City Council Meeting, May 1, 2018

Agenda Item Details

Subject — Condemnation Request – Lorimer Rd. Sidewalk Petition Project
Type — Action (Consent)
Fiscal Impact — No
Recommended Action — Adopt a Resolution of Condemnation


Melanie Leach, City Planning


This is a Street and Sidewalk Petition Project approved by City Council on 9/01/2015.  The proposed improvements will upgrade Lorimer Road to current standards with 2-lane curb and gutter section.  The street’s ultimate section will entail a 27’ wide section from back of curb to back of curb, a 5 ft. wide sidewalk on the west side with mainly 6’ setback, replacing the existing bridge over Bushy Creek with two concrete box culverts, add new driveway aprons and matching existing driveway surface material, improve area drainage by eliminating swales and collecting and conveying stormwater runoff in underground drainage system, grading, restoration and other appurtenant works.  The project is scheduled to be bid in May and the construction to start in August 2018.  Project completion is anticipated by end of 2019. Efforts have been unsuccessful to obtain needed easement from the following property owners; therefore it is recommended that a resolution of condemnation be authorized.

Property to be condemned: All easements and/or other interests in the property of the above-named project as shown on an exhibit prepared by: City of Raleigh Engineering Services Department Survey Section and entitled “Permanent and Temporary Construction Easement Acquisition Exhibits for the City of Raleigh” such easements and/or other interest identified and listed in the back up information associated with this request.


Property Owners and Site Locations:

Eugene J Alford III and Julie W. Alford 4205 Garland Dr.

Ryan Barnum 1300 Lorimer Rd.

Daniel Crompton & Alix Boulard 1400 Lorimer Rd.

Jefferson Essic & Karen Essic 1233 Lorimer Rd.

Thomas R. Isaacs & Gale J. Isaacs 1209 Lorimer Rd.

Hassan Mahini 1302 Lorimer Rd.

Donald D. Munn 1420 Lorimer Rd.

Justis Peters 1318 Lorimer Rd.

Michael E Salmon & Erin B. Salmon 1210 Lorimer Rd.

Michael Ward & Susan Ward 1303 Lorimer Rd.



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Project Mischaracterization

According to the City Council Meeting Minutes (September 1, 2015), Chris Johnson with the Public Works Department told City Council Members the following:

“…The sidewalk [will] be where the ditch is located, therefore the impact on the lots [will] not change that much.”

Council Members based their decision to approve the project’s parameters based, in part, on this assessment.

At the 25% Design Meeting, however, a map was presented that revealed the true impact of the project. It shows that, in fact, the setback will be where the ditch is now. The sidewalk, buffer, permanent easements and temporary easements will drastically affect lots on the west side of the road after all. Chris Johnson presided at the meeting.

Lorimer Road w:ditch & arrow.jpg

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“Questions About Validity of Petition” (Laurel Hills)

Excerpts from the meeting appear below –



The City Council of the City of Raleigh met in regular session at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 in the City Council Chamber of the Raleigh Municipal Building, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, with the following present.:

Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Presiding (absent & excused)
Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin
Councilor Kay C. Crowder (absent & excused)
Councilor Bonner Gaylord
Councilor Wayne K. Maiorano
Councilor John Odom
Councilor Russ Stephenson
Councilor Eugene Weeks

.  .  .



Steven Dean, 4003 Juniper Court, stated he was before the Council as he and other residents of the Laurel Hills community have concerns about the validity of the petition to support the installation of traffic calming along a part of Laurel Hills Road. He pointed out the City has split Laurel Hills Road into two sections and he is talking about the Rex Hospital portion. He indicated the petition states there are some 53 eligible houses and 41 representatives one of those signed the petition which resulted in a 77.4 percent. He stated however they dispute that and presented the following: Continue reading

“Raleigh Council OK’s Pedestrian Plan”

Midtown Raleigh News (N&O), from News Briefs — 1/5/2013

– The Raleigh City Council on Wednesday approved its first-ever pedestrian plan – a blueprint for improving sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing signals and trails.

The plan creates a new priority system for building new sidewalks. The city plans to install nine miles of new sidewalks in the next four years using $4.75 million in bond money.

The plan allows property owners to petition for sidewalks and traffic-calming measures along their streets. But the city council was divided on how many signatures will be required for the city to consider the request.

The council voted 5-3 to require that 75 percent of property owners favor a project, but some said the figure should be lowered to 51 percent.

“It seems like we should not be raising the bar for having a discussion about sidewalks,” Councilman Russ Stephenson said.

Others said that sidewalk proposals can stir up controversy even when 75 percent of neighbors agree.

“We could change that in the future if we see that it’s not working,” said councilwoman Mary Ann Baldwin, who voted for the 75 percent threshold.

– Staff writer Colin Campbell

“Study Provides Map for Southwest Raleigh Development”


April 21, 2015 – Southwest Raleigh could be ripe for development, according to a study the City Council reviewed Tuesday.

The portion of the city, which includes North Carolina State University, Meredith College and the State Fairgrounds, has seen its population double in the last 40 years. A $150,000 study conducted by N.C. State found more retail stores, supermarkets and sidewalks are needed, and the area has a low crime rate and a high level of diversity.

Former Councilman Thomas Crowder, who represented the area before his death last year, pushed for the study. Councilwoman Kay Crowder, his wife who was appointed to serve the rest of his term, said the study could be used as a roadmap for future development.

“How can we better educate developers that this is a place where there is affordable housing, development opportunities, the kind of money that sits in the district that could be spent in the district?” Kay Crowder said.

One council member said he would like to see similar studies for the city’s other districts….

Jimmy Upchurch – City Council Presentation (9/1/2015)

JIMMY UPCHURCH, Addressing the Raleigh City Council, September 1, 2015, PM Session (Excerpt) –

If I could draw your attention to this area map…. Let me point out a couple of things:

The gentleman [Attorney Ben Kuhn] spoke to the northern end of Lorimer, and this potential “sidewalk going to nowhere.” This map is designed to show you the existing sidewalk network in the neighborhood. The purple boxes that you see along that northern section of the road are…indicative of previous petitions we’ve had for improvements on those streets. So the dirt street, Onslow Road, has been petitioned three times to have street improvements put in there.

So, even though it does remain dirt today—those petitions, unfortunately, were unsuccessful…. But just to give you an idea that there is a want by some of the residents on the northern end, it would not connect to any sidewalk today, but we have had a previous sidewalk petition for Garland Street. It, too, was not a successful petition…but there is interest in future improvements in that area. And if we completed Lorimer, that would just set up more of the network to get a continuous sidewalk throughout the neighborhood.

To address the setback issue of the proposed sidewalk: staff recommended the full UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) standard for this street…with a couple of tweaks:

With the UDO standard this is classified as a Neighborhood Yield Street, which requires a 27” back-to-back street with 6’ sidewalk and 6’ setback on both sides of the street, to be installed within a 55’ right-of-way (ROW).

So when we looked at this neighborhood to see what feasible [sic] we could propose here… the ROW is dedicated at 60’ in width, which exceeds the required ROW for the UDO section.

The houses—the majority of the houses—along the corridor sit pretty far back from the edge of the ROW. So when we looked at the neighborhood, there are … that are a little closer, but the majority of them are more back. So we looked at it in terms of the existing ROW.

Now, the right of way would support the sidewalk on the east side, but that was omitted, mainly for cost….

So picking the side of the street we recommended for the sidewalk was based on a lot of things. We looked at topography, power poles that may have to be moved, utility relocations. We looked at all of that. And the determination by the engineers was that—if we were putting it on one side, the west side would be the most supportive of putting that sidewalk there.

The gentleman [Woodlinks resident Justis Peters] who requested we carry it on to his property…

If ever there was a neighborhood that would support the UDO section in a retrofit-type situation, this is one that could support that. So we recommended the UDO 6 & 6 on that street, with the variance request to omit the sidewalk from the east side.

Council Member Kay Crowder’s Statement (9/1/2015)

Following is the transcript of Kay Crowder‘s statement at the 9/1/2015 City Council Meeting at which Petition #1351 was unanimously approved. She made this staement after the close of the Open Hearing:

“Mayor, this is in my neighborhood, so I’m very familiar with the street.

“There are lots of issues about the street. Water is just one aspect of it. But the bigger part of the street is that it has very deep swales and there’s no room to walk along either of them, because they’re so deep.

“We have a school in our neighborhood, and most of the kids walk to school. It would be a nice thing to have—and, I believe, safer—for those kids to be able to move toward school walking than is currently available to them.

“I know it’s hard to get everybody’s consensus to be the same. I understand that. But it is also equally important to try to do what’s best for the community.

“Though we don’t have sidewalks on Garland (or all of Garland) yet, I do think in the future that will happen as development happens on that street. I recently had a discussion with someone who’s trying to buy property on that street to build homes, and, under the code, he would have to put sidewalks in.

“So the goal is to make sure that kids can get to school, and that the neighborhood is connected by sidewalks so that it gets you to the four parks that are in our neighborhood.

“So I would like to make a motion that we approve, with the condition that we reduce it to a 5′ sidewalk as opposed to 6′.”

Where Previous Petitions Have Failed

MAP II.png


From the September 1, 2015 City Council Meeting minutes:

“Assessment Supervisor Jimmy Upchurch presented an area map [above] showing the existing sidewalks in the area, locations which have been the subject of previous petitions [highlighted in blue], the fact that Onslow petitioned 3 times unsuccessfully…”.