Ken Bowers’ Planning Department Proposes Gutting Comprehensive Plan

NORCHOA members along with members of Grow Raleigh Great have been working for several months to revise Raleigh’s development ordinance to ensure that the UDO implements the vision of Raleigh’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan. We have found that the current Planning Department under acting Director Ken Bowers is uncooperative and unwilling to work towards consensus with Raleigh’s citizens.

The culmination of these several months of discussions through formal meetings of Raleigh’s Comprehensive Planning Commission is a recommendation by the Bowers’ Planning Department to amend the Comprehensive Plan to eliminate all language pertaining to the Plan’s vision for small, walkable, neighborhood-oriented centers known as Neighborhood Mixed Use.

In their place the Bowers’ Planning Department is proposing to replace small, walkable, neighborhood-oriented centers with more 150,000 square foot big box strip malls with 50,000 sq foot anchors to be built directly in the heart of neighborhoods. This is particularly worrisome because such amendment will open the door wide to rezoning of Dunn and Falls of Neuse Road.

The North Raleigh Coalition of Homeowners does not support and will not support these proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.

The Planning Department is offering two versions of the proposed amendments as follows:

Amendment A

Amendment B

In contrast to these amendments, here is how the Comprehensive Plan is currently written:

The definition for Neighborhood Mixed Use in the Comp Plan says:

This category applies to neighborhood shopping centers and pedestrian-oriented retail districts.  The service area of these districts is generally about a one mile radius or less.  Typical uses would include corner stores or convenience stores, restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets (other than super-stores/centers), drug stores, dry cleaners, video stores, small professional offices, retail banking, and similar uses that serve the immediately surrounding neighborhood.  Residential and mixed use projects with upper story housing are also supported by this designation.  Where residential development compliments commercial uses, it would generally be in the medium density range.

NX is the most appropriate zoning district for these areas…


The definition for Community Mixed Use in the Comp Plan says:

This category applies to medium sized shopping centers and larger pedestrian-oriented retail districts such as Cameron Village.  Typical commercial uses include large-format supermarkets, larger drug stores, department stores and variety stores, clothing stores, banks, offices, restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, and similar uses that draw from multiple neighborhoods.  Development intensities could be higher than in Neighborhood Center areas, with mid-rise buildings as well as low-rise buildings.  Where residential development occurs, ground floor retail would be encouraged and minimum building heights might be applied in transit-rich areas.  Heights would generally be in the three to five story range, although additional height up to 12 stories would be appropriate in TOD areas at the core of mixed-use centers.

CX is the primary corresponding zoning district for these areas…

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Governor McCrory’s Office Sends Order to Remove Citizens’ No Rezoning Signs

Governor McCrory’s office has a problem with citizens’ No Rezoning signs protesting the rezoning of Dunn and Falls of Neuse. Apparently his office agrees with a complaint that the signs can be confused with official traffic direction signs. We received email from John Broome from the Governor’s office along with an order from NCDOT to take down the signs on Falls of Neuse Rd.

As Mr. Broome writes, “Attached is a PDF that NCDOT passed along which contains a copy of the General Statutes along with pictures of highway signs that look similar to the signs that were removed. Let me know if anyone has any further questions.”

The General Statute prohibits signs that could be confused with traffic direction signs. Here is our sign and a few traffic direction signs. You be the judge. Are you confused by the No Rezoning sign? Can you tell the difference between No Hitchhiking and No U-Turn?


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We in North Raleigh have been following closely the rezoning case on Hillsborough Street for a seven story high rise.  Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan is very clear that the maximum number of stories of any building within a Neighborhood Mixed Use area should be 5.  The residents and homeowners in that area voted at the Wade CAC 5 to 1 against seven stories and unanimously in favor of five stories as prescribed by the Comprehensive Plan.  It was stated during today’s Council meeting that the Comprehensive Plan is “only a guide.”  We are extremely concerned that the Comprehensive Plan’s guidance developed after years of input from citizens was not followed.

Following the Comprehensive Plan is extremely important and pertinent to rezoning not only on Hillsborough but also at Dunn and Falls of Neuse.  The Comprehensive Plan is clear about the scale and intensity of development within Neighborhood Mixed Use areas.  If the Comprehensive Plan is ignored, then that is a serious cause of concern for the more than 3400 who have signed our petition against rezoning and for the 522 who attended and participated in the City sanctioned CAC process and voted against rezoning at Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads.

Today City Council took up the Hillsborough Street rezoning case.  This is how they voted:

Mary-Ann Baldwin: in favor of rezoning
Wayne Maiorano: in favor of rezoning
John Odom: in  favor of rezoning
Bonner Gaylord:  in favor of rezoning
Eugene Weeks: in favor of rezoning

Nancy McFarlaine: against rezoning
Russ Stephenson: against rezoning
Thomas Crowder: against rezoning

IMPORTANTLY:  Today’s City Council vote was 5 to 3 in favor of rezoning – in other words a simple majority.  Because the  vote was a simple majority, City Council will hold a second vote in two weeks to affirm today’s vote.  If the vote is not affirmed – that is one or more Councilor who voted for the rezoning – changes their vote, then the rezoning will fail.

We are, therefore, taking steps to arrange a meeting with our Councilor, Mr. John Odom, to discuss  today’s vote.  We need to understand the rationale for today’s vote and how that rationale will affect us regarding the rezoning at Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads.  We very much need a transparent conversation about the role, if any, of the Comprehensive Plan in rezoning and development.  To his credit, Mr. Odom is looking forward to meeting with us.  As Mr. Odom expressed during today’s meeting he has gone back and forth on this issue several times.  Clearly the issue is not cut-and-dried.  Consequently, we are in the process of arranging a meeting location and time.   As soon as these are firm, we will send another notice.

So, please stay tuned.

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North Raleigh Citizens Vote in Record Numbers to Oppose Publix Development; Developer’s Call for a Boycott Questioned

Since the 1970s Raleigh has sought citizen input on virtually every rezoning for a development project by way of a formal vote.  For forty years the expectation has been that developers will present their proposals to citizens through one of the City’s nineteen Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs) and that citizens will provide feedback through a formal vote.

Beginning last November Morgan Property Group has held public meetings and distributed thousands of flyers designed by a professional campaign advisor to inform area residents about its plans to build a shopping plaza at Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads.  As expected Morgan and its attorneys also made formal presentations at three separate CAC meetings to North Raleigh citizens – one more than the traditional two meetings.

On Thursday, June 5, a record number of people participated in what would become a historic CAC meeting.  Nearly 600 people attended the event at Durant Road Middle School.  Parents came with their children; senior citizens and young professionals all joined as a community to speak their voice.

The results of that vote were 23 in favor of rezoning and 522 against rezoning.

Remarkably, about an hour prior to the vote, the developer issued a statement to reporters indicating that they had advised their supporters to boycott the meeting.  A survey of the developer’s website, Twitter feed, and Facebook page revealed no such announcement. Several members of the community who had signed up to be on the developer’s email distribution list received no notice whatsoever about avoiding the meeting or boycotting the vote.  Numerous social media sites such as Facebook groups for specific neighborhoods and Next Door which would normally have had considerable chatter about such an announcement were silent.  In fact, 23 supporters did show up to vote and not a single one mentioned receiving any notification from the developer to boycott the meeting.

We allow readers to draw their own conclusions about this unprecedented move.

The fact remains that an unprecedented 522 citizens – 95.8% of the total vote – in North Raleigh came forward to let City Council and Government know that they do not want this particular development for a destination shopping center.  Yet, the community is far from hostile to development and welcomes a small, walkable, neighborhood oriented center as envisioned in Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan.


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A Press Release from Morgan Property Group

“We feel it is in everyone’s interest that this process not become a circus,” said Trey Morgan, President of Morgan Property Group. “It is unfortunate that a small and highly vocal group of activists has created a hostile environment, that impedes what should be a reasonable give and take between us and the community. In the interest of civility, we have advised our supporters to stay home and not attend tonight’s CAC meeting, because we have no desire to pit neighbors against one another. It is our hope this process can come back into order at the Planning and City Commission meetings that are upcoming.”

Media Contact: Trey Morgan, President, Morgan Property Group
Here is the small group of vocal activists and the “hostile circus” from last night.


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The Vote is In

At last night’s Citizens Advisory Council well over Five Hundred citizens came and expressed their opinions about the proposed rezoning at Dunn and Falls of Neuse roads.  Here are the results of the vote that was taken:

For Rezoning:  23

Against Rezoning:  522


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We have two very important rezoning announcements.  We encourage you to email this announcement to your neighbors, friends, family, and post it to your Facebook timeline should you have a Facebook account.

First, next Tuesday, June 3 at 7PM City Council will be  conducting a public hearing on zoning case Z-2-14 for a proposed seven story building on Hillsborough Street.  Our neighbors on Hillsborough Street are supporting us in our rezoning case and, consequently, we will be present at that public hearing to support them.

If it is at all possible, please come to this City Council meeting at 222 W. Hargett Street on the second floor in City Council Chambers. 

We also ask that you take a moment to email City Council and simply inform them you oppose Z-2-14.  Their email address is .

Let us show our neighbors that we stand together to oppose these out of scale rezonings that harm neighborhoods!

Second, a week from Thursday, June 5 at 7PM will be our chance to vote on the rezoning at Dunn and Falls of Neuse Roads.  This meeting will be closer to home at the Durant Middle School.  We expect that there will be some presentations followed by a vote around 8PM.  Please plan to arrive by 7:30PM at the latest.  Please note that you must be present to vote.  If you have children, we have been informed by the meeting Chairman that you should feel free to bring them with you.

Note that the vote is NOT by household.  Each person counts as a vote and anyone 18 or older can vote.  The results of this vote will go to City Council and will be a major factor in their decision to either rezone or not rezone.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at or visit our website at



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