City Council sessions on June 21 — 11:30 a.m work session 1 p.m. regular session
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.
Work Session Agenda
- Interlocal Agreement Review – Hotel Occupancy and Prepared Food and Beverage Taxes. Wake County and the City of Raleigh have an interlocal agreement on the aforementioned taxes; a review has conducted by City & County staff to amend the agreement. A chart was included with the agenda, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, so hopefully it’s explained very slowly and without too many big words during the Work Session. Here’s the chart.
- Public-Private Partnership: Highwoods Properties, a commercial real-estate firm based out of Raleigh, is proposing a partnership with the City to build a sidewalk along Highwoods Boulevard that would connect Atlantic Avenue to Capital Boulevard. For a point of reference, the 440 beltline is located just to the south of the intersection of Capital and and Highwoods, which is populated with office buildings. Over at the Highwoods/Atlantic intersection, well just to the south is an overpass for 440 that’s hard to miss.
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
- Historic Preservation Property Sale: Staff recommends that the Council authorize selling vacant City-owned lots at 420 and 422 South Bloodworth streets for $145,000 to Preservation North Carolina so that the Gorham houses, located at 112 and 114 East Lenoir Street, can be relocated there for rehabilitation in order to prevent their demolition.
- Dix Park Fee Structure: Staff has put forth the following proposed fee structure for use of the facilities at Dix Park:
- Big Field – $2,000
- The Grove – $750
- Flowers Field – $750
- Athletic Field – $350
- Harvey Hill – $350
- Williams Field – $350
- 5K Race Standard Route – $500
- 5K Race Non-Standard Route – $750
- 2016 Justice Assistance Grant: In coordination with the Wake County Sheriff’s Department, the Raleigh Police Department is applying for a federal grant totaling $150,229; RPD would receive $82,626. That money would be used to pay for overtime and “fringe benefits.” Much of the funding will go toward a program titled the “Problem Oriented Policing Initiative” with a stated goal of promoting and supporting “organizational strategies to address the cause and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and police-community partnerships.” You can read the full grant application here, which includes an in-depth explanation of this initiative. It’s pretty interesting.
- 2016 COPS Hiring Grant: The Raleigh Police Department is preparing to submit an application for a $929,716 grant that pay salaries and fringes for eight entry-level police officers for a 36-month period; the eight positions are not included in the proposed FY17 budget. The City would be required to match $327,133.
- RPD DWI Squad Grant: RPD is on a roll with the grant applications; this one would allow them to continue to fund for a fourth year a DWI enforcement squad consisting of four officers and one sergeant. The grant will dole out $196,762 in federal funds for “salaries, fringe benefits, equipment, and travel costs for in-state and out-of-state training opportunities.” The City would be required to provide equal matching funds of $196,762.
- Recreation League Softball Officials Contract: The Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department wishes to enter into a three-year contract with Fun2Ref of Durham, which would provide officials for recreational softball league play. Fun2Ref has been providing these services for the City since 2013, and was the only respondent to a recent request for proposals.
- Interlocal Agreement – Wake County Human Services – 4-H Club Youth Development Workshops: According to the agenda, “The Wake County Human Services Department (WCHS) 4-H Youth Development program will provide healthy living workshops through classroom and interactive instruction. ” The listed cost of this project was $0.
- Contractual Services – Security Services for City Sites: Admiral Security currently provides security guards at the following locations: The Central Communications Center, 222 West Hargett Street, 900 South Wilmington, 310 West Martin and One Exchange Plaza. It is recommended that the City renew the contract for another two years at a cost of $414,216.
- Contractual Services – Elevator, Escalator, and Dumbwaiter Maintenance: Otis Elevator has providing these maintenance services for the City since 2013; it is being recommended that the contract be renewed for another year for $234,996.
- Professional Services – Lawn Care: Turf Services Inc. has been providing lawn care services to the City since 2013. A two-year contract renewal of $300,744 is being recommended.
- Technology Enterprise Agreement: In order to receive new licenses required for projects related for the FY2017 Capital Improvement Plan, the City needs to purchase them by June 30 to receive a discounted rate. The total three-year agreement is not to exceed $2,250,000.
- Replacement Vehicle Purchase: Vehicle No. 1833, which was used for transporting children in the City’s Summer Youth Programs, was involved in an accident earlier this year that resulted in the car being declared a total loss. The accident was the fault of the other driver, and the insurance claim has now been settled. The City has $17,807 to spend on a replacement vehicle.
Consent Agenda: Streets & Traffic
- Petition Annexation: The owner of 521 Sinclair Drive, which is home to Sinclair Mini Storage, is requesting to be annexed into the city. Councilors will need to schedule a Public Hearing in order for this to move forward.
- Encroachment Request: Ridge Road, Horton Road and Harden Road: MCNC has requested to install 1,000 feet of fiber optic cable and 10 hand holes to access existing conduit.
- No Parking Zone – Fox Road: Following a request from a local homeowner, Staff investigated and is now recommending a no parking zone on Fox Road. Apparently, “vehicles turning left off Somerset Mill Lane are unable to see approaching northbound traffic due to the many vehicles parked along Fox Road at this location.” That’s no good.
- Food Truck Vendor Parking Zone – Polk Street, Harrington Street, Bloodworth Street, State Street: Staff is recommending the establishment of four downtown food truck zones “in the 100 block East Polk Street, 300 block of South Harrington Street, 300 block of South Bloodworth Street, and 100 block of South State Street. “
- On-Street Motorcycle Parking – Glenwood Avenue: A six-month pilot program is being recommended to allow for motorcycle parking along the 300 block of Glenwood Avenue. This program came about following a request from the owner of Devolve Moto at 304 Glenwood, which is a hybrid bar/shop that sells motorcycle clothing and apparel. If you haven’t been, it’s a really cool place.
- One-Hour Parking Meter Zone – 100 West Lane Street: It’s being recommended that a one-hour parking zone on West Lane Street be converted to a metered, one-hour parking zone, as the free parking was apparently being abused by government employees. Heh.
Planning Commission Report
Note: For a fuller report of what happened at Planning Commission, please see this column from last week.
- TC-5-16 – New Bern – Edenton NCOD: Townhouses: This is a text change that would allow the development of town homes in Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District on New Bern Avenue. Condominiums, apartments and single-family homes are currently allowed in the district, but the ownership model of town homes is not. Although several neighbors spoke out against the change at last week’s Planning Commission, the Commissioners still voted to recommend approval. Council will need to schedule a Public Hearing in order for this to move forward.
- TC-9-16 / North Ridge South Neighborhood Built Environmental Characteristics and Regulations: Another text change, this one was initiated by neighbors in the North Ridge South ‘hood who want to limit the density of future development. Planning Commissioners recommended approval, and a Public Hearing will need to be scheduled by Council.
- Request for Waiver of 24-Month Waiting Period: This is a request from the owner of a parcel of land at the intersection of Dunn and Falls of Neuse in North Raleigh who attempted to rezone the property to allow for a grocery-anchored shopping center but was ultimately rebuffed last year, in large part due to the efforts of then-citizen now-Councilor David Cox. Once a Public Hearing has been held for a rezoning case, there is a two-year moratorium on filing any new zoning cases for the same property; the owner now wants to put a senior housing development on the land and is requesting a waiver from the two-year period in order to do so. Commissioners recommended approval. A Public Hearing is *not* required, and Council may vote to approve or deny the waiver, or possibly send it to committee. My guess: they vote to grant the waiver. The neighbors are supposedly OK with a senior housing development, so there shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
- TC-10-16 – Oberlin Village NCOD – Building Height: This is a text change that would replace the word “or” with the word “and” when specifying building heights in the Oberlin Village Overlay District, so that it will read that they can be built to a maximum of “25 feet and two stories.” This change is crucial because many new homes have been built in the district that are technically two stories but often have large attics that don’t count against the story limit. Under the old code, would it have been possible to build a 25-foot, three story house? Maybe each story is only eight feet? Probably not, but it would’ve been cool to see.
- Z-5-16 – Rock Quarry Road: This is a rezoning case for an 11.65 acre site on Rock Quarry Road that is partially encumbered by a power line easement. There are a variety of apparent development possibilities, including office, residential and retail. The Public Hearing was opened at the June 7 Council meeting, but the applicant added several conditions to the project and will present them on Tuesday. Councilors can then vote on whether to approve or deny the case.
- Amplified Entertainment Permit – The Merrimon-Wynne House: This is a little confusing, because at the last Council meeting, it appeared that Councilors voted to approve a three-month trial period for a permit that would allow the M-W House to open the doors of its venue and let its guests sit outside and still hear the music. According to the agenda, it appears there were some findings and conclusions of law that needed to be examined, and Councilors will vote on whether to approve these findings.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee
- Annual Plan: A representative from BPAC will present their work plan for 2016-2017. Some of their goals include promoting Raleigh’s new bikeshare program and the “WalkRaleigh” brand as well as a number of community outreach efforts. For a full summary of the plan, please click here. Council will vote on whether to adopt the annual work plan.
Parks, Recreation & Greenway Advisory Board
- John Chavis Memorial Park Implementation Study: An overview of the study conducted for this Southeast Raleigh Park, which focused on an “optimal use of the 2014 Park Bond allocation for John Chavis Memorial park.” The study will present Phase I recommendations, which will include improvements to the “multi-use spaces able to accommodate a broad range of activities to activate the core of the park.” The study is quite detailed, so if you want to read the entire thing, go ahead and click here. Council will vote on whether to move ahead with the Phase I implementations.
- Buffaloe Road Dog Park and Jaycee Park Dog Run: The Board is recommending Council authorize City staff to move ahead with the schematic design phase of new off-leash dog facilities at Buffaloe Road Athletic and Jaycee Parks. Considering the Mayor not too long ago asked Staff to look into the creation of a separate dog park, we imagine this plan will have much trouble getting authorization.
Requests and Petitions of Citizens
- Sara Wilson would like to discuss problems for residents regarding infill of properties in the downtown area.
- Stephen Drotts, ZPizza Tap Room, would like to petition the City to provide a temporary permit for private cafe, outdoor dining on the designated area previously permitted for ZPizza. This would allow for 40-80 seats to be added to the plaza, fulfilling what the applicant described as a shortage.
- Emelia Cowans-Taylor, representing the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, would like to request sponsorship of a special exhibition titled Race: Are We So Different? According to the full application, it would appear the total cost of this exhibit is $250,000, and the Museum is asking the City to fund $140,000 of the cost; the exhibition will be free of charge. The application states that the museum needs to have the money committed by June 24.
- Unsafe Buildings: Council is being asked to authorize the demolition of an unsafe building located at 4004 Wingate Drive.
- Resolution to Confirm as Lien: Council is being asked to approve the authorization of liens against several properties deemed public nuisances in order to pay for necessary repairs.
- Z-7-16: The controversial Z-7-16 rezoning case is for a property on Jones Franklin Road that would allow for the Christian pregnancy center a Hand of Hope to open next door to the Preferred Women’s Health Center, an abortion clinic on Jones Franklin Road. Due to the crowded agenda for the June 7 Council meeting, it was decided that the Public Hearing for this case would be held June 21 in order to make sure everyone who wants to make their voices heard does so.
- Comprehensive Plan Amendment CP-2-16 – Economic Development Element: This amendment will formalize a new map of targeted economic development zones and the assorted incentives available to businesses within said zones.
Growth & Natural Resources Committee Report
- Drainage Assistance Policy Revisions: The Committee recommends adopting a number of changes that will update the City’s drainage assistance policies. Among the provisions in the policy are a note that while the City will replace broken storm drainage infrastructure located within permanent drainage easements, there are a number of things the City will not do, including “Cleaning up sticks, leaves or debris on private property after heavy rain or flooding.” Tough break!
- CP-1-16 – Omnibus Text Amendments: The Committee recommends scheduling a Public Hearing for a case that is best described as a “range of recommendations for alterations to the text of the Comprehensive Plan.” An in-depth report of those changes, along with all of the revisions to the drainage policy from item number one can be found here.