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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Facebook Post (David Simonton, 6/25/2017)


Currie Mixon is my across-the-street neighbor, and the petitioner’s brother-in-law. He recently commented on my continuing effort to shine a light on what transpired on Lorimer Road in a post on the Nextdoor Avent West website.

Mixon began his assessment by referring to resident Jeff Essic’s post on the site. Here is Jeff’s concluding paragraph:

“[Those] are some of the reasons why there are folks along the street against the project and why you will probably continue to hear about it until there is at least some acknowledgement that yes, the petition process was flawed, and some meaningful assurance from the city on a lower-impact design.”

Currie’s comment:

“Regarding Jeff Essic’s last paragraph, I’d say it’s impossible to say how much less raving Mr. Simonton would do with any acknowledgement or change. He’s been raving mad about the prospect of a sidewalk from the beginning, and I am of the opinion (you can see for yourself if he ever posts about anything else, he has a hobby website dedicated to opposition to this project, and now FB page…) that his opposition to this project is one that defines him in his eyes.”

I wish that a fraction of the energy spent dividing and conquering this once united neighborhood had been spent for the good of all who live here.

It didn’t have to end up this way. There could have been/should have been a positive, less fraught outcome. That choice was available to the petitioner, her sister and her sister’s husband, but they decided to take another route; with, sadly, the City’s approval.

.  .  .


Edward F Gehringer:  I generally like sidewalks and have no personal stake in this project, but I would like to commend Mr. Simonton for taking the time to gather evidence and bring it to the attention of the community. That is exactly what citizens should be doing … adducing more evidence so that better decisions can be made. Calling someone “raving mad” and saying that the issue is his “hobby” does nothing to advance harmony or improve decision-making. This issue, like all others, should be settled on its merits, not by trying to shout down minority views.

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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

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

Jeff Essic – Facebook Post

Regarding issues on the North end of Lorimer Road:

Jeff Essic (September 3, 2015, Facebook) – The flooding of Hunter and Marina’s driveway will not be improved one bit by the work of Lorimer Rd. Their flood water is coming off Western Blvd, the church lot along Garland, the apartments along Kent and Chaney, etc. Helen Adams’ lot gets flooded just because she lives at the bottom of a hill, and that’s what happens. The curbs and gutters aren’t going to make any difference for her. The water that hits Lorimer’s pavement goes into the ditches and straight to the creek. [I’ve] watched our ditches after hard rains and…most of the water on our side, when it gets to Helen’s ditch, seeps into the ground due to the thick pine straw. If Helen thinks this water is causing her flooding, then the first step would be to clean out that ditch. Of course once everything is curb and gutter, it is going to be piped straight to the creek with no chance of infiltrating into the soil, and will cause an increase of flooding for everyone downstream. For some reason this increase of impervious surface doesn’t seem to bother our City Council, even though we get assessed a stormwater fee each month for all the impervious surface on our property, including our gravel driveway.

Also since I’ve brought up Garland St. – did everyone catch Mrs. Crowder say that she is talking with a developer about doing some construction on Garland? I suspect she is referring to the lot across from the church. This property will likely be for sale soon and is a prime location for high-density development. I think this is a key to why she pushed through the whole issue, including sidewalks on the north end despite a majority of opposition. As Steve [Grothmann] has already said, the aesthetic of the surrounding neighborhood will become a selling point. Sidewalks along Garland and Chaney will be next. Developers are going to continue to put multi-family housing along the Kent corridor to replace the aging single-family houses every chance they get – just like the new townhouses on Method near the NCSU greenhouses. This is not bad, but I’m just saying that it is going to greatly increase the stormwater runoff to Hunter and Marina’s driveway and the sidewalk issue is a small step and part of Crowder and council’s larger plan to bring increased density in our neck of the woods.

As for me, I am going to be very sorry to see many of the trees that line and shade our streets cut away for a wider street and sidewalks. Every time I turn off Western and go down Garland and onto Lorimer, it is so nice to again be amongst the trees where things are calm and peaceful. I’m consoling myself by realizing that the trees actually do need major trimming cutting back, and ones behind them will fill in, but it’s not going to be nearly as pretty for a while. But I have no doubt that traffic speeds are going to increase (after all, the visible thread of landing in a deep ditch if you run off the road are no more) and probably traffic volumes. Also, have you thought about the increase in solicitations from salesmen due to improved walkability?


– Steve Grothmann (9/3/15, 2:45 pm, Facebook) – I wondered about how this plan would actually affect drainage issues. I don’t know enough about people’s individual yards to guess, but it’s clear that piping away runoff directly is the worst thing for the environment and the creek and wherever the water ends up.

Is it really true that there is no other course than this plan for people with drainage problems? I sympathize with them. Maybe there are other public means to address the drainage, maybe private, that aren’t bundled with sidewalks?

Our street really has a rustic, natural, country character, in the middle of town, which is a big part of why I love it. Would hate to lose one bit of that.

– Erin Salmon (9/3/15, 5:24 pm, Facebook) – I am not positive about the property that Kay was referring to, but I am looking into it. Unfortunately, it may be 4324 Garland Road, which was sold in March. If it is true, that means a developer now owns that property rather than a family. This is between Lorimer Road and Onslow Road, NOT between Chaney and Kent. I will keep you all posted.

– Sharon Moll Mixon (9/4/15, 12:35 am, Facebook) – I am guessing Kay is talking about the house for sale on the corner of Kent and Garland.