” and that it will “make a statement in Raleigh,” showing “commitment to Parks and Recreation and adding diversity.”

In the final recommendation of the City Manager, the stakeholder group between Cameron Village Vicinity Plan and Hillsborough Street Society was discussed. Because there is considerable overlap between the two groups, the city manager recommended that a stakeholder advisory group be appointed to coordinate between the two efforts and sustain citizen participation in the planning process. A list of names was included in the council members’ packets of who might be appointed.

Council member Russ Stephenson said he had spoken to certain members of the stakeholder groups and “wanted to hold this [item] for two weeks to build trust in the stakeholder groups.”

Baldwin emphasized that she didn’t want to lose momentum on the project and that “this is timely and very important.”

The ultimate decision of the council was to give those appointed a chance to find alternates in a two-week timeframe if they didn’t want to serve on the stakeholder advisory group.

Council also heard a report from the Raleigh Historic Development Committee, in which two historic landmark applications were considered for moving to the next stage in their respective processes—the Lewis-Joyner House at 304 East Jones Street and the Atwater-Perry House at 904 East Hargett Street.

Both received unanimous approval to move on to the next stage of their respective processes.

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