“Questions About Validity of Petition” (Laurel Hills)

Excerpts from the meeting appear below –



The City Council of the City of Raleigh met in regular session at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 in the City Council Chamber 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 (absent & excused)
Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin
Councilor Kay C. Crowder (absent & excused)
Councilor Bonner Gaylord
Councilor Wayne K. Maiorano
Councilor John Odom
Councilor Russ Stephenson
Councilor Eugene Weeks

.  .  .



Steven Dean, 4003 Juniper Court, stated he was before the Council as he and other residents of the Laurel Hills community have concerns about the validity of the petition to support the installation of traffic calming along a part of Laurel Hills Road. He pointed out the City has split Laurel Hills Road into two sections and he is talking about the Rex Hospital portion. He indicated the petition states there are some 53 eligible houses and 41 representatives one of those signed the petition which resulted in a 77.4 percent. He stated however they dispute that and presented the following: Continue reading

Public Works Committee Meeting Minutes (9/22/2015)

Excerpts from the meeting appear below –

The Public Works Committee of the City of Raleigh met in regular session on Tuesday, September 22, 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                                                     Staff

Councilor Eugene Weeks, Chairman       Assistant City Manager Tansy Hayward

Councilor John Odom                                   Interim Public Works Director Richard Kelly

Absent and Excused                                     City Attorney Thomas McCormick

Councilor Wayne Maiorano                       Transportation Planner Jason Myers

Civil Engineer Thomas Fiorello

Sr. Transportation Engineer Jed Niffenegger

Transportation Planning Manager Eric Lamb


These are summary minutes unless otherwise indicated.

Mr. Weeks called the meeting to order indicating Mr. Maiorano was absent and excused from today’s meeting, and the following items were discussed with actions taken as shown. Continue reading

Law & Public Safety Committee Meeting (6/25/2013)

Excerpts from the meeting appear below –

The Law and Public Safety Committee of the City of Raleigh met on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 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                                                                Staff

Mary Ann Baldwin, Presiding                  Assistant City Manager Howe

Mr. Randy Stagner                                     City Attorney McCormick

Mr. John Odom                                           Captain Jones (RPD)

                                                                       Transportation Planning Manager Lamb

                                                                       Gordon Dash, Transportation

                                                                       Sherry Bellville, Transportation

Chairperson Baldwin called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. and the following item(s) were discussed with action taken as shown.

. . . . . .

11-26 – Traffic Calming Major Projects Process – Chairperson Baldwin stated this item is a continued discussion regarding the traffic calming project development and improved public participation process. She pointed out this was discussed extensively before.

Transportation Planning Manager Lamb stated Staff has had discussion on process and structure and basically the feedback Staff received at the previous meeting. He gave a brief summary of the discussion that was held at the March 26, 2013 Law and Public Safety Committee meeting. He stated they talked about how to educate the public on what the opportunities are or are not making sure as they enter into an official process how they could make sure people understand what they are petitioning for…. 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) –

.  .  .  .  .  .

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.”

.  .  .  .  .  .


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:

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

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

.  .  .  .  .  .

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

“Obviously…There Needs To Be More Clarity”

Raleigh Residents Want More Traffic Program Changes, By Sarah Barr, 11/13/2014, News & Observer

Residents upset about measures to deter speeding drivers in their neighborhoods told a city council committee on Wednesday that proposed changes to the traffic management program should go much further.

Eight residents from various city neighborhoods spoke before the committee about their concerns, a greatest hits of sorts from the places where the traffic calming process has been particularly contentious in recent years.

Among their concerns: the effect of speed humps on emergency vehicles, invalid petition signatures and the lack of access to the approval and design process for residents who travel a street but don’t have property directly on it.

In some cases, the process has divided the neighborhood based on who does and does not want the traffic calming measures.

It’s turned into ‘us versus them,’ which is really sad,” said Deb Johnson, who lives in the Laurel Hills neighborhood.

The city’s traffic management program is designed to deal with speeding problems. If the city identifies a street as eligible for features such as speed humps or medians, then 75 percent of residents must sign a petition to initiate the design process.

City staff has proposed adding an appeal process of sorts to the program. The changes would allow 75 percent of residents to petition to stop the design process or to remove the features that already have been installed.

The committee decided not to send the recommendations to the full council just yet but to wait until city staff can consider the residents’ input.

Councilman Wayne Maiorano said the residents have raised issues that deserve further consideration. He urged them to keep in mind, though, that staff members, who often get an earful from residents, are working diligently to implement a policy the council sets.

“This is a very emotionally charged issue for many people. It can cause frustration and aggravation,” he said. “Here’s what I would tell you: That frustration and aggravation should be directed at us. We’re the council. We set the policy.”

Turnout at the meeting was particularly high among residents of Laurel Hills, where a traffic calming proposal currently in the design phase has divided the neighborhood. Laurel Hills Drive is a long loop road with spokes of smaller streets. The residents on the side streets have to travel Laurel Hills to get out of their neighborhood.

Johnson presented the council with a list of recommendations about how to improve the process, including to require approval after a design is complete, to find ways to ensure signatures are valid and from property owners only and to include neighbors whose only access to their home is from a project street in the petition process.

Councilman John Odom said that at the very least residents do need to have a clearer understanding of how the process works and what the design could look like.

“Obviously from what we’ve just heard there needs to be more clarity of how we present that so people understand where we are and what we’re doing,” he said.

[Source: HERE]

Water, Water Everywhere (Except in the Official Stormwater Report)

“…A big argument from Kay Crowder is that this [project] is needed for stormwater control.”

.  .  .  .  .  .

From Donna Burford’s Talking Points/Information Sheet:

“…As part of this project the City will need to address numerous issues that you as property owners have been plagued with for many years…. Stormwater runoff…can be a thing of the past.”

.  .  .  .  .  .

“The petition was presented to me mainly as a means to solve Beverly Thomas’s flooding problems in her yard, along with other flooding issues to her neighbors. In trying to be a good neighbor, to help people that were having flooding issues up the street from me…I signed it.”

Ryan Barnum, Lorimer Road Resident

.  .  .  .  .  .

“The general consensus from the neighbors is that this [project] will not only provide us with a sidewalk, but will manage the storm water issues to prevent property flooding.”

Donna Burford, Petitioner (an email appeal to a Lorimer Road property owner, April 10, 2015)

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Project Report.png

.  .  .  .  .  .

From the September 1, 2015 City Council meeting:

John Odom:  I heard a number of people discuss whether there were stormwater issues [on Lorimer Road]. Could you tell me where those are and where they’re not?

Jimmy Upchurch:  I am not familiar with any complaints or stormwater issues that people have brought forward. I am not aware that there are any specific drainage-issue complaints on the street.

.  .  .

Russ Stephenson:  I’ve been cruising up and down on Google Street View and I don’t see any stormwater erosion problems that would need to be addressed by a curb and gutter and stormwater catchment-type solution.

.  .  .  .  .  .

From: Carmela Teichman, Stormwater Education Specialist, Public Works Stormwater Management
Subject: RE: Request for Staff Comments – Lorimer Road from Kalpan Drive to Garland Drive
Date: October 13, 2015
To: Kevin Boyer, Stormwater Quality Manager

Interesting … why this wasn’t sent to Kelly and his techs is beyond me, must have been all the confusion with the change up in management, anyway if you go to the initial email from Donetta [Powell], her comments are just like they have always been, generic. I am convinced (from my own experience with doing this in my past life) that asking for our input is nothing more than a formality, or as you said “checking off a box.” It is very unfortunate that the City operates this way, it just causes more problems later on, your response is really informative, too bad it just was filed away somewhere,  just my opinion.

Thanks for sharing.

.  .  .  .  .  .


“Misdirection” because this was, in fact, a petition for street and sidewalk improvements.

It became something of a Stormwater Petition when residents living south of Onslow Road began to share their stormwater concerns with the Petitioner and her sister.

We believe that a good number of residents living south of Onslow Road signed the Petition because it was suggested to them that, by doing so, they would be supporting a project that would at-long-last solve their (in some cases) decades-old stormwater issues.*

Four of the residents who spoke at the Public Hearing for this project (9/1/2015) described their stormwater issues, and urged Council to support the project.

– September 2, 2015 – “(They) made it very clear they have been wanting this for more than 40 years.” —Donna Burford, 9/2/2015, FB

– September 3, 2015 – “…Overwhelmingly, almost unanimously, from Kaplan to Onslow people were thrilled and excited. It was fun hearing stories of…white water rapids through front yards, washed-out driveways, flooded houses, over turned cars. I could go on and on.” —Sharon Mixon, 9/3/2015, FB

– December 3, 2015 – “Talked to owner of 1315 (Stan Pruitt) who made statement to the effect that the City caused this the drainage issues when Ahlone and Delmont Drive were constructed and that this project better correct the problem.” —from the City’s “Lorimer Road Field Survey Notes”

But WILL this project solve resident’s stormwater problems? Can this claim be substantiated?