N&O Editorial (2/26/2017)

Raleigh wisely limits council members from meddling in staff work

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Staff members of the city of Raleigh need to consider issues such as zoning or the organization of festivals or establishing bike lanes without interference from City Council members. And let’s give credit to the history of councils, most members of which respect the city staff and recognize that political interference is harmful at worst and inappropriate at best.

Council members insist new code of conduct rules prohibiting direct contact from council members with city staff and advisory boards aren’t aimed at one incident or one member, but rather are intended to minimize political influence.

Raleigh’s form of government puts much trust in staff, and on issues large and small that trust has been proven well-placed. This will ensure that staff will be able to operate with the independence that’s needed on sometimes contentious issues.

This is a good rule to install before a problem arises. And it’s not as if council members don’t wield plenty of influence whether they’re talking directly to city staff or not. Council member Bonner Gaylor made a salient point in saying that all bucks stop in one place.

“We have a seat at the table,” he said. “which is where we’re sitting right now.”

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Daisy Street

Sidewalk Petition Projects Approved for Public Hearing:

Daisy Street Sidewalk Petition – A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 4, 2016, to receive public comment, approve the petition, and authorize the project.

This petition was received and signed by a majority (50 percent plus one) of the adjacent property owners as required by the Residential Sidewalk Petition Policy. Daisy Street (west side) from approximately 149 feet north of Hillsborough Street to Clark Avenue for an approximate distance of 825 linear feet. Staff recommends installation of a five-foot-wide sidewalk on a 2.5-foot setback from the curb on the west side of Daisy Street where existing conditions and available right-of-way would allow, otherwise installation of a 6-foot sidewalk on a zero setback from the curb. Additional adjustments to the sidewalk width and setback may be included in the final design to avoid major impacts in certain areas as needed and determined by our engineering staff. The petition received a 67 percent sufficiency percentage with 12 out of 18 property owner signatures in favor of the proposed sidewalk installation.

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Daisy Street Petition Letter, May 26, 2016 [PDF]

 

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“Understanding the UDO”

Understanding the UDO, By | March 29, 2011 | Raleigh Public Record –

[Emphasis added]

Raleigh City Planning Manager Christine Darges has quite a task.  During the past year, she has been responsible for overseeing the team that has been updating, revising and publicizing the new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The first draft of the UDO will be released April 6. Her team has been conducting UDO simulations throughout the city at the Citizens Advisory Committee meetings and the Record chatted with Darges to break down the confusing UDO and find out how will it affect Raleigh denizens.

Continue reading

Public Works Committee Meeting (11/10/2015)

Excerpts from the Public Works Committee Meeting Minutes, November 10, 2015 (emphasis added) –

PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE

The Public Works Committee of the City of Raleigh met in regular session on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, Room 201 of the Raleigh Municipal Building, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, North Carolina with the following present:

Committee
Councilor Eugene Weeks, Chairman
Councilor John Odom
Councilor Wayne Maiorano

Staff
Assistant City Manager Tansy Hayward
Acting Public Works Director Richard Kelly
Deputy City Attorney Ira Botvinick
Engineering Plans Review Manager Kenneth Ritchie
Senior Transportation Engineer Jed Niffenegger

These are summary minutes unless otherwise indicated.

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Item #13-17 – Neighborhood Traffic Management Program – Policy Issues. This item was previously discussed at the Public Works Committee’s October 27, 2015 meeting and held over for further discussion.

Chairman Weeks indicated the Committee received correspondence from 2 Laurel Hills residents and stated and clarified that intent of today’s meeting was to consider changes to the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program to be implemented citywide.

Senior Transportation Engineer Jed Niffenegger summarized the following staff report included in the agenda Committee’s agenda packet:

Background:

For the past several months, we have been internally reviewing the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP). This review consisted of three main components. First, there was an internal review based on lessons learned and problems encountered. Second, a peer review was conducted of the largest US Cities and ones specifically in North Carolina. Lastly, an online survey was done to get feedback from Raleigh residents who are the true “customers” of the program. Continue reading

“[The Petition] Process Should Not Pit Neighbors Against Neighbors” (Mary-Ann Baldwin, 2013)

Excerpts from the Law and Public Safety Commission Meeting Minutes, March 26, 2013 (emphasis added) –

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Resident Comment: “I think before any…projects are to be planned and implemented by the City, the city should send out a formal letter to all affected residents informing them of the projects. A community organizer going house to house getting signatures does not cut it from my perspective.”

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LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE (“…Major Projects Process”)

The Law and Public Safety Committee of the City of Raleigh met on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in the Room 303, Raleigh Municipal Building, 222 West Hargett Street, Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, Raleigh, North Carolina, with the following present:

Committee
Mary-Ann Baldwin, Presiding
Mr. Randall Stagner
Mr. John Odom

Staff
Assistant City Manager Howe
Assistant Deputy City Attorney Leapley
Public Works Director Dawson
Transportation Planning Manager Lamb
Transportation Manager Kennon

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The Committee’s agenda included addressing the “…major projects process” –

Mr. Lamb suggested holding a pre-project meeting that would include project development participation.  He stated he feels a need to hold smaller meetings on a location by location basis and hold them onsite and see if there is something more powerful that the neighborhood is proposing.   He stated it is more important to dedicate a Staff person for the major projects.  They are looking at a Transportation Planning position that would be available to do project management for these type projects.  He briefly explained neighborhood streetscape projects.   They would create the dedicated Staff person that would be assigned to the streetscape and traffic calming projects. Tom Fiorello’s division would handle the minor projects.  They would like to educate as much as possible.  He stated moving the post preliminary process from the back end to the front end would be good. It is the neighborhood’s responsibility to circulate petitions.  They hope the above shown brochure would make people aware of official process and what it is they would be signing up for.  By educating on the front end people will understand what is being advertised. In sidewalk projects the use of direct mail has allowed the public to respond.  One suggestion is to use yard signs the same way they advertise for zoning cases.  He stated the larger the community is a great part of the problem.  He stated this would encourage too much participation from the outside.

After Mr. Lamb’s presentation the group had extensive discussion on ways to improve the traffic calming process. Continue reading

Full Response to “Request for Staff Comments”

From: Darges, Christine
To: Powell, Donetta ;  Dunn, Kenneth ;  Lamb, Eric ;  Kallam, Paul ;  Senior, Mark ;  Duffy, Rebecca ;  Talley, Russ
CC: Johnson, Chris ;  Niffenegger, Jed ;  Baldwin, Jennifer ;  McGee, Chris ;  Alford, Brian ;  Upchurch, Jimmy
Sent time: 07 Jun, 2014 2:21:26 PM

I would clarify that this petition [Lorimer Road] is like any other.  It is not due to the UDO requirements.  The only difference is the new standard of a 6’ sidewalk instead of a 5’ sidewalk applies now as noted in our new street typology and sidewalk standards. There is no retrofit obligation or requirement for neighborhoods and streets to comply per the UDO.  Outside the petition process, all public street improvements are obtained through the development process as usual or a city initiated program.

I have no specific comments for this location.

Christine

 

Christine Darges, Manager, Development Services
Development Services Customer Service Center

Christine Darges is the Development Services Manager in the Development Services Department. Development Services oversees and coordinates the processing and review of proposed development plans for the City of Raleigh, from project conception to permit issuance.

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Above is Christine Darges’ response to the following request by Donetta Powell –

From: Powell, Donetta
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:00 AM
To: Dunn, Kenneth; Lamb, Eric; Kallam, Paul; Senior, Mark; Duffy, Rebecca; Darges, Christine; Talley, Russ
Cc: Johnson, Chris; Niffenegger, Jed; Baldwin, Jennifer; McGee, Chris; Alford, Brian; Upchurch, Jimmy
Subject: Request for Staff Comments-Lorimer Road from Kaplan Drive to Garland Drive

We have received a request for installation of curb and gutter and sidewalk along Lorimer Road from Kaplan Drive to Garland Drive. The existing conditions consist of a 22’ strip pavement throughout per our Public Works Street Maintenance Log running approximately 2,890’ from Kaplan to Garland. Most likely this will be a retrofit due to UDO requirements. It is inside the City limits and is classified as a “local” neighborhood street.

Please provide your comments to us by Thursday, June 12, 2014.

If you have any questions or comments, please reply via e-mail or call Donetta Powell at 996-4054. Thanks!

 

Donetta Powell
Assessment Specialist
City of Raleigh Public Works Department
Design/Construction Division

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—Powell? Jimmy Upchurch? abbreviated Christine Darges’ response (above) in a combined report as follows –

 

Planning Department.jpg

 

—and in a subsequent report (11/20/2014) like this –

Screen shot 2016-05-23 at 12.57.43 PM.png