In every city council session, there are items that don’t make the news. They are either overlooked for more interesting or engaging stories or they are buried under an avalanche of technical language that makes them unapproachable. We, here at Raleigh Public Record, want to change that, starting with a new addition to our coverage — the city council agenda preview.
City council agendas follow a very traditional format. First, there is the consent agenda, for routine items that can be approved in just one motion. Second, there’s the report and recommendation of the planning commission, where public hearings are set for rezoning cases. There’s the report and recommendation for the city manager, and then for city departments. Finally, the committees — public works or law and public safety for instance — make their reports.
These agenda previews will highlight the most important, engaging, and interesting items that we feel the public needs to know about. Let’s start with the consent agenda.
These week, we will preview the city council sessions scheduled for May 5 — 1 p.m. for its regular session and 7 p.m. for its public hearings session.
Consent Agenda Items
General Obligation Bond Sale. As part of the Local Government Bond Act, local government is allowed to issue what are called “two-thirds bonds,” which are equivalent to two-thirds of the amount of outstanding general obligation indebtedness reduced in the preceding fiscal year. With the $5 million currently available, street improvement projects will be funded to allow for the development of the Raleigh Union Station project. If approved, a public hearing to consider the matter will take place on May 19, 2015, at 1 p.m.
Upper Walnut Creek Sanitary Sewer Interceptor. In the prior months, a presentation was made to city council about the implementation of the Upper Walnut Creek Sanitary Sewer project. With the preliminary design phase by Kimley Horn now complete, city staff is asking for a contract amendment of $1.1 million for final design and construction administration services. This is in conjunction with the next stage of the project.
Report and Recommendation of the City Manager
Raleigh Arts Plan Community Engagement Update. On August 12, 2014, the city of Raleigh entered into a contract with Cultural Planning Group to conduct a 12-month comprehensive process that will form the Raleigh Arts Plan, a ten-year master plan to strengthen the arts in Raleigh. Phase II has been focused on community engagement and this will be their update.
Buffaloe — New Hope Small Area Plan. In response to a citizen petition, staff conducted a workshop in September 2014 to discuss with 57 neighborhood residents the development of vacant property at the intersection of Buffaloe and New Hope Roads. Based off that workshop, staff produced a report that identified policies and a vision statement, which councilors can choose to adopt as a small area plan at the meeting.
The Five-Year Consolidated Plan. The five-year consolidated plan is a document required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that identifies entitlement community’s priority housing for very low-, low- and moderate-income city residents, as well as how to address those needs. This consolidated plan will guide Raleigh from July 2015 until June 2020. The plan will be presented to councilors at this meeting.
Z-34-14. Wachovia Bank is the owner of this 1.64 acre property on Creedmoor Road, and the zoning change would be from residential-4 to office-mixed-use. The northwest citizens advisory committee voted against the proposed rezoning. After this public hearing, city council will have the opportunity to approve, deny or hold the rezoning.
Z-38-14. The city of Raleigh owns this 1.18 acre property on Hillsborough Street. The rezoning would allow for an increase in residential density, as well as office and retail intensities. The building would have a maximum height of 20 stories in downtown Raleigh. Councilors will have the chance to approve the rezoning of their own property.
Z-39-14. This public hearing is to consider the case of .84 acre property on Hillsborough Street. The proposed rezoning would increase residential density, office intensity, and retail intensity. While the planning commission found the proposed rezoning to be consistent with the comprehensive plan, the central citizens advisory committee voted unanimously against the rezoning (24 against).