Why a Sidewalk on One Side of Lorimer and Not Both? How Was the West Side Chosen?

On September 1, 2015 Jimmy Upchurch said, “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…. Now, the right of way would support the sidewalk on the east side, but that was omitted, mainly for cost….”

One side only, according to Upchurch, “mainly for cost.” So, what are some of the other reasons?

The City’s Stormwater Report found that the project will create additional stormwater problems, but that the increased runoff caused by introducing more concrete and pavement on Lorimer Road could be minimized “by putting sidewalk on one side only.”

—Did stormwater concerns influence the decision to put the sidewalk on only one side of the street? If so, how is that fair to the 90% of residents who, according to the City’s official Stormwater Report, don’t have any stormwater problems?

—Was the west side of the street chosen because that’s the side that will best minimize the impact of additional stormwater runoff caused by the project?

—Was it chosen because the west side is the side of the street Woodlinks Drive is on, a road also getting a sidewalk as part of the Lorimer Road project? Jimmy Upchurch made reference to “the gentleman [Woodlinks resident Justis Peters] who requested we carry [the sidewalk] onto his property” during his presentation to Council.

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Earlier Concerns Re: Bushy Branch Creek

from City of Raleigh PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE Meeting Minutes (9/10/2003) —

Item #01-81 – Bushy Branch – stormwater – This item was referred to Committee from the August 5, 2003 Council meeting to look at stormwater problems in the area of Chaney Road, Garland Road and Onslow Road.

Stormwater Engineer Senior explained there were several storm events in August in the western part of the City and staff has come up with nine concerns that need to be addressed.  Mr. Senior presented the nine concerns followed by staff recommendations as follows: Continue reading

Donna Burford: City Council Presentation (9/1/2015)

This presentation was transcibed from a recording of the City Council meeting of September 1, 2015, evening session:

“…I am Donna Burford and I am here as the petitioner on the Lorimer street project.

“This all started as a simple free sidewalk for the safety my family, my sister’s family and another person that wanted to call for this sake. I don’t live on Lorimer Road but my sister [Sharon Mixon] and Beverly [Thomas] do. This road is very important to us because this is the only access road that allows us to get to our homes on Fairway Ridge. So all things Lorimer really is important.

“The [City Public Works Department], in the process of hearing my sidewalk petition, upgraded it to a street petition because of the non-conformity of the street.

Continue reading

Email to City Council Members (Jeff Essic)

From: Jeff Essic
To: City Council Members
Date: Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 9:54 AM
Subject: Please Vote No to “Street Improvement Petition #1351” at Your Next City Council Meeting

Dear Raleigh City Council Members,

I am Jefferson (Jeff) Essic, and my wife Karen and two children, age 8 and 5, live [on Lorimer Road]…. I am forwarding the contents of a letter regarding the petition for the city to make street improvements along Lorimer Road. My wife and I are in complete agreement with all statements made in this letter and stand in opposition to the plans laid forth in Street Improvement Petition #1351 for our section of Lorimer Road.

In addition to the reasons for opposition given in the letter below, I have some additional reasons that I would like to share. First of all, and perhaps most importantly, what the maps do not adequately show is that from the intersections of Lorimer Road and Garland Road, and from Lorimer Road and Kaplan Drive, there are continuous downhill grades to Bushy Creek which runs under Lorimer Road at the Onslow Road intersection. This grade, which is quite steep in a few places including in front of our house, naturally causes the tendency for drivers to speed as they coast down the hills. Presently, the only thing in my opinion that is causing drivers to apply their brakes and go down the hills more cautiously is the narrowness of the street, the irregular surface condition of the pavement, and the visible shoulder drop-offs for the side ditches. The street width is such that two cars meeting each other generally slow down as they pass, and even more so when meeting a truck or bus. The street also has a number of dips and humps so that travelling above the speed limit of 25mph will make the ride very uncomfortable and increase the risk of losing control. It is my opinion that by widening and smoothing the street, even with the addition of sidewalks, there will be no net gain in safety because traffic will travel much faster, and possibly there will be an increase in traffic volume. Should the street improvements be constructed, it is very likely that the next cause for which you will hear from our neighborhood will be a call for the installation of traffic-calming devices.

Continue reading

Questions Remain

—SAFETY: What are the statistics regarding pedestrian-related accidents on this section of Lorimer Road (between Kaplan Drive and Garland Drive)?

—STORMWATER: The official City stormwater report conducted in conjunction with this petition/project reports “no major issues.” How, then, did this become a deciding factor for so many residents who signed the petition?

—COST: “The cost is going up soon!” residents were cautioned. Pay now or pay a lot more later, was the implication. But ARE assessment costs going up any time soon?

—NECESSITY: A Traffic Study was conducted on Lorimer Road. But was a Pedestrian Study ever done? And if not, why not? (the citizen’s request was for a sidewalk).

—Does the City leave in place a process it knows and has acknowledged is flawed (door-to-door petitioning) because, in fact, it frequently gains the desired result? whereas the mailed ballot-type petition frequently does not? (Jimmy Upchurch: 75% in favor or 50%+1 in favor doesn’t make much difference…).

—Why did the City feel it was important/necessary to pursue Ryan Barnum’s signature after the petition had been submitted by the petitioner and deemed to be sufficient?

—Were residents on the south end of Lorimer Road notified of the petition/project before those on the north end of Lorimer. And if so, why was that?

—Why, if the circumstances are “ideal” for UDO adherence, did the City decide to put a sidewalk on one side of Lorimer Road and not both, as the UDO calls for? And how did the City determine that the west side of the street would be the best side to put the sidewalk on?

—What, if any, was Donna Burford’s relationship with/connection to Donetta Powell and/or Kay Crowder before the petition process began? During the petition process? [Note: Donna now works for Kay Crowder.]

—When was the Woodlinks Drive Sidewalk Project decided on?



The City’s Drainage Assistance Program

The number of requests for Drainage Assistance Projects and larger capital projects to solve street flooding and neighborhood drainage issues grows each year.  

Blair Hinkle, Stromwater Manager

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The City Council of the City of Raleigh met in a work session at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, March 21, 2016 in the City Council Chamber, Room 201 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

Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin

Councilor Corey D. Branch

Councilor David Cox

Councilor Kay C. Crowder

Councilor Bonner Gaylord (Arrived late)

Councilor Russ Stephenson

Councilor Dickie Thompson


These are summary minutes unless otherwise indicated.

Mayor McFarlane called the meeting to order.

City Manager Ruffin Hall indicated this is the second in a series of budget preview meetings. He gave a brief overview of the items to be presented at today’s meeting and indicated Staff will request that Council approve the user fee recommendations, which will be presented later in the meeting.

Interim Budget Manager Ben Canada gave a brief description of the items to be presented at today’s meeting noting copies of Staff’s PowerPoint presentations were included in the agenda packets. Mr. Canada also introduced the staff members making the presentations.

The following items were discussed with actions taken as shown.


Stormwater Manager Blair Hinkle presented the following information:

Good afternoon.

Thank you for the opportunity to be here today to talk about the Stormwater Program.

The goals for this presentation are to:

  1. Briefly discuss the Stormwater Program’s five major service areas;
  2. Provide a few budget highlights;
  3. Discuss our service pressure points and what we see as opportunities for improvement to our level of service;
  4. And finally, to talk about where we are in terms of our rate, and some opportunities that we see there;

So, to begin, a general overview of the Stormwater Management Program:

Continue reading

Oh, the Irony….

From City of Raleigh Website:

Stormwater Utility Fee Information

When did the stormwater fee go into effect?
The City of Raleigh began collection of the stormwater fee on March 1, 2004. All owners or tenants of developed property within the City Limits are billed for these fees. Properties outside of the City’s corporate limits will not be subject to the fee. The City has revised the stormwater utility fee structure for single-family homes with impervious surfaces larger than 6,620 square feet. The new fee structure was implemented on the July 2008 utility bills.

Why use “impervious surfaces” in determining stormwater charges?
The fee structure reflects the amount of runoff each property contributes to the community’s stormwater runoff problem. The more hard (impervious) surface area on a property, the greater the amount of stormwater that runs off into our culverts and streams. Thus, the greater the demand is on the drainage infrastructure. The fee is set up so that properties that produce more runoff are assessed a greater stormwater fee.

How is the amount of impervious surface area on my property determined?
Tax records and aerial photographs are used to determine the amount of hard surfaces on each property.

Hasn’t the City always had storm drains?
The City has had storm drains for a long time. However, recent federal regulations requiring a comprehensive stormwater quality management program necessitate that the City take a more active role in managing stormwater. The utility fee enables the City to meet its responsibilities to manage the storm drainage system more closely, study the contents of stormwater, seek out and eliminate illicit connections and illegal discharges, enforce codes more strictly, and facilitate public awareness.

How was the stormwater rate for household utility fees developed?
Annual stormwater program costs were divided by total impervious area. A statistical sampling was taken of representative properties in Raleigh. Each property was measured and a median impervious surface area was determined to be 2,260 square feet. Therefore, 2,260 sq. ft. equals one Single-Family Equivalent Unit (SFEU).

How has the stormwater rate on my utility bill been established?
The monthly stormwater utility fee is calculated based on the amount of impervious surface on a developed parcel. Impervious surface is any hard surface that does not readily absorb water and impedes the natural infiltration of water into the soil. Common examples of impervious surfaces are roofs, driveways, parking areas, sidewalks, patios, decks, tennis courts, concrete or asphalt streets, and compacted gravel surfaces. In addition to single-family homes, the stormwater utility fee is assessed on multifamily, commercial and industrial properties. Fees fall into one of two rate categories; single-family or commercial. The current rates went into effect in July of 2008.

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Stormwater Utility Rates

Email to City Council Members – David Simonton (4/5/2016)

From: David Simonton
To: City Council Members
CC: Jimmy Upchurch, Blair Hinkle, Nick Sadler, Eric Haugaard
Date: Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 9:29 AM
Subject: Tonight’s Agenda Item (Re: Lorimer Road)

Dear Council Members and Others,

In advance of my appearance this evening before the City Council, a more detailed accounting than my 3 minutes will permit. Thank you.

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Re: Street Improvement Petition #1351 – Lorimer Road

This petition, for the installation of a sidewalk with street improvements on Lorimer Road between Kaplan Road and Garland Drive, was presented to residents—specifically, those living south of Onslow Road—as a way to end their decades-old stormwater problems. The question is: will it? Continue reading

The City’s Stormwater Report

THE CITY’S STORMWATER REPORT: Initiation and Follow-Up

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. Continue reading

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′.”