An Open Letter to Kay Crowder

September 1, 2016

Dear Council Member Crowder,

Today marks one year since the City Council’s decision to approve the petition for improvements along Lorimer Road in West Raleigh. As you know, that petition called for a 27’ back-to-back road, a 6’ sidewalk and a 6’ setback. You requested at that meeting that Council reduce the width of the sidewalk to 5′, which it did. The setback, however, remains at 6’.

And that’s why I’m writing today, to appeal to you to follow through on the numerous assurances property owners received: that the setback will be reduced as well. I believe this is a fair and reasonable request, given that residents here were repeatedly told that the setback width could be adjusted — told that by the petitioner, by City staff and by you.

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?

 

 

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.

–    –     –

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

Facebook Posts – September 17-18, 2015

Currie Mixon

September 17, 2015

We have looked into it and have again been told by the City that the only way the sidewalk petition, as passed by the City Council, can be retracted is if 100% of those owners that signed it retract their signature. Does anyone else have a different understanding of the state of this petition?

I think it is great that we have had so much communication about the specific concerns that our neighbors have. Many of them we share. I also hope that we feel more unified by these communications than we are made divided. However, the way it seems to me, there is not really any feasible way to dramatically change what was passed other than design details at this point. I think it’s absolutely worthwhile for us to continue to voice our opinions to the City, unified where we can be, but I also want everyone to have realistic expectations and the information that I have about this project.

Comments

Barbara ScottThank you for conveying what you have learned so clearly.

Like · 1 · September 17, 2015 at 11:04am
Erin SalmonI have been trying to find all the possibilities around a rehearing from calling and emailing the city, as well as using the city’s website. You have been able to get more information than I. Could you tell me who you communicated with directly?
Like · September 17, 2015 at 11:27am · Edited
Currie MixonSharon talked to Donetta Powell.
Like · September 17, 2015 at 1:28pm

Erin SalmonI have also called the Transporation Planning Manager of the city to find out the real process and specific policies around how much input residents have during the design phase and how we make sure our concerns are heard. I echo another sentiment you voiced in a previous post, Currie. My trust in the political process, as well as the city holding to its word of concern for the environment and for protecting established neighborhoods is shaken from this petition specifically.

Like · September 17, 2015 at 11:30am · Edited

Currie MixonI really do find it funny that it seems like you are saying that the petition caused the hard feelings. The petition was the process by which the City sees what kind of support there is for a project. It is not directed at making you upset, David. And should you choose to get upset about it after it was decided, that is unfortunate. But if you feel you are justified in seeking blame, I would challenge you to seek a different perspective.
 Like · September 17, 2015 at 1:37pm
Ryan BarnumSo is going door to door asking all of the people that signed the petition to retract their signatures, and explain that we are all going to work together to come up with a better plan that appeases everybody, out of the question? I think people, given the opportunity to understand the situation and the turmoil this has caused, and knowing it’s not just going to be tossed away completely, would be willing to consider it. I think trying that instead of relying on the speculation that the designers MIGHT work with the homeowners is a better plan.
 Like · 3 · September 17, 2015 at 7:03pm
Erin SalmonThat is exactly what I have been working on, and so far I have spoken directly with 11 out of the 28 signers of the petition to consider just what you have proposed, Ryan. That is also why I organized the meeting for Monday. To fully inform the street and the Kentwood – Bushy Branch Creek neighborhood what our collective options are to address the many needs and concerns that we have.
 Like · 2 · September 17, 2015 at 9:54pm
Currie MixonI can’t help but be skeptical here. It seems like the implication is that the neighborhood is being asked to trust that a new petition for a sidewalk will be developed and spearheaded by someone who does not think a sidewalk is right for the neighborhood. Am I misunderstanding?
 Like · September 18, 2015 at 11:11am
Barbara ScottI think where the city’s petition process breaks down is that it allows anyone with a vested interest in the outcome, one way or another, to present a petition and ask people to sign it. The process would be unbiased if a specialist with no interest in the outcome presented the petition. Someone knowledgeable about the petitioning and design processes and relevant city code. And someone who can answer each person’s questions about the project without personal bias.
 Like · 1 · September 19, 2015 at 9:07am · Edited
 Barbara Scott – So one constructive piece of action for me is to write the city council and tell them that in a city this big with this many competing interests, their investment in hiring a petition specialist might save them a lot of headaches. I imagine that most sidewalk petitions end up with some people feeling disenfranchised and others feeling blamed for getting involved.
Like · September 19, 2015 at 9:14am
Ryan BarnumI understand your skepticism here Currie. I do believe however that there is very little trust in the city doing what’s best for this neighborhood. I have way more trust in the people living here coming together on this matter to compromise and put together a comprehensive plan that is best for the neighborhood and all of us living here. This is something that could be spearheaded not by one anti-sidewalk person, but the collective community as a whole. I think that’s a much better approach than leaving it all to chance and speculation. We have an opportunity now to reverse this and make it right, but that window is closing and I would rather work together with everybody here, than feel like we are all butting heads and harboring resentment towards one another.
 Like · 3 · September 18, 2015 at 11:50am

Shannon BellezzaI agree, Ryan. Currie Mixon, I would say that it is a good indication that you should trust the neighbors that a good deal of the discussion here has focused on alternative sidewalk plans, maybe more so than alternative-to-sidewalk plans. Those who may not have wanted a sidewalk have entertained the possibility of alternative sidewalk plans and have shown that they are open to compromise. I feel that there have been many alternatives suggested (sidewalk and non-sidewalk alternatives) that would be in keeping with the character and aesthetic of the neighborhood.

Like · 2 · September 18, 2015 at 12:17pm · Edited

 

Continue reading

Facebook Posts – September 2, 2015

Here are some “Lorimer Rd Raleigh” Facebook posts from 9/2/2015, a day after the evening City Council Meeting where the Lorimer Road Project was approved—with a one-foot reduction in the width of the sidewalk:

.  .  .  .  .  .

Ryan Barnum

September 2, 2015

I regret that I was unable to make it to the meeting last night. I live at 1300 Lorimer Rd. Up until this summer started, I walked Lorimer Rd multiple times a day, every day, with my dog. I never felt unsafe. I understand mothers with children may not feel as comfortable in the road, but again, I never had any issues. My road frontage is three times the size of any other property on the petition, and so is the bill. I half heartedly signed the petition after speaking many times with Donetta, the woman in the office handling this initially. She told me that this thing is pretty much happening either way and it’s best to just sign the petition now to put it through before the rates go up and it’s even worse. She made sure to tell me that the designers and engineers try to work closely with the homeowners to be as minimally invasive as possible. I also spoke with Donna at length, and several other neighbors including Beverly, whose yard floods every time there’s rain, which is the main motive for the curb and gutter. Everybody I spoke to about it assured me they would push for the two foot setback with a five foot sidewalk, AND a narrower road of 27 feet. Donetta told me that with the 27’ road and the smaller setback, essentially the ditch would be where the sidewalk is and the road would push slightly more towards the east side, which to me wouldn’t be the end of the world as long as they didn’t cut anything down. I am 100% opposed to a 32 foot road and sidewalk. My property was established over 50 years ago by the Sawyers that planted many trees and bushes around the property. Each one serves a specific purpose. Most importantly for me, the privacy they give to my house and yard is something that I am unwilling to give up. As it is, my living room isn’t very far from the road. If we have a 32 foot road, even with the smaller sidewalk footprint, people will be walking about 15 feet away from my large windows. I also value the aesthetic of my property far more than any curb and gutter. My house is at the lowest possible point on the road and aside from one time during the worst hurricane to ever hit NC, it flooded a little bit. Flooding does not concern me. If this is still trying to be pushed through with a 32’ road I am going to write to the city council and everybody else that has a say in this to respectfully remove my name from the petition. This isn’t what I signed up for and I have no interest in shelling out over $10,000 for a project that is going to take away my privacy, ruin the aesthetic of my home, and put me into debt.
One last thought, when they install a new road and a sidewalk, this is only going to increase the traffic coming through the neighborhood. Cars will go faster on the bigger road. It will make for an even more welcoming cut through for people walking that don’t live in the neighborhood. Like several others on the street, my house was robbed last summer. I do not want to encourage more people looking in to see what they can get when they’re walking so close to my house.

 

Comments

Sharon Moll Mixon– 27ft road 5ft sidewalks but I don’t know that they have specified exactly what the setback will be as of now.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 6:06pm
Donna Moll BurfordThe petition was passed last night by city council, with only a 27′ road and they reduced the sidewalk to 5′ to keep in line with the rest of the neighborhood. I spoke to public works after and they will be under advisement about reducing the setback as well. As to be expected everyone has their concerns. The next step is the design so communication is key.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 6:14pm · Edited
Ryan Barnum – Thanks for that information Donna. If that’s truly the case and they’re also reducing the setback to two feet, and Donetta’s assurance that the designers will work hard not to remove trees and rip up yards holds true, then it’s a step in the right direction. Of course having the sidewalk on the east side would be even better. If the worst that happens is the ditch gets filled in and becomes the sidewalk, then I could live with that, again as long as they don’t remove any of the trees and bushes on my property. Do you know when the next meeting is? Donetta said there would be several meetings during the design phase that we could voice our concerns and work on something that appeases everybody.
Like · 1 · September 2, 2015 at 6:37pm
Jennifer Clifton – Ryan I wholeheartedly agree with you in that I don’t want to pay 5,000 for the city to tear up our yard and take down any plants/trees only to replace them with a sidewalk we do not want. I understand having to make sacrifices for the good of the whole – but I am not convinced in this project being better for everyone involved. Too bad.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 7:56pm
Sharon Moll Mixon – All the work is being done within the city easement nothing is happening on anyone’s property. It is true that root may be affected from trees but we have not been lied to by Powell or Upchurch. I have begun to trust them when they say things they want to work WITH us on this project.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 8:07pm
Jennifer Clifton – It is an expensive project that I personally am not interested in.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 8:12pm
Erin Salmon – My impression last night after the meeting is that the original petition is what has been approved. I did not get the sense that the lower impact option was passed. I was thoroughly disappointed by Kay Crowder’s lack of empathy to all of her constituents’ concerns. I do not see the issues of pedestrian and cyclist safety, the storm water needs, and the desire for our small, wooded neighborhood to remain distinctive in its aesthetic and character to be mutually exclusive. There were alternatives voiced that I think many of us could get on board with that have a lower impact and a lower cost. However, the discussion around these options was not fleshed out. I am already looking into the appeal process, paperwork which needs to be submitted within 30 days. Our neighborhood is clearly divided at this point. I hope we can reach a creative solution. Currie Mixon, I am especially interested in your ideas as a low impact credentialed engineer.
Like · 4 · September 2, 2015 at 11:29pm
Currie Mixon – Hello, neighbors! Erin, I went home from the meeting and immediately began to do some sketching and “figuring” on the geometry. The fact that we are dealing with a 14% grade as the road drops down to the creek limits how storm water can be managed in a low profile. However, since the drainage area is relatively small, we don’t have a lot of runoff to manage.
Like · 1 · September 3, 2015 at 9:36am
Currie Mixon – There is the engineering/design side of an approach, but the expectation of the city is to follow the unified development ordinance. This is the standard that he planning department started with:
Like · 1 · September 3, 2015 at 9:39am
Like · 1 · September 3, 2015 at 9:41am
Currie Mixon – I believe the “setback” mentioned in the meeting refers to dimension “F”, the planting area. Am I correct that the Kay Crowder requested that this UDO standard be narrowed for the sidewalk to 5 ft and the planting area/setback to 5 feet?
Like · September 3, 2015 at 9:52am
Currie Mixon – The width of the project will be largely due to these two dimensions, regardless of how the storm water is managed. However, I happen to believe that the curbs are not desirable for a number of reasons, and the curb and gutter is 2.5 feet wide.
Like · 1 · September 3, 2015 at 10:03am
Ryan Barnum – I thought the setback was supposed to be 2′ with a 5′ sidewalk? That’s what was discussed before the petition was submitted anyway.
Like · September 3, 2015 at 10:23am · Edited
Sharon Moll Mixon – Ryan if you have time you should watch the video of the meeting so you do not need to go by hearsay. But as I understand it 27 foot road 3.5 ft setback 5ft sidewalk. (The project will end where ditches are now.) One of the councilman suggested this neighborhood could support a different style of road that does not use curb and gutter. Gives it a more natural look.
Like · 2 · September 11, 2015 at 8:36pm · Edited
Ryan Barnum – Ok thanks. I watched the video but I must have missed that. I’ll watch it again. I’d be interested in hearing all options.
Like · 2 · September 3, 2015 at 1:43pm
Erin Salmon – Thank you, Currie, for your input. This is the kind of conversation I was hoping was possible at the city meeting, which you did make efforts to initiate. We still as neighbors have a chance to come together to understand all of the needs of our small community.
Like · September 3, 2015 at 5:14pm
.  .  .  .  .  .

Jane Fenn

September 2, 2015

Donna Burford and Kay Crowder, I cannot help but wonder why you do not have sidewalks on your streets. I don’t understand why a sidewalk on my street is essential to you when you don’t have them yourselves. I further do not understand why a letter I wrote to all city council members weeks ago has generated no response at all from any council rep, especially not the one one representing my own neighborhood. Two issues here — what has been a congenial and pleasant street in our neighborhood has had divisive forces introduced to it, and our neighborhood representative seems to be ignoring her constituents. While I am certainly prepared for civility and disagreement over any public issue, I question that others choose not to have happen to themselves what they want to see happen to me, and that I am not even accorded a written response to a legitimate constituent letter.

Comments

Sharon Moll Mixon – I don’t know if you realize that Donna is my sister. She started this petition so that her girls can walk to my house on a free sidewalk. My elderly father lives on garland which would be a perfect walk for him with his walker if he could step off of the road when a car or semi drive by.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 10:44am
Jane Fenn – Sharon, I do realize that your families are related, although if the reason was for your children and hers to have sidewalk access, then why was the sidewalk not proposed for your side of the street? Both sets of children will need to cross the street from the sidewalk on MY side to get to your house. This is to my mind a divisive factor between neighbors who exist cordially on both sides of the street. You want a goal for which have to pay inequitably. We both have to pay the same money costs, but the loss of property access, impact and use is very very different, and the west side neighbors bear it excessively. If taking offense and resentment are the result of this process, I can understand that. I feel it myself whenever I think about the impact of this project on me versus its impact on you. That is exactly what I mean by divisive. I regret intensely that this is the result of actions by a well-meaning person but there are always consequences to any action and the appearance of inequity as well as its reality are two of the consequences of this action. I suggested several project modifications in my letter to Ms. Crowder and the rest of the council, and I sent that letter to Donna as well. Apparently none of these project modifications which would have mitigated at least some of the inequities in it are taken seriously since I have had no response at all from the council members.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:32am
Sharon Moll Mixon – At the meeting last night I asked them to please put the sidewalk on the east. It makes more sense to me that the sidewalk would be on the east side.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:36am
Jane Fenn – Thank you for that. Is there any indication that the project will be modified in that way?
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:38am

Donna Moll Burford – I know for a fact that your letter was read by at least one of the city council, the public works and was shared with the rest of the city council. I asked that they do a sidewalk with the least amount of impact to the neighbors and Sharon asked them to put it on her side. They brought up your letter at the meeting but the discussion of the exact specifications could not be addressed because the time was consumed with the request to not include the north part of Lorimer at all.

Like · September 2, 2015 at 12:39pm
Beverly Thomas FacebookJane,
You may not have been at the meeting in our neighborhood about street improvements for Lorimer Road when Kay Crowder told us she had tried to get her neighbors to sign a petition requesting that the city install a sidewalk on her street. She did not succeed, so her lack of sidewalk is not for lack of trying. Donna’s Street, Fairway Ridge, is not a thru street and does not pose the hazards for residents that exist on Lorimer.
Beverly

Like · September 2, 2015 at 10:51am
Sharon Moll Mixon – I have heard people say “the person that started the petition does not even live on the street” not sure why that matters. Anyone can start a petition for anything it is the majority of signatures as to whether or not it passes. Donna put hours and hours of blood sweat and tears into this for me and my family on my request. So I take serious offense to that comment. Not to mention she is forced to travel Lorimer road to get to her house.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:10am
Steve Grothmann – So the petition was initiated by someone who is not subject to the fee?
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:18am
Shannon Bellezza – I think it matters that she does not live on the street in that she will not have to pay thousands of dollars or be subject to a property lien, lose significant property to encroachment, lose the aesthetic of her street, or put up with the construction process. Many of us live in this neighborhood because of its underdeveloped nature, in contrast to many other Raleigh neighborhoods. In essence, people see her as reaping convenience on a burden carried solely on others’ backs. So in that way, it does matter, and I sympathize.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:32am · Edited
Sharon Moll Mixon – Yes Steve she is my sister and I asked her to put in a petition for free sidewalks.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:32am
Shannon Bellezza – But it’s not free. It comes at a great expense to the property owners directly affected and to taxpayers of Raleigh.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 7:50pm · Edited
Sharon Moll Mixon – We wanted and petitioned for free sidewalks they will not do that on a nonconforming road that’s why it turned into curb and gutter.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:38am
Sharon Moll Mixon – This petition was passed by 71% of the homeowners.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 10:23pm · Edited
Shannon Bellezza – Were all made aware of the actual costs they would incur when they signed the petition?
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:47am · Edited
Sharon Moll Mixon – Of course they were aware of the cost. That is the number one reason we want to fix the road at this time when it is only $32 per linear foot the road will need to be fixed eventually and in the future it will be a lot more expensive to us.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:53am
Sharon Moll Mixon – We are not lucky enough to have a gravel road that is maintained regularly by the city.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 11:57am
Shannon Bellezza – I can definitely see some benefits of having a sidewalk along Lorimer – it would be great for the kids on this end to be able to safely walk around, but surely you can understand that though 71% approve, 29% may be very upset. It is not a matter of luck to live on a gravel road, but a matter of choice. I’m just very sympathetic to the people who don’t want the sidewalk. Every now and then someone wants to petition to pave Onslow, so I know how it feels to be facing drastic unwanted changes at a significant expense (and fortunately for us, it is unwanted by the majority).
Like · September 2, 2015 at 12:05pm · Edited
Sharon Moll Mixon – Not signing does not mean disagreeing. There are signatures we did not get because people were out of town, did not answer their doors, for at least a couple of properties did not sign because they did not feel like they had enough fact that the petition was with written well enough. You don’t know how much I hate that I my neighbors are upset with me. I love this neighborhood and I plan to be here until the day I die. I want to send my kids running around the neighborhood playing with their neighborhood friends as they get older. I want my neighbors to like me.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 12:07pm
Jane Fenn – Let me repeat — I am NOT upset with either you or your sister. I AM upset that the actions taken have consequences which are falling inequitably on half of the neighbors affected by this petition. These actions have had serious consequences and I do not see the city council offering to mitigate the inequities, according to what has been posted right here about the meeting last night. This sounds very much like a done deal, that the inequities between the eastside neighbors and the westside neighbors along Lorimer are not going to change, and that the attempt to perform a good deed (which Kay Crowder’s own neighbors didn’t feel was good enough to persuade them) is going to result in problems that impact me and my westside neighbors that won’t impact you nor Donna. These actions that you and your sister undertook for good reasons in your minds have resulted in burdens to me that you won’t feel. Surely you understand that I might appreciate both of you as fine people but I do NOT appreciate the affects on me of your actions now that the consequences of them are out of your control. If you can see any way at all to make this situation better, I welcome and applaud your efforts. I have undertaken efforts myself but to all appearances, to no avail.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 1:10pm
Sharon Moll Mixon – I have heard you made many good points in your letter. I wish those were the talking points that were proposed in the meeting. Instead the time was taken up with the lawyer. And discussing whether or not there are flooding issues. I wanted to talk about whether or not the interest rates is set and if it could be lowered for us. I also wanted to propose 3 foot setback and 5 foot sidewalk. Instead the time was taken up with moot points. I know you were out of town and couldn’t be but sure wish you were there Jane you would have new insights on the many families who are really pushing for this and want it bad. This started with me and my sister wanting to walk safely to each others house and it has turned into bringing a community together and helping with flooding issues homeowners have been experiencing and asking the city for help for 4 years.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 2:03pm
Shannon Bellezza – I have no skin in this game as I do not live on Lorimer, and like I said, I can definitely see why people would want a sidewalk, but I did want to explain how your sister being, for all intents and purposes, the face of this petition could make her the target of some people’s ire.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 12:09pm
Donna Moll Burford – Fairway Ridge was developed after this area was considered part of the city of raleigh, so curbs and gutters were installed. Maybe being that ít is a dead end road, they weren’t required to put sidewalks running the whole length. But there is sidewalk running half way down Wood links Rd. that connects our homes to Lorimer Rd. We got approval to include the continuation of that sidewalk down to Lorimer as part of this project. Also, I have made my own sidewalk I front of my property as well. It is not only essential to me but also the other 17 homes on my street. Lorimer Rd. is the only access road to connect us to our homes. We have quite a few walkers that walk this road every day. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of avoiding the dangerous terrains by living at the end of the road.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 12:26pm · Edited
Donna Moll Burford – Just for the record…..just because I am the one that made the call to the city requesting this petition has no impact on how this has moved forward. There are 41 amazing families on this street 28 families recognized this improvement to be a benefit to either property and their community. They are the ones that signed this petition to make it happen. I don’t have a vote….But the ones that do, made it very clear they have been wanting this for more than 40 years.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 12:49pm · Edited
Karen Flowers Essic – This is a minor point I would like to add to this discussion. We keep throwing around numbers like the numbers are black and white. I will go on record as saying my family did not sign the petition. We could see good things about the petition and also some bad. We decided our feelings were too mixed to commit our neighbors to cover such expenses on our behalf when we were not totally sure ourselves. But I have also heard neighbors say they signed the petition to be “neighborly” and that they were maybe equally ambivalent as us. So I just think we could remember that while the numbers are good for making a point, they are not exactly the true representation of people’s interest level in the project. There are going to be people upset understandably. I am not one of them, b/c I don’t see what good comes from that personally, but I can empathize with those who are upset.
Like · 3 · September 2, 2015 at 2:03pm
Donna Moll Burford – Your right….it isnt about the numbers. Karen every single one of us can see the good and bad and we all have our concerns that is why there are meetings to discuss our issues and our time is best spent working together as a community.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 2:40pm
Sharon Moll Mixon – Communication is key! I sure wish the neighbors had talk to us to change the petition before it was submitted. If only we had talked more at the April 1st meeting.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 3:20pm

Jane Fenn – I specifically asked for changes in that petition before it was submitted and was told that in essence even Donna was not in favor of it exactly as it was, but that there would be time and opportunity for modifying it once the approval numbers were achieved. Communication clearly has not been a help in this process because it was tried. I also played my citizen’s part in writing directly to the council members, especially to the one representing my neighborhood, and have heard not one word. The communication has all been one way despite my efforts and those of others in the neighborhood. This petition process took on a life of its own and now we all must face the consequences, some of us with much more severe consequences than others. That remains the crux of the problem — something was put in motion that impacts half the street property owners unfairly while the other half do not experience the same level of impact on their property. There is no way to sugarcoat that. And it is a factual error to claim people did not communicate their reservations because they did. You and Donna started something for what seemed like good reasons to you at the time and now all of us must deal with the unforeseen results.

Like · September 2, 2015 at 3:59pm
Sharon Moll Mixon – I hope you understand that no one requested the sidewalk be put on the west side that is an engineering issue. As far as fair or unfair I don’t know what to tell you except maybe we can get sidewalks on the west side in the future also so that would seem more fair to you.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 4:36pm

Sharon Moll Mixon – Last night’s meeting was to work on those modifications and changes we would like to have made to it. Donna proposed making the setback and sidewalk as small as possible for the smallest possible footprint. (No 6ft and 6ft) It was also proposed by a lawyer to go ahead with some of the petition but drop part of it off. I would be upset also that your letter was not read out loud at this meeting. If I were you I would expect a response from what you submitted also.

Like · September 2, 2015 at 4:55pm
Steve Grothmann – My personal feeling is that we don’t NEED sidewalks on either side. Obviously some people feel safer with them, but really…? We have relatively little traffic–it’s 5:00 now and NO CARS are coming by. Lorimer is not like Kaplan. I’ve never felt unsafe- all you have to do is step over two feet onto some grass, for a few seconds.
I can’t help but suspect that this push for sidewalks is more than a safety concern, but a desire for the street to look more manicured and live up to a certain aesthetic ideal that is not universal. I’m repeating my previous post.
BUT- cost is a huge factor. For us, more than $5000. You can’t just ask people to swallow that kind of expense out of the blue. We need to show up at whatever meetings there are and publicly oppose this. Like there’s time to do all that.
Like · 1 · September 2, 2015 at 5:10pm
Donna Moll Burford – Steve….The city notified everyone on Lorimer of the meeting and was last night. The city council approved it and it is moving forward.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 5:13pm
Steve Grothmann – Missed it too busy. Great.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 5:15pm
Sharon Moll Mixon – Steve have you ever walked north on Lorimer? There are many areas that you could not possibly step off of the road. I understand people’s perspective on both ends of the petition are very different (uphill) because you enter and exit (and walk) the neighborhood in a different direction you do not see the water flow issues and the flooding problems people have at the bottom of the hill. There is a creek that needs to be addressed. The expense sucks for all of us involved but we are doing this for our neighbors. And to bring the community together. I dare you to go door to door and talk to each person downhill from you and ask them how they feel about curb and gutter.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 10:41pm · Edited
Steve Grothmann – Bottom line, I don’t have a loose $5K for this. Thanks
Like · September 2, 2015 at 5:26pm
Sharon Moll Mixon – Maybe we can create a GoFundMe account for you.
Like · September 2, 2015 at 5:26pm
Steve Grothmann – No.
Like · 2 · September 2, 2015 at 5:27pm
Erin Salmon – The lawyer last night did take up a significant amount of time. He was also speaking for 7 property owners. There was plenty of time also used by 5 other residents of Lorimer Road, 2 residents of adjacent streets, and 2 experts brought in by Kay Crowder. Jane’s letter was mentioned in one sentence. Kay did a lot of whispering in the ears of almost every other council person while her constituents were disagreeing, rather than talking with us to problem solve. When one of her experts was asked why 6 ft, he said because that is what the petitioner asked for. There was very little discussion to amend it. Currie even brought up the option of a multipurpose trail. He mentioned his low-impact certification as an engineer, and not one council person asked him a single question. The council did not have to make a decision last night, it could have been put into a committee to explore these concerns, but they unanimously passed the petition with a bit of pushing from Kay. Why?
Like · 1 · September 3, 2015 at 12:06am
Donna Moll Burford – This petition had been on the books since November of 2014. This isn’t a new thing for every one.
Like · September 3, 2015 at 8:10am
Erin Salmon – @Donna Moll Burford while that is true, that doesn’t mean that more conversations cannot happen. And I hope you will be a part of them. You are a member of this neighborhood whether you live on Lorimer Road or not. I have not spoken directly to you, only Sharon. I hope we will be able to talk in person soon, as my yard is significantly impacted by the current petition. I was unable to make both the April meeting and the neighborhood block party because of travel happening concurrently. I did however have multiple conversations with neighbors attending the meeting at the church to voice my opinion including Sharon, and I did attend the city council meeting. This whole process has divided the neighborhood which is good for no one. This petition is only one petition for street improvement. Let’s figure out how we can submit a proposal that will work for everyone, so that the city council can hear a united community voice. From the sound of it, many people believed the petition would not eliminate the chance to explore options, but it has done that at this point. This does not have to be the end of it. All of Lorimer Road’s needs are not mutually exclusive. There are alternatives to the city guidelines which are happening all over Raleigh. Yes, it may involve more work, but my impression is that many of the property owners voicing concerns are in it for the long road, and that our homes and street are worth it.
Like · 2 · September 3, 2015 at 8:59pm · Edited
.  .  .  .  .  .

Continue reading

Donetta Powell’s Active Involvement in the Petition Process

DONETTA POWELL’S ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT, RAISING SERIOUS REAL-ESTATE “DISCLOSURE” QUESTIONS*

The owner of 1300 Lorimer Road for approximately 5 months of the designated petitioning period (November 18, 2014 – May 18, 2015) was Adrianne W. Joergensen. Joergensen, however, was not notified about the petition/project during this period/her ownership.

Ryan Barnum purchased the house at 1300 Lorimer Road from Ms Joergensen, thus becoming the new property owner, on April 24, 2015.

Donetta Powell made a concerted effort to secure Barnum’s signature more than a month later, on May 27 — twenty-three days after the petition was turned in by the petitioner with a more-than-sufficient number of signatures.

The question is: Why?

.  .  .  .  .  .

From: Donna Burford
Date: May 27, 2015 at 6:14:22 PM
To: Ryan Barnum
Subject: Lorimer Road Street Petition

Ryan, Donetta Powell with the City of Raleigh contacted me to get Mrs. Chandler’s signature that was missed. She also suggested that since she has had communication with you regarding the approved access point in your yard that you may have an interest in signing the petition as well. She dropped the petition off to me and is requesting that I return it back to her as soon as possible. Please let me know if I can come by or if you could swing by here.

Unless you are against the petition, I would encourage you to sign. The petition was accepted with 65% approval when I turned it in on May 4th and if you signed, it will be resubmitted at 71%. I am assuming that the higher the approval rating on a project shows positively when presented to the City Council on July 7th.

_____________________________________________________

The Petition’s Sufficiency / “Success” Rates—

-WITHOUT Ryan Barnum’s signature — 65.85% of All Property Owners In Favor
-WITH Ryan Barnum’s signature — 68.29% of All Property Owners In Favor

–DIFFERENCE: 2.44%

-WITHOUT Ryan Barnum’s signature — 64.92% of All Property Frontage In Favor
-WITH Ryan Barnum’s signature — 70.96% of All Property Frontage In Favor

–DIFFERENCE: 6.04%

It would hardly seem worth pursuing Ryan Barnum’s signature for such a small gain, especially in light of his reluctance to sign; it took some persuading on Powell’s part to finally secure his signature.

It’s difficult to see how these small percentage differences could be considered significant enough that Ryan’s signature alone, when added to the rest of those already collected, would help “push the Petition through,” as Donetta Powell suggested (see Affidavit of Ryan Barnum).

*Was Ryan Barnum aware of the (potential) significant changes to the property he was about to purchase before negotiating the purchase price? And if not, shouldn’t he have been? Whose responsibility was it to tell him? The seller’s, Adrianne W. Joergensen’s? And if that’s the case, did she inform him?

.  .  .  .  .  .

North Carolina Disclosure Form – This Disclosure Form contains the following question:

#28. Is the property the subject of any lawsuits, foreclosures, bankruptcy, leases or rental agreements, judgements, tax liens, proposed assessments, mechanics’ liens, materialmens’ liens, or notices from any governmental agency that could affect the property value?

.  .  .Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 2.33.31 PM.png

.  .  .

Powell’s active involvement also included her suggesting to the petitioner that the petition’s designated measurements (sidewalk, setback) were subject to change—an assurance the petitioner passed on to residents as she appealed to them for signatures; an assurance that turned out not to be true. Additionally, Powell passed this assurance on to Mr. Barnum, who she told that the size of the street could also be reduced from the width spelled out on the petition. Barnum eventually signed.

.  .  .  .  .  .

 

Erin Salmon and the City – Part One

On Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 4:40 PM, Nick Sadler  wrote:

Ms. [Erin] Salmon

My name is Nick Sadler and I work as a Policy Analyst in the City Council Office.

We understand that you have been contacting various departments throughout the City in an effort to gather information about the Lorimer Drive Street and Sidewalk Improvements that was approved by council in September. To better serve this effort I have been asked to  be the point of contact for you moving forward. Any request for information should be sent to me. Once I receive the request I will ensure that it gets to the correct staff  and ensure that you get the information you request.

I appreciate your understanding of this. If you have any questions please let me know.

Nick

Nick Sadler, Policy Analyst

City of Raleigh | City Manager’s Office

.  .  .  .  .  .

On Sep 29, 2015, at 12:09 AM, Erin Salmon wrote:

Hello Nick,

Thank you for your email.  I am curious who asked you to be the point person for directing my questions.  Prior to your email, I spoke at length with Chris Johnson, and he asked that I direct my questions to himself and to Jimmy Upchurch.  To oblige you all, I will copy the three of you on future emails.

In any case, I believe your assistance will be invaluable for my neighborhood’s future.  This project has created a huge divide within our quiet streets, and I have been working hard since September 1 to bridge this divide, to find common ground where neighbors can work together to address concerns and issues.  The petition process itself has generated much of the contention that residents feel.  I believe that this could have been avoided had the city been more involved during that time before the petition was submitted and before the resolution went before the Council.  I know that many residents did email and call the appropriate city staff to ask questions and voice concerns, myself included. However, not all calls and emails were answered, and the information that was given to various residents was contradictory to some of the information I have gathered from the city’s website as well as from direct conversations with the departments and divisions pertinent to this project.  There continue to be unanswered questions from residents, and as a neighborhood, we have been meeting frequently over the past four weeks to sort through the information that has been gathered since September 1.

Continue reading