Join in a Virtual Town Hall

From Russ Stephenson. Please read through this important message. And then record your 2 minute message.
                Last week we had an overwhelming turnout for the public hearing on the United Development Ordinance (UDO) remapping. Many were not able to get into the Council chambers, or even sign up to be heard. The public hearing was extended to July 21st and has now been moved to Fletcher Opera Theater, in the Duke Energy Center at 6:00 pm to accommodate a bigger crowd. At this time, only those who signed up originally will be allowed to speak, however I intend to make a motion as we begin that night that anyone who shows be allowed to speak with time permitting.

                This is the most extensive re-write of our zoning code in over 50 years and your opinion is critical for us to get it right. Because there are 50 speakers already signed up, and many may not be able to make it out again, I am going to conduct a virtual public hearing. All you have to do is record your two minute opinion on your smartphone, and then either post it on my Facebook Page (or post to YouTube, Instagram or somewhere else and e-mail the link to me at and I will share them with my colleagues. While you are there, like and follow Russ for Raleigh to join the conversation and view the virtual public hearing videos in your newsfeed.

                Raleigh did not become the best place to live, work and play in America by accident. It took vision and leadership from our entire community, and your participation is indispensable on this very important issue. Please share this with anyone you know who has concerns or opinions on the UDO and remapping.

                Thank you for loving Raleigh enough to take the time to share your concerns. Together, we will get this right.



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A Fair and Equitable Proposal for Dunn Road Remapping

Hello everyone,

Here is the latest scoop on the remapping of the Dunn Road properties.  Last night at the City Council Hearing several of us spoke against the proposed remapping.  We offered a plan that we believe is fair and equitable and meets the goals of remapping.  Here is how it works.

Under the UDO there are several new zoning districts available.  The City wants to drop the current zoning districts and assign properties to one of the new districts.  The goal is to assign a new district that most closely matches the current zoning.  And, the district that most closely matches the current zoning of the Dunn Road properties is the OX zoning district.  In fact, the City’s own guidance document suggests that OX is the preferred zoning district for the property on Dunn Road.

However, the Planning Department has recommended the NX zoning district.

OX stand for Office Mixed Use.  As you know, the current zoning allows offices with small retail.  Here is a table showing just how similar OX is to the current zoning district which is called Buffer Commercial (or BC for short) and how they differ from NX (click on tables for larger view):


You can easily see the similarities and differences between the two zoning districts.  OX does allow slightly larger retail than BC.  However, it is not excessively larger.  The big sticking point is the last one.  Standalone retail means a retail store that is in a building all by itself.  Standalone retail is currently allowed in BC but is not allowed in OX.  OX requires that the retail be in an office building (think, coffee shop) or attached to an office building (that is, the two types of buildings share a common wall).

The owners of the Dunn Road properties have stated that they don’t want to lose standalone retail.  Consequently, they are asking for remapping to NX with certain conditions.  Here you can see how different their proposal is compared to BC and OX:


As you can see under NX the owners do get standalone retail.  However, they are also asking for 30,000 square feet of retail in one or possibly multiple buildings.  How that square footage is distributed is at the owners’ discretion.  They are also asking for drive-thrus.

At first blush, it sounds like 30,000 square feet of retail is better than the 57,000 square feet that was requested under the previous rezoning.  However, the previous rezoning asked for a 30,000 square foot grocery store.

It was the grocery store that generated the most traffic with up to several thousand additional vehicles every Saturday and Sunday and weekday.  Remapping for a 30,000 square foot grocery store that was just denied on May 12 is just not acceptable.

Last Monday on June 21, three of us met with the Dunn Road property owners to discuss an alternative.  This NX-Alternative is illustrated here:


The NX-alternative is what we are advocating for.  The NX-alternative is virtually a match for current zoning with a small increase in the size of retail from 3000 to 4000 square feet per floor per building.

The NX-alternative also meets the City’s stated goal of remapping which is to simply assign a new zoning district that matches current zoning as closely as possible.

The owners, however, are using remapping for their own material gain.  They want to gain 30,000 square feet of retail and they want to gain drive-thrus.  We think that this is unfair and violates the City’s policy for remapping.  It also contradicts the City Council’s own decision on May 12.

On May 12 the rezoning request was for 58,000 square feet of retail on 13 acres of land.  That was for 4400 square feet of retail per acre.  That was denied because it was too much retail and violated the Comprehensive Plan, wasn’t in the public interest, was inappropriate for a watershed protection area, and generated way too much traffic.

Today, the owners are requesting 30,000 square feet of retail on 4 acres of land.  That is for 7500 square feet of retail per acre – nearly double what was requested under rezoning.  It generates nearly the same amount of traffic, still violates several Comprehensive Plan policies, is inappropriate for a watershed protection area, and is not in the public interest.

NX-alternative is what we argued for last night at the City Council Remapping Hearing.  It is more than fair and equitable and fully meets the City’s goals for remapping.

Please let City Council know they you support the NX-alternative.  In particular, please ask our District Councilor, John Odom, to honor his own motto – vote your District!

City Council Email:
John Odom Email:


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Hello Everyone,

Tomorrow is the day of the so-called remapping hearing. It will take place tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 7) at 7pm in City Council Chamber at 222 W. Hargett Street.

 We have a valid statutory protest petition which means that we can stop the remapping with just 3 votes – exactly as we did for the rezoning. You might have heard that the legislature did away with protest petitions. The bill that is in the legislature only applies to rezoning cases filed on or after August 1, 2015. The remapping case (which is actually a rezoning) was filed in 2014. So, we are good to go!

 It will be important for as many people as possible to attend this meeting to impress upon council that we have not lost our resolve. Please join me!

 And as always, if you have any questions, please contact me at

 Thank you all!, David Cox

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Recognition for Our Impact

By David Cox

At the end of this week’s News and Observer podcast known as the Domecast, a panel nominates who they think the week’s headliners should be. One was Governor Pat McCrory. Another was, surprisingly, me.

In this week’s Domecast I was nominated as a so-called headliner for the impact we have had regarding protest petitions.  

This is recognition that a group of citizens can, in fact, have an impact even at the state level (clearly, I could not have done this alone).  

Although the outcome for protest petitions might not turn out as we want, we shouldn’t be discouraged. The next election for state senators and representatives will be in 2016. 

We can build on what we have started and vote these people out. This headliner nomination is a warning.

To listen to the Domecast follow this link:


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Show Your Support For Protest Petitions !


Click the picture or this link to Save Protest Petitions 

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Click on the picture to learn moreprotest petitions repealed

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Today the North Carolina Senate voted to repeal homeowners right to challenge a rezoning of adjacent land with a protest petition.  More to follow.

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