Letter to City Council Members (8/6/2015, Jane Fenn)

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From: Jane Fenn
To: Gail Smith, Nick Sadler
CC: Kay Crowder
Date: Thu, August 6, 2015, 9:58 am
Subject: Comments on Lorimer Rd. Petition for Public Hearing 9.1.15

I have attached my comments, per information from Nick Sadler by phone 8.5.15. Thank you, Nick, for your help in this. Gail, as I am unable to attend the public meeting on Sept. 1, I am sending you a letter which expresses my concerns. Nick said that if the remarks fit the allowed time frame for comments, you might read them aloud at the meeting. Barring that, you would supply each City Council member with a copy of my comments. Thank you for undertaking this service allowing me to express my concerns and suggestions.

On the understanding that this makes unnecessary my sending individual letters to all the Council, I have not copied them on this. I have, however, copied my own Council representative so as to keep her completely up-to-date with the thoughts of someone she represents.

Thank you for helping me to make my thoughts on this matter public in this forum.

Regards — Jane Fenn

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Aug. 6. 2015

TO ALL RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

As an owner on Lorimer Road whose property will be impacted by the proposed road and sidewalk construction petition, I want to air some objections to the plan as it now stands. Unfortunately, I will be out of town beginning Aug. 19 and will miss the meeting set for Sept. 1. Nick Sadler, policy analyst in the city council offices, has been very helpful as I started there to find out what to do. I want to applaud his courtesy, efficiency, and effectiveness in assisting me. He is an asset to your office! He advised sending this letter to the city clerk and all council members in order to make sure my voice is heard. Here are my comments regarding the petition as it now stands:

  1. The impact of this project is clearly inequitable for residents on the east and west sides of Lorimer. Since the city of Raleigh already assesses costs for such a project equitably to residents on both sides, I assume equity is a guiding principle. Therefore I ask what can be done to resolve the impact to property owners on the two sides of the street in terms of the impact of the disparate setbacks and construction on people’s lots on the two sides of the street. The city owes its property owners equity of treatment, and the city council needs to be sure the final plan adheres to this guiding principle. Since the street will be changed anyway, now is the time to move its center line toward the east so that property effects to owners on both sides of the street are more equitable. The difference between the impact on westside owners and on eastside owners due to setback and sidewalk on one side only is potentially divisive and contentious. So I ask that the final plan impact city use of owner property equitably on both sides of the street. My neighbors should not “lose” any less property than I lose, and this can be achieved by moving the centerline of the new street to the east. The argument that the city’s right of use dimensions on both sides mean nobody really loses anything do not reflect the reality of my and my neighbors’ use of our yards. We use our property every day, including the areas in the city’s purview, and those would not be equitable according to the current plan. Westside owners face significantly more impact on their yards. Making that impact more equitable is a highly desirable goal for any city action.
  2. I understand that the dimensions in the petition were standard city figures which can be modified by the city council once the actual project planning begins. Now is the time to do that. The setback of 6 feet and sidewalk of 6 feet are unnecessary. Having driven through many established comparable neighborhoods in Raleigh to look at setbacks and sidewalks, I would like to see no setback at all – the sidewalk directly adjacent to the curb. Many examples of this currently exist in the city. Further, I would like to see a 4 foot sidewalk. This is definitely in line with comparable long-established Raleigh neighborhoods, especially ones where there is not now nor ever has been extensive pedestrian usage. There is to my knowledge no history of accidents involving pedestrians on Lorimer. I walk on the street regularly with my young grandchildren and have not faced difficulty. This sidewalk addresses a problem that does not exist, but even so, I understand that there are people who want it and that there will be positive neighborhood impacts from having it. No setback and a four foot sidewalk will preserve the petition’s intent to allow for sidewalk use for all foreseeable purposes.
  3. Another modification I advocate is the actual width recommended for the street. A final width of 27 feet seems to indicate that current and potential future traffic necessitates four cars being able to pass on the street (parking on both sides and two-way traffic). There is very little or even no residential parking on the street. I believe my former councilman Mr. Crowder was particularly concerned with residential parking needs in driveways and I thought that meant he and the council did not wish to actively encourage on-street parking in this neighborhood. Further, I do not know of any traffic studies which demonstrate this increased width is necessary for any reason. If such traffic studies have been made, please supply the results and implications for the future of this neighborhood residential street. Does this 27 foot width imply that the city street planners foresee significant changes in traffic patterns on Lorimer Rd.? I would like to see the current width maintained as it is sufficient for all traffic purposes of residents and those traveling through the neighborhood, or at most, a width established which would allow for one car parked on the street and two-way traffic still able to flow. Even that is necessary to accommodate only the very occasional street parker.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my differences with the petition plans and to offer my suggestions for changes to it. I did not sign the petition and do not see that it addresses problems or needs which actually exist. However, I recognize that there are many who feel differently. So I strongly urge changes to the standard planning dimensions and practices inherent in the petition as it currently stands. Such changes will mitigate the negative effects of this plan for those of us who do not support it, while still allowing for the positive effects that those who do advocate it wish for. That is the right of the city council, and I urge that standards set for brand new Raleigh neighborhoods not be applied to no purpose in long established neighborhoods where they will damage the character of the neighborhood and of its relationships among neighbors.

Jane P.Fenn

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From: “Sadler, Nick”
To: Jane Fenn
Sent: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 1:55 PM
Subject: RE: Comments on Lorimer Rd. Petition for Public Hearing 9.1.15

 

Ms. Fenn
I wanted to take time to answer you on this. I am sorry that we did not respond to this email in my office. We did get this and the clerk passed out copies to each Council Member.
Nick
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Nick Sadler, Policy Analyst
City of Raleigh | City Manager’s Office
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—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Jane Fenn
To: “Sadler, Nick”
Sent: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 2:03 PM
Subject: Re: Comments on Lorimer Rd. Petition for Public Hearing 9.1.15
Nick, perhaps I failed to make myself clear.  I knew you received the letter, and I did receive a note from the clerk telling me that it was received and would go to the council members.  My complaint is not that you and the clerk didn’t follow through.  I knew that you both did your jobs.  It is that the neighborhood’s elected representative did not follow through in any way, nor did any other council member, that I find in explicable.
Thanks for the video link.
Regards — Jane Fenn