City Council Agenda Preview

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James Borden

City Council Meetings are held at 222 W. Hargett Street

City Council session on March 15 — 1 p.m.

The City Council Agenda Preview is intended as an in-depth look at what’s coming up for discussion in the next Council session.

While the framework of this series is, naturally, the City Council Agenda, available here, additional information and background is often included as a way of providing better context on the issues while leaving out some of the more technical details found in the agenda.

The format follows the agenda items in the order in which they will be presented to Council, although we group the items from the Consent Agenda section in a slightly different way.

City Council Meetings are held at 222 W. Hargett Street

James Borden

City Council Meetings are held at 222 W. Hargett Street


Consent Agenda

The consent agenda is a set of routine items that can be approved by a roll-call vote at the beginning of a meeting. 

Consent Agenda: Contracts & Finance

  1. Fire Station No. 14 Design Contract: First opened in 1973 and currently located at 4220 Lake Boone Trail, Fire Station No. 14 is now scheduled for a relocation and rebuild. The new site will be on Harden Road, a plan that some residents were less than thrilled with. Stewart-Cooper Newell, which recently designed Fire Station No. 12 (another relocate-rebuild project), was awarded a $474,540 contract for the design of the new Fire Station No. 14. The building footprint from the design of No. 12 will be utilized. The City is currently prequalifying general contractors to bid on the construction of  No. 12, so we don’t have any pictures, but to get an idea of the work Stewart-Cooper Newell has done in the past, you can check their website. Our favorite: Pleasant Valley Fire Station No. 14
  2. Fire Station No. 11 Contract Amendment: Unlike stations 12 & 14, Station No. 11, built in 1971 and located at 2925 Glenridge Road, will not be relocated or rebuilt, but rather, renovated. Stewart-Cooper Newell was awarded this project as well. The $192,185 amendment Council is being asked to approve will authorize the architectural firm to move forward with final design, bidding and construction administration for the station renovation. This brings the total amount paid to Stewart-Cooper Newell for this project to $280,981.  One point of minor interest: there is no Fire Station No. 13 in Raleigh, but there is one in Charlotte. Does that mean the Queen City is less superstitious than the City of Oaks?
  3. Fire Station No. 21 Lease Agreement: A company by the name of Cellco Partnership, which is doing business as Verizon Wireless, has negotiated a lease at the site of Fire Station No. 21 at 2651 Southall Road. The company will install “cellular telecommunications equipment on the Duke Energy transmission tower and the site. ” Cellco will pay the City $10,800 per year, with a three percent annual increase over a ten-year term.
  4. Brentwood Estates Sewer Project: In September of 2015, the City received proposals for Phase I design work on a sewer improvement project in Brentwood Estates. The project “is located along a tributary to Marsh Creek between New Hope Church Road and the dead end of Long Bow Drive for a distance of 6,100 feet.” The Wooten Company will be paid $130,000 for Phase I, which will include “pipe condition and capacity assessment.” Fees for work on Phase II, which would include final design and construction, would be paid in a future contract amendment.
  5. Wastewater Treatment Plan: Black and Veatch was selected to handle a sewer project much larger in scope than the one at Brentwood Estates. The engineering firm will be tasked with providing “an assessment of existing wastewater treatment capacity throughout the service area, along with evaluations of future wastewater treatment options for a 30-year planning window.” For this, Black and Veatch will be paid $532,153. The original budget for this design work was $400,000.
  6. Sole Source Procurement: “The City is allowed by state statute (GS 143-129 (e)(6)I to waive competitive bidding when the need for standardization and compatibility is an overriding consideration.” This may sound ominous, but it’s just a series of six wastewater pump and lift station improvement projects that will cost the city a little over a half-million dollars. The six jobs are split among four contractors; CITI — Instrumentation, Control System Integration Services, was awarded three contracts totaling $274,247,  Fairbanks Morse Pump received one contract for $101,525, Cornell Pump Company one for $42,000 and Smith & Loveless one in the amount of $95,400.
  7. Crash Reconstruction Unit Grant: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the City $11,250 in grant funding for equipment and continuing education for the Raleigh Police Department’s Crash Reconstruction Unit. The unit deals with the investigation and adjudication of “very serious and/or fatal motor vehicle crashes.” The City’s required match for the grant is $3,750. Oddly enough, the Council Agenda calls for the authorization of a budget amendment in the amount of $18,750, which is $11,250 (grant funding) + $3,750 (match) + $3,750 (??). We couldn’t figure out where that final number was coming from and reached out to the City Manager’s office for clarification. This post will be updated accordingly.
  8. Interlocal Agreement for Paratransit Shared Mobility Management Services: Fiscal Year 2016 marks the second full year of the implementation of a City-County partnership for GoRaleigh Access, an Americans with Disabilities Act-required paratransit service. The actual services are contracted out to a company by the name of Ride Right LLC, a subsidiary of the larger Medical Transportation Management corporation. Fun fact for fans of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series: MTM was founded by a family named the Griswolds. Back to the contract: it will include everything from shared office space with GoRaleigh to special ride-tracking technology and is budgeted at $265,265 for the year. The City of Raleigh kicks in 20 percent of that, $53,053.
  9. NCDOT Utility Agreement: The Capital Boulevard Corridor Improvement project will include replacing the bridge on Capital over Peace, built in 1948, and the bridge on Capital at Wade, built in 1954, both of which are classified as “structurally deficient.” As part of this project, a number of sewer and water lines will need to be relocated and replaced. The amount of the agreement is $5,201,858. Remember that when this project eventually brings traffic along Capital and on Wade and Peace to a grinding halt: this project sure is inconvenient, but at least it was expensive.
  10. Public Works Department Budget Transfer: This one’s kind of funny: 29 City vehicles have been declared a “total loss” due to accidents in Fiscal Year 2016, which began in July 2015. This works out to about three City vehicles getting destroyed in accidents every month. The department is asking for $90,944. We have no context for this data and have no idea if it’s normal for this many vehicles to get destroyed in this time period. We filed a records request and will publish the results once we have them. It might take a little while due to the unique nature of the request.

Consent Agenda: Public Petitions

  1. Taylor-Long Residence Annexation: The owner of a property on Fonville Road is requesting an annexation of .97 acres for residential use. A public hearing would be held for the case on April 19, 2016.
  2. Community Development Annual Action Plan: “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires entitlement communities under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs to hold two public hearings annually.” That’a s mouthful. The last such hearing was held in December; a new one is being scheduled for April 5.

Consent Agenda: Streets & Traffic

  1. Speed-Limit Reduction: Ashley Ridge Drive, Coxindale Drive, and Valley Stream Drive will soon see their speed limits dropped from 35 to 25 miles per hour, thanks to a petition that was signed by more than 75 percent of residents/property owners in the area. These roads are classified as “Neighborhood Street” and “Neighborhood local.”
  2. Right-of-way condemnation: In order to maintain the quality and reduce the treatment costs of the reuse water stored in a tank on Sunnybrook Road, the City is implementing a program to have it drained and cleaned with greater frequency. Due to title issues, the City needs to condemn the property at 245 Sunnybrook in order to gain the necessary easements to perform this maintenance.
  3. Encroachment Request: 3128 Highwoods Boulevard: Level 3 Communications wishes to install fiber optic cable in the right of way on Highwoods Boulevard.
  4. Encroachment Request: North Wilmington, South Wilmington, and Capital Center Drive: Fiber Technology Networks, a subsidiary of Dycom Industries, has requested permission to install 4,728 feet of fiber-optic-cable in the right of way of these streets.
  5. Encroachment Request: 223 South West Street: As part of its redevelopment of the old Dillon Supply Warehouse, Kane Realty is requesting permission to install the following items in the right of way on South West Street: temporary shoring, specialty pavers, light poles, tree grates, bike racks, trash cans, building foundations to support existing wall, grease traps, 19 linear feet of 15-inch reinforced concrete pipe for roof drainage, balconies, metal and fabric awnings, canopies, and sconces in the right of way.

Planning Commission Report and Recommendations 

The Planning Commission is the first stop for development projects that exceed the boundaries for administrative approval. The Commission chooses whether or not to recommend projects for approval to Council; the final decision ultimately lies with Council. 

  1. Z-27D-14: This case is a blast from the past: specifically, last July, when overflow crowds turned out for a public hearing on this citywide remapping case. Record editor James Borden was on hand to live-tweet the night, and former City Hall Reporter Chris Tepedino was on hand to actually report on what was being said.  The zoning conditions are now less restrictive than they were when proposed in July 2015, and the Planning Commissioners recommended that Council either schedule a public hearing or discuss it in committee.
  2. Text Change: TC-3-16 — Historic Overlay Districts: Code concerning Historic Overlay Districts will be clarified to explain that alleys are not considered “roads.” Planning Commissioners recommended approving this change.
  3. Z-34-13: This case involves 6.4 acre property on Hillsborough Street currently zoned both residential-10 and residential-4. The applicant wants to rezone the property to residential-10 to allow for a town home development. Planning Commissioners recommended approval of the project, and suggested that Council schedule a public hearing for April 5.
  4. Z-46-15: This case seeks to rezone a small (. 37 acre) parcel of land in Southeast Raleigh at the corner of South West and West Lenoir streets from R-20 to I-X. This would allow for a broader range of uses once the site developed. The applicant hasn’t announced specific plans for the site and in documents filed with the city, proposes the possibility of “light industrial, commercial, service/retail, and residential uses.” Planning Commissioners recommended approval of the project, and suggested that Council schedule a public hearing for April 5.

Special Items

These are unique issues that do not fit into the categories found on the Council’s Agenda.

  1. No Parking Zone on St. Alban’s Drive: This item originally appeared on the March 1 Agenda, but Councilor Gaylord requested that it be held for further consideration. It would establish a “No Parking zone on the south side of St. Albans Drive, west of the intersection with Cardinal at North Hills Street.”
  2. Leesville Road Widening Project Fallout: At the March 1 Council meeting, Scott Benrube addressed Councilors on the issues the Leesville Road Widening Project had caused for his property. Staff is now recommending approval of several improvements, including driveway and curb installations. One issue Benrube brought up however, flooding, was determined not to be caused by the project.
  3. Streetside Vending: Council will discuss further the issue of allowing Food Trucks to operate in the right of way in five target zones near the Downtown Area. Although we haven’t covered this issue very extensively, it’s certainly one of much interest to downtown residents, business owners, and visitors alike.

Report and Recommendation of the City Manager

These are items brought to Council directly by the City Manager’s office. Often, they are presentations designed to shed more light on issues before Council.

  1. Police Body-Cameras: Originally scheduled for discussion at the Council Work Session on February 29, this item was postponed due to an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Akiel Denkins at the intersection of Bragg and East Streets in Southeast Raleigh. A presentation will be given to Council on the different approaches to and requirements for body cameras.
  2. Dorothea Dix Update: Staff will provide Council with an update on the future plans for Dix Park. This will include an “overview of the purchase agreement, an update on current work, and presentation of a broad framework intended to guide the future master planning effort.”
  3. 2014 Sidewalk Improvements: As part of a 2013 Pedestrian Plan, several sidewalk improvement projects throughout the city were planned out. Council is being asked to approve moving forward with work on about two miles worth of improvements on Crabtree Boulevard, Spring Forest Road, Millbrook Road and New Hope Road.
  4. Public Works Organization Realignment: Council is being asked to approve a managerial realignment of the Public Works Department. According to staff, “The intent of the realignment is to position the City for future growth; align services in ways that are more intuitive and reflect core skills and services; improve workflows and to reflect City Council priorities as expressed in the strategic plan.” Hopefully this realignment involves moving whoever crashed those 29 vehicles over the past eight months to permanent desk duty.

Requests and Petitions of Citizens

Citizens are given three minutes each to address Council on any issue of their choosing. We will post the descriptions just as they appear on the agenda.

  1. Jona Marie Ricci, 4300 Whisperwood Drive, would like to discuss the lack of constructive progressive on her issues related to the City’s Housing and Neighborhoods rehabilitation/renovation program as it relates to her home.
  2. Jared Burnette, 1507 Ashley Downs Drive, Apex, would like to request additional time to complete repairs at 905 E. Edenton Street.
  3. Andrew Clark, PO Box 27371, representing JBAC Properties, LLC, would like to discuss progress being made to fire damaged property at 1601 Poole Road and request a 90-day extension to complete repairs.
  4. Deborah Joy, 3333 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard, Durham, representing Williams Grove Baptist Church and Greenpointe LLC, requests permission to relocate approximately 12 graves from the Williams Grove Cemetery to Oakwood Cemetery. The purpose of the proposed relocation relates to future development of property on Blue Ridge Road. All procedures required of state statute have been met. The final step is concurrence of the City Council. Supporting documentation is available for public inspection in the City Clerk’s office.
  5. Trisha Elliott, Targeted Persuasion, 206 New Bern Place, representing female restaurant owners and chefs, would like to discuss Raleigh’s culinary industry and its benefits to the City. The presentation is in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

Public Hearings

Public Hearings are required by state law to be held on certain issues before Council can vote to approve them. 

  1. Demolition of Unfit Buildings: A hearing to authorize the demolition of a property at 5411 Allen Drive.
  2. Demolition of Unfit Buildings — 90 Days: A hearing to authorize the demolition of a property at 106 Colleton Road if the owner does not make the necessary repairs within 90 days.
  3. Public Nuisances: A hearing to discuss Eeght properties throughout the City have been declared public nuisances. It makes the most sense to just post a screenshot of how this appears on the agenda:
    Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 1.13.41 AM
  4. Petition Annexations: A hearing to consider annexation requests have been submitted for 10410 Globe Road and the Aspan Subdivision, Westwood Place.
  5. Water Assessment Roll 1344A — Edwards Mill Road: This hearing will discuss adopting a resolution “to correct Water Assessment Roll 1344A — Edwards Mill Road Extension in order to reapportion the fees charged against the property owned by the State of North Carolina.”

Growth And Natural Resources Committee Report

Council Committees offer reports on their most recent meetings to the full Council 

  1. The committee recommends scheduling a public hearing for Z-39-15 on Trailwood Drive, which would create a 56-unit student housing development on Trailwood Drive near NC State’s Centennial Campus. The developer had originally proposed a total of 78 units, but reduced the number after talking with neighbors. A report of this committee meeting by longtime friend and one-time employee of the Record Ariella Monti, is available here. 

Report and Recommendation of the City Clerk

This is often bureaucratic (approving minutes from last Council meeting, etc.) and not included in our Agenda Preview, but one item stuck out this week.

  1. Gail Smith, Raleigh’s wonderful City Clerk, wrote: “The City of Raleigh Museum is designing an exhibit entitled People’s Politics. I have received a request to utilize one of the older official minute books to be a part of the exhibit. The book would be displayed in a glass case. I am requesting permission to grant the request which would require authorization from the City Council for a minute book(s) to be removed from City Hall during this exhibit.” This exhibit sounds right up our alley!

Closed Session

Council is required to go into closed session to discuss certain matters. As with the Citizen Petitions, we will post the description of these closed-session items just as they appear on the agenda.

  1. Council will consider the potential acquisition of property under the City’s Watershed Protection Program.
  2. Council will consider the jury recommendations for the annual Environmental Awards.