– Week of May 12, 2014 – Petition Process Initiated – Donna calls the City on her younger sister’s behalf, inquiring about the possibility of installing a sidewalk on Lorimer Road. She does this without informing other residents who would be affected by such a project.
– May 19, 2014 – Jimmy Upchurch with the City’s Public Works Department emails Donna to acknowledge her request.
– May 28, 2014 – Lorimer Road Traffic Study conducted.
– June 6, 2014 – The Raleigh City Council approves Thomas Crowder‘s motion to change the percentage requirement for a citizen’s petition from 75% of residents signing to 50% +1 signing.
– September 8, 2014 – Sharon Mixon creates “Lorimer Rd Raleigh” Facebook Group.
– September 16, 2014 – Kay Crowder appointed to the City Council.
– September 23, 2014 – Committee to Elect Kay Crowder formed.
– October 14, 2014 – Thomas Crowder dies (News & Observer obituary).
– November 12, 2014 – Public Works Committee meets. Policy issues are discussed, including “a lengthy discussion…[of] the citizen-driven petition process.” PW Director Carl Dawson* points out, “There are [Raleigh] citizens who have stated the petition they signed was not why they signed the petition in the first place.” One resident states,”The petitioner told me what I was approving was merely a study….”
– November 17, 2014 -Donna initiates Community Watch drive, holds neighborhood meeting at Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church. Physical addresses, email addresses and Facebook status of neighbors are collected at this meeting. No mention is made of the petition, sidewalk, etc.
– November 18, 2014 – Petition packet (Street Improvement Petiton [#1351] – Lorimer Road) mailed to Donna Burford.
– November 19, 2014 – Donna emails neighbors requesting additional contact information. Again, no mention of the petition or project is made.
– December 1, 2014* – Public Work Department Director, Carl Dawson, retires.
– February 6, 2015 -Donna emails residents on Community Watch email list: “…A petition for a sidewalk on Lorimer Rd. was started. Sidewalks are now funded by the City of Raleigh. This will address the safety of everyone walking on an already too narrow road and hopefully the storm water and poor state of the road itself will be addressed as well! All of the details have not been ironed out but if there is anyone that would like to help…please contact…”. —NOTE: The details of the project were specified in the petition document, which had been in Mrs. Burford’s possession since November 2014.
– March 18, 2015 (approx.) -Donna and Sharon make vague, no-details mention of the proposed project to Lorimer Road resident Carolyn Parker. “Carolyn was one of the first neighbors we told about the project.” —Sharon Mixon, November 23, 2015 (Facebook post).
– March 21, 2015 – Donna emails residents on Community Watch list, inviting them to a Project Information Meeting; she also posts the invitation on Facebook.
– April 1, 2015 – First and only Project Information Meeting is held. Fewer than half of affected property owners are present. MANY RESIDENTS LEARN PROJECT DETAILS FOR THE 1st TIME AT THIS MEETING, held nearly 4½ months after Petition was issued. Also present at this meeting are Kay Crowder, who presided; Jimmy Upchurch and Donetta Powell. No mention is made of the Traffic Study, and no one from Stormwater is in attendance, despite emphasis by the petitioner on stormwater issues.
– April 20, 2015 – Lorimer Road resident Ryan Barnum contacts Donetta Powell with questions about the petition and project.
– May 4, 2015 – Signed petition turned in by the petitioner, received by the City and validated for sufficiency.
– Late-May 2015 – Petition returned to petitioner to secure additional signature(s), even though the numbers are more-than-enough for the petition’s approval.
– Early-July 2015 – Petition again turned in to the City by the petitioner—with Ryan Barnum’s signature now attached (1300 Lorimer Road, Lot 13). Despite the City denying involvement in the process, Donetta Powell plays an active role in securing Barnum’s signature.
– July 13, 2015 – Petition No. 1351 – Lorimer Road officially certified by Gail G. Smith, City Clerk and Treasurer.
– July 2015 – Kay Crowder files to campaign for election to the Raleigh City Council.
– July 21, 2015 – Petition forwarded to the City Council to schedule a public hearing for its consideration; Intent Resolution adopted.
– July 28, 2015 – Public Hearing notification letters mailed to residents by the City Clerk’s Office.
– August 2015 – Donna succeeds in getting school bus stop changed from the corner of Lorimer and Merwin to the corner of Lorimer and Woodlinks (Woodlinks connects to Fairway Ridge Drive, where Burford resides).
– September 1, 2015 – A Public Hearing is held. Council unanimously approves project for design/construction; Directing Resolution adopted. Council rejects request to separate out the Onslow-to-Garland block of Lorimer Road from the project despite majority opposition there. (Sometime after the petition passes, the contact person for the Committee to Elect Kay Crowder changes from Lee Folger III to Donna Burford, the petitioner, raising the specter of a quid pro quo.)
– September 2, 2015 – Facebook “explodes,” after promises made to residents by the petitioner are proven to be mostly false at the City Council meeting the night before.
– September 8, 2015 – Nick Sadler, Policy Analyst, City of Raleigh, City Manager’s Office, writes in an email to a Lorimer Road resident, “The time for public input is over.” This, despite the petitioner’s assurance that a neighborhood conversation would take place as part of the process. According to the affidavit of Karen Rochford: “I was told not to worry and to sign the document as it was and that we would all be able to sit down once it passed and determine how we would like it to look.”
– September 29, 2015 – City staff is directed by Lou Buonpane and Nick Sadler to refer calls and requests for information about the Lorimer Road Petition & Project directly to them.
– October 5, 2015 – A second Neighborhood Meeting is held. Sharon Mixon says she “can’t imagine why anyone would sign a petition if they didn’t agree with what [it stipulated].”
– October 6, 2015 – Incumbent Kay Crowder elected to Raleigh’s City Council (she was appointed in 2014).
– October 20, 2015 – District D representative Crowder attends a third Lorimer Road Neighborhood Meeting. She states, when asked about the project flexibility residents were repeatedly assured of—including by Crowder herself, “The UDO does not allow it.” When asked, Why not separate out the Onslow-to-Garland block? her (non)answer is, “The City wants to do whole streets, whole sections at once. Microgaps, where sidewalks stops in the middle of the block, are only trouble to fix later.” —NOTE: The Onslow-to-Garland block is a “whole section” of a street, being approx. 1/3 the length of Lorimer Rd that the project comprises. A microgap is “a missing section of sidewalk anywhere from 25 feet to 300 feet long and often involves a single property owner not wanting a sidewalk crossing in front of his or her property,” according to Eric Lamb, Transportation Manager.
– November 3, 2015 – Woodlinks Drive Sidewalk Petition is approved by the City Council.
– November 10, 2015 – Public Works Committee meets. A staff report is presented, based in part on “an internal review…[of] lessons learned and problems encountered…in an attempt to find ways to improve [the] process… One consideration is to remove the door-to-door petition and replace it with a mail ballot system.”
– November 10, 2015 – Survey notification letters mailed to Lorimer Road residents by design/construction staff.
– December 1, 2015 – Steve Grothmann and Erin & Mike Salmon appear before the City Council. Council rejects a counter-petition from Onslow-to-Garland-block residents on Lorimer, who now number 10 opposed out of 14 properties, to be removed from the petition.
– December 31, 2016 – Jimmy Upchurch retires.
– February 8, 2017 – 25% Design Meeting held.
– June 2017 – Second Public Meeting (anticipated).
– October 2017 – City completes final plans, easement acquisitions and permitting process.
– November 2017 – City advertise project for construction bids (projected).
– February 2018 – City awards construction contract (projected).
– Fall 2019 – Project completion (projected).
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