North Carolina Construction News staff writer
Raleigh residents had a chance recently to weigh in on the potential development around the city’s rapid transit line. Construction has started on the first stage of the transit line.
The special meeting lasted more than four hours and council voted 5-3 in favor of Comprehensive Plan Amendment CP-7-22 for the New Bern Station Area Planning: https://bit.ly/3SGnX13.
The debate about a rezoning request for the New Bern Station Area Planning – 744 properties along New Bern Avenue between downtown and Hedingham Boulevard/Freedom Drive will continue March 5.
The request to rezone 726 acres if land along New Bern Avenue from downtown to Hedingham Boulevard would allow the developer to:
- add transit overlay distruct
- increase maximum building height
- change base districts and frontages
- remove legacy zoning conditions
After a presentation, residents were invited to comment on the rezoning request.
“This is a big decision for the future of these neighborhoods and we have to make sure we’re making this decision based on real evidence about what best prevents displacement,” Jason Hardin, senior energy and sustainability strategist, said at the meeting.
The goals of the development plan are to address displacement and affordability, support transit investment and reduce GHG and air pollution.
The city also says it is important to “do a big infrastructure project right” and that means providing neighborhood stabilization support for housing, economic development and identity.
More than 1,000 residents, business owners, transit riders, elementary and high school and college students have participated in the planning effort so far and suggestions include:
- More housing and employment opportunities along New Bern Avenue
- More affordable housing
- More walkability, improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists
- Preserving Black neighborhoods and history
Opponents, however, say high-density rezoning would force out historic African-American neighborhoods at the expense affordable housing.