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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Kay Crowder: “What you hear from me is what you get. Integrity means something to me.”

raleighpublicrecord.org

Crowder: Everyone Needs to be Heard

By James Borden | June 3, 2016

This is the latest in our ongoing interview series, On The Record. Last week, we had the opportunity to sit down with Raleigh City Councilor Kay Crowder to talk growth, neighborhood preservation and improving the City’s transit system. 

Kay Crowder

Kay Crowder doesn’t like giving interviews.

So she says. Over lunch at Player’s Retreat last week, where even a tempting, off-menu Fried Green Tomato Sandwich couldn’t deter her from her regular Hawaiian Burger, Crowder was eager to discuss everything from the city’s exponential growth to the importance of honesty and mutual respect in governance.

A Raleigh native who can trace her roots back to its founding families (she is a direct descendant of Isaac Hunter), Crowder considers herself fortunate to have a role in helping to shape the city’s future.

“It’s an exciting time to live in Raleigh, it’s an exciting time to help the government and try and steer in the right direction; sometimes you become overwhelmed with all that’s going on, and you try and compartmentalize all these different things,” Crowder said.

“Then I go home and I think, what a wonderful problem that is for us to have.”

Exacerbating this wonderful problem, Crowder said, are the countless magazine rankings which often list Raleigh as one of the best places in the country to live and do business in.

“This group of publications putting those out, it brings lots of opportunities and struggles,” she said.

“We have to decide what the balance looks like, because we want to protect and preserve the quality of life in the City of Raleigh, but we also want to encourage economic development.”

“It’s a balancing act.”

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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.

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“Request for Sidewalks Divide Raleigh Neighbors”

The News & Observer | NewsObserver.com

Midtown Raleigh News, June 10, 2015

Request for sidewalks divides Raleigh neighbors, By Mechelle Hankerson

RALEIGH – For the past 10 years, Rhonda Welfare has been taking walks along Mills Street in the Hi Mount neighborhood, a cluster of small homes built after World War II near Wake Forest Road.

The area doesn’t have sidewalks, but Welfare doesn’t mind. There’s not much traffic.

But like many older neighborhoods in Raleigh, Hi Mount is changing. Small one-story homes are being torn down to make way for bigger houses.

Now, a request for the city to install sidewalks in the neighborhood has highlighted a divide between neighbors who want to maintain the area’s historic character and those who want to see changes. Continue reading

“Study Provides Map for Southwest Raleigh Development”

(Source: WRAL.com)

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….

Merwin Road – Council Approval Despite Citizen Opposition

“Neighbors at odds over sidewalk: City approves Merwin Road plan despite opposition from residents. —By Ray Martin, Staff Writer

“The City Council at its meeting last week unanimously approved installation of a sidewalk on the west side of Merwin Road, where only four of the 14 property owners who participated in the most recent public meeting want it.

“After City Manager Russell Allen told the council that most residents voted to go without a sidewalk, Councilman Thomas Crowder, whose district includes the neighborhood, made a motion to approve its construction.”

—from News & Observer, Midtown Raleigh News (July 14, 2010)

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Contradictions?

[In Progress]

 

 

“I have a different style than Thomas [Crowder],” [Kay Crowder] said. “As opposed to just saying no, I have a style that’s a little more willing to look at all the issues and evaluate them and try to work our way to a compromise.” — N&O Article

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“I want citizens to feel part of the process instead of outside the process. Our city is only as good as the neighborhoods and the people living in them. Without citizen input, development may shape our future in ways we may or may not like. That is why, as we consider development in our district, I want to include city planning staff, developers, and citizens in a fair and balanced open communication so people understand what is happening and how it will impact them, positively and negatively.” —from Vision, Kay Crowder‘s website

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