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

COUNTERPOINT

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.

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Comment

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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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.

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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.

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Project Impact

Screen shot 2016-05-23 at 2.27.48 PMb w_names.jpg

Pictured here is a portion of the northern section of Lorimer Road.
On this map, the YELLOW dotted lines indicate where Lorimer Road is currently; the PURPLE lines indicate the width of the City’s easement. The solid GREEN lines show where the new, “improved” road will be; the solid RED lines indicate the location of the new curb. The sidewalk (located on one side—the west side—only) is pictured here as an ORANGE band.

Note that the yellow line—the edge of the current road—and the red line—the edge of the new road/where the new curb will be—intersect in front of the Mixon’s property (Sharon Mixon initiated the street & sidewalk project).

The Mixons, in other words, stand to lose … nothing, easement-wise. Those who live across the street, however, stand to lose everything, easement-wise.

How, one might ask — Mixons and Burfords and City of Raleigh officials and staff — is this fair?

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September 9, 2015 Facebook posts

Jane Fenn:  For me the biggest problem with this whole situation is that for you and your neighbors on the east side of Lorimer, the look of the street and the impact on trees you enjoy will change only by 3.5 feet, roughly speaking. For me and all my neighbors on the west side, the look of Lorimer will change by 5 feet (sidewalk) plus 6 feet (setback) plus 3.5 feet. The inequity of this property impact differential is breathtaking.

Shannon Bellezza:  …If the petition is upheld, a sidewalk will be installed and the look and feel of Lorimer Rd. will drastically change.

Currie Mixon:  I disagree that it will drastically change. It will change somewhat, but not drastically.

[—which, given that the drastic change will affect residents on the other side of the road, is easy for Mr. Mixon to say….]

.  .  .  .  .  .

“I for one, am a fan!”

From: Donna Burford
To: Kay Crowder, Donetta Powell
Date: 9/18/2015 4:19:52 PM
Subject: Meeting Announcement

“As to be suspected [Erin Salmon] doesn’t want the facts and just wants to sling the mud. I have received confirmation that at least the mature residents on the street will not be participating in her rant sessions. 🙂 I actually laughed out loud to her comment implying “we” would plan another meeting. Or the statement that implies that she could organize or even make a political forum between Crowder and Smith happen. The “Lorimer Road Raleigh” Facebook page will be changed from closed group to a public group this evening so evidence of angst and motivations can be recorded. They may want to watch their tongues. I already have evidence of a threatening remark from Dave [Simonton] toward my sister and I that he thinks he deleted. If they are not able to contain their hatred then restraining orders may be needed. Once again…all of the sane neighbors on Lorimer Rd. thank you for all of your support and hard work! I for one, am a fan!”

—Donna Burford

 

[NOTE: Donna Burford, the Lorimer Road petitioner, now works for Kay Crowder. Donna’s sister, Sharon Mixon, the person who wanted a sidewalk in the first place, is grateful for Crowder’s help with this process as well. Both Donna and Sharon are Friends with Kay on Facebook. ]

The 1200 Block of Lorimer Rd (North)

 

n-lorimer-II.jpg

On December 1, 2015, a second citizen’s petition was submitted to the Raleigh City Council requesting that the 1200 block of Lorimer Road (above) be removed from the original petition/project.

This petition read:

We, the undersigned property owners of the 1200 block of Lorimer Road, petition the City of Raleigh to remove our block from Resolution (2015) 141, as our block was included in a Property Owner Initiative Petition begun in May 2014 for road construction without our knowledge and without our consent by someone who is not a property owner. We request the opportunity to educate ourselves and learn more about improvement options included in the City of Raleigh Street and Sidewalk Improvement Policy [PDF] as well as the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, so that we may submit our own petition which more accurately reflects the true will of the property owners.

The petition was signed by 10 of the 14 property owners who live on this block. And yet, despite a request by 71% of residents, City Council members rejected the request although the petition document itself states that parts of streets (as opposed to whole streets, as the original petition called for) can be improved:

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 1.31.10 PM.png

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from Facebook:

Shannon BellezzaBut the vocal minority is the majority on your block. Why wasn’t the petition redrawn to exempt the 1200 block?

Like · 1 · September 9, 2015 at 3:30pm · Edited

 

Sharon Moll MixonWhy wasn’t the petition withdrawn to exempt the 1200 block of Lorimer Road? Because no one asked us to do that*. I never received one phone call, text message, or knock on my door. The only correspondence that Donna got was from Jan that CC’d her on a letter. I was taking her concerns to heart by asking the City Council to consider putting the sidewalk on the east side instead of the west side.

Like · September 10, 2015 at 2:44am

 

Sharon Moll MixonWe had the petition in hand until the deadline that it needed to be submitted**. Even after we submitted it there may have been a chance of talking to Kay Crowder with whatever compromise the 1200 block would come up with***. Standing in front of the City Council as a United neighborhood would have gone a lot further in my opinion.

Like · September 10, 2015 at 2:52am

When 1200-block residents did ask, formally, by submitting their own petition to the City Council, the request was rejected.
** In fact, the petition was turned in to the Public Works Department on May 4, 2015, two weeks before it was due.
*** When Kay Crowder was asked directly by a resident at an October 2015 Neighborhood Meeting, “Why didn’t the Council consider splitting out the north end of Lorimer from the petition?” Mrs. Crowder’s (non-)answer was: “The City wants to do whole streets, whole sections at once. Microgaps, where sidewalks stop in the middle of the block, are only trouble to fix later. The City is trying to fix existing ones, and not create any more.” —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.”

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Affidavit of Carolyn Parker

NOTE:  The original signed and notarized Affidavit is housed in the Office of the City Clerk, City of Raleigh. It is dated January 27, 2016.

.  .  .  .  .  .

State of North Carolina
County of Wake
BEFORE ME, the undersigned Notary, ______________________________________________ , on this ___________ day of January, 2016, personally appeared Carolyn Parker, known to me to be a credible person and of lawful age, who being by me first duly sworn, on her oath, deposes and says:

Regarding Street Improvement Petition #1351 – Lorimer Road

Because the changes will impact the usefulness of the frontage I now enjoy, and cost me a substantial amount of money, I believe I had the right to have information about this Petition provided me in a timely manner. I believe I had a right to have a Petition document state clearly the dimensions of sidewalk, setback, and easements etc. required for the project so that an average citizen could see clearly how the project might affect themselves and their neighbors.

I further believe I had a right to transparency in the process and a right to fair play. As one example: There is a small key on the Petition map page. If I read it correctly it states that a number of property owners face no assessment for this project. Yet, in the Petition process designed by the City, their vote counts the same as mine or other property owners who face assessment (one of my neighbors will have to pay more than $10,000). All of the property owners facing no assessment voted for the Petition.

I believe I had a right to be afforded a true forum with my neighbors – where you are provided correct information about the specifics of a project and the specifics of the Petition process before hand – so that you can come together to discuss diverse ideas and to develop expansive thinking.

As it turns out I was kept in the dark for 4 ½ months and given misinformation by the Petitioner.

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Sharon Mixon Email to Neighbors (11/29/2015)

From: Sharon Mixon
To: Erin Salmon, et al
Date: November 29, 2015,12:13 am
Subject: Voting on the neighborhood name
I think we can all agree that whatever is decided for this neighborhood registry, it will affect all of the neighbors in the area delineated.  For a couple of months now, I have been struggling with how many neighbors gathering at a meeting should make a quorum? Going door to door gives a ground-level view of opinions.
Each of the last two meetings were 2 1/2 hours long, and the subject of the name was tabled both times. These meetings are an investment of our time. In order to move forward at this point, we need information from the neighborhood, and I think we should have as many neighbors’ opinions as we can get involved. The polling that I have done provides us information about what people who have not come to the meetings are thinking.  I think there is a good bit of value in that for both the neighborhood and for our progress at the next meeting.
As an example, one of our neighbors, Dee Jett, suggested the name Oak Hills, and others I spoke to were excited about that. Dee is one of the people that is not interested in going to an evening meeting, but I think her voice and many others should be heard.
Your Neighbor,
Sharon Mixon

Resident Concerns

Sharon Moll Mixon created a poll, September 12, 2015:

Resident Concerns.png

Comments:

Don Munn Thank you for asking. I actually started a document in the files area, but I’ll gladly transfer my info to the question provided… Perhaps we should not leave it to chance, I’ll add a “None” to make sure everyone gets counted if possible….

Like · September 12, 2015 at 12:29am · Edited

Erin Salmon Thank you, Sharon for doing this.

Like · September 12, 2015 at 1:01am

Erin Salmon In my list of bullet points, I also had: 1)increase in crime with increased foot traffic; 2)pedestrian AND cyclist safety; 3) pros/cons of minor residential road vs. residential road designation, 4) bus stop location

Like · September 12, 2015 at 1:21am

Sam Bellezza I am not sure that sidewalks will bring in increase in foot traffic or crime.

Like · 1 · September 12, 2015 at 7:47am

Erin Salmon I don’t know either. I have been in touch with two of our local police officers, Officer Hathaway and Officer Clarke, to find out more about the level of crime in our neighborhood in order to have some assessments.

Like · September 12, 2015 at 1:38pm