Zoning and Density

I didn’t say anything about ‘out of character’. However shoving muliti-family into SFH neighborhoods that don’t have the same protections as suburban HOA-protected neighborhoods is unfair to those who choose to live in SFH ‘historic-ish’ neighborhoods. If they wanted to live next to an apartment, they would have lived in downtown; not on the perimeter.

There are plenty of ‘periphery’ areas to these neighborhoods that could work for higher density (ie: Glenwood avenue or the parking lots that line Capital Blvd or Western Blvd.

3 Likes

I mean, I also get what you’re saying, but you sign a sheet agreeing to the covenants when you move into a HOA neighborhood. It is voluntary; if you don’t want to be governed by an association, don’t buy a home governed by one.

Whereas historic districts and zoning are imposed by a government authority involuntarily.

If these neighborhoods want protection they should form an association, and adopt some covenants! Don’t rely on the government to do it for you. There is absolutely nothing preventing them from doing so, other than the fact that there are homeowners in the neighborhood who won’t agree to it!

People are all sanctimonious about HOAs. “Hmph, I could NEVER live in Cary in one of those association neighborhoods! I am SO much better than that! Imagine, my neighbors getting all up in my business!” …And then they try to use the city government as a substitute association, zoning laws (“historic overlay districts”) as substitute covenants, funded by taxes instead of dues, and enforced by public servants instead of an association manager!

12 Likes

shove all the apartments onto capital? never heard that one before

1 Like

Right? I like my little HOA. Pay my dues and never have to think about yardwork, gutter cleaning, and other boring chores and admin again.

Plus it’s a pretty hands-off one that only governs a townhouse cul-de-sac, so it’s not getting in the way of any development.

1 Like

It doesn’t work like that. HOA communities are ‘planned’ by developers. HOAs did not exist when 5 Points, Oakwood & all the other downtown-edge neighborhoods were built in the late 1800’s - early 1900’s.

Not sure what your point is with your 1st paragraph. Nobody is debating HOAs. My point is those kinds of neighborhoods are ‘protected’ from infill projects that the "missing middle’ attempts to address. Aside from Oakwood, NONE of the ITB neighborhoods that were established in the above-mentioned time period have those protections from this new UDO…which is not really fair to those residents…IMO.

2 Likes

That was a fast lawsuit, they lost the lower court case like two months ago.

Your house doesn’t have to have had an association imposed by the developer from day one, in order to form one.

Neighbors are free to gather together, write up a set of mutually agreeable covenants, bylaws, articles of incorporation, etc, and sign on to them. It’s not trivial, they would probably need a lawyer - but there is nothing legally stopping them from voluntarily entering into such an agreement.

The reason this seldom happens is that it’s hard to get unanimous agreement on anything. People don’t like giving up the right to do stuff with their own property. You might get much of the neighborhood on board, but there would be hold outs - and with them, good luck.

So the busybodies instead go to the city government, which uses the city’s planning and legal staff (funded by property taxes) to write up the documents and rules. This is then imposed on the entire neighborhood, usually with the approval of the majority of the neighborhood, but often over the explicit objections of some.

The argument for using government power in this way is that it is in the public interest to preserve the character of important neighborhoods, especially historic ones. Sounds innocuous enough- good, even! But what often happens is that questionably significant neighborhoods wind up getting government-enforced protections that are much less about preserving history, and more about preserving exclusivity.

And I don’t know about you, but it kind of makes me angry to know that planning staff time (and thus my property taxes) would be used to defend and enhance the exclusivity of what is already one of the most expensive, exclusive neighborhoods in the city.

9 Likes

Why isn’t it fair to them? When they bought it the property didn’t have any restrictions, so they should have had no expectation that any change would be prohibited. What’s different about this particular location and, say, any townhouse development on Edenton Street

5 Likes

Come on, you know the answer… (hint: old-Raleigh money and sensitive feelings)

3 Likes

I mean, lets not pretend there’s no difference between a historic district full of beautiful, well-built homes and a random tract of mass produced 50s-70s ranches. Some buildings and neighborhoods are just nicer and more architecturally important than others and ignoring that undermines the bigger argument.

2 Likes

Actually guys, the worst case is that the city’s missing middle ordinance gets deemed a violation of due process in some twisted way and they have to roll back the changes to the UDO

9 Likes

i had an acre lot in longview growing up in the mid 70s, splendid. in the 90s I was in a hoa lot in north ridge villas…also splendid. SFH seekers i assume(?) want a continuum of SFH near them…and not far from shopping, dining and health services? is that not accomplishable in the development-sphere? in longview 40 years ago I had a half mile bike or walk or ca(b)r to a grocer, drug store, elementary, middle and high school…wake med was in operation about 2 miles away…pizza and steak were the only options close by, 40 years ago. it didn’t seem toiling at the time, and one bus transfer brought you to mall universe. so is a SFH preservation-mode in some way still workable at raleighs level and density?

1 Like

When/how will this be decided for certain?

I haven’t read the plaintiff demands, but I put my money on them trying to stop all missing middle infill, not just one one project. Maybe councillor Melton knows more about the legal arguments. Let’s all hope that there are no broad ramifications to the city

4 Likes

Just to note, the houses that are adjacent to 908 Williamson are year-built :1959, 2023, 2004, and 2022.

10 Likes

All of this is achievable but at what cost? Respectfully, the status quo is what brought us into the housing crisis. The convenience for few and the inconvenience for many, is why we have economic inequality and people living in Johnston County.

2 Likes

America is full of neighborhoods with old beautiful houses intermixed with multi-family dwellings. Raleigh’s relatively small population from 1900-1950 means we just don’t have much of that stock. These type of developments do not impair the character of a neighborhood. I would say they improve it!

Of course, any development might be characterized as badly designed or poorly constructed, but that doesn’t mean multi-family housing is inherently bad.

13 Likes

There are three cases that come up on the docket:

George Venters v. Raleigh, 23CV004711-910 – this was the one that was dismissed in March

Marvin Bennett III v. Raleigh, 23CV025381-910

Raleigh vs. Raleigh BOA, 23CV025572-910 – I think this is the one where a decision has been entered this week.

Here are the BOA minutes at issue:

BOA was hauled in as the appellate body when the neighbors said the city had erred in administratively approving the subdivision. But the zoning code itself does not appear to be at issue here.

And just for fun, the three neighbors doing all this suing live in houses built in:
2012, tax value $1,691,978
2004, tax value $2,220,354
1959, tax value $2,889,573

9 Likes

ive observed the 2006 Fairview Road block, which seem to be multiunit amongst nice SFH…i noticed that these seem to buffer houses from small level retail. was that a zoning requirement at the time these three units were constructed…only next to retail? there may be units down the street that show otherwise I only remember these. https://maps.app.goo.gl/tKnFcLrD1FFvPDfQ9

That one is expensive because they did an addition in 2019 that added about ~4,000 sf to the original ~2,000 sf.