Anyone else have a fast and full January? Below are a few Raleigh City Council highlights from the beginning of 2023. If you have a constituent need, please email email@example.com for assistance.
City Council Retreat
We had an information-filled 2-day retreat – an opportunity to learn about key staff initiatives and begin policy discussion on Council members’ priorities. We rode the train from Raleigh Union Station and visited an affordable housing development in downtown Durham. The meeting was live streamed and can be viewed at the City’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/cityofraleigh. Here I summarize a few of the topics covered.
- Affordable Housing (Housing & Neighborhoods Department presentation)
Raleigh’s affordable housing plan that was adopted in 2015 set a goal of 5,700 units over 10 years. The City has completed 1,605 units; there are 614 units under construction; and there are 1,895 units in pre-development for a total of 4,114 units. Planning & Development has implemented an expedited review process for affordable projects to speed up these projects.
The $80 million affordable housing bond passed by voters in 2020 has been instrumental in meeting our goals, contributing to site acquisition ($16M) like purchase of a historic apartment community with below market rents (Grosvenor Gardens); gap financing ($24M); public-private partnerships ($28M) like expansion of homeless shelter services for those in recovery (Healing Transitions); owner-occupied home rehab ($6M); and down payment assistance ($6M).
- Transit: Ridership vs coverage (Jarrett Walker)
We spoke with public transit consultant Jarrett Walker about setting transit goals and then selecting the tools to accomplish them, and NOT the other way around. He spoke about the need to be clear on our goals for ridership vs coverage – Is our goal to maximize the number of riders or to provide coverage to as many places as possible, or perhaps something in between? These different goals are best accomplished with different tools. For example bus rapid transit is intended to maximize ridership in denser areas of Raleigh. Alternatively, ride share services that bring residents to transit hubs help with coverage.
- Community Engagement (Office of Community Engagement presentation)
The City’s Office of Community Engagement and members of the Community Engagement Board presented us with a menu of options to “nurture a city-wide approach to community engagement that promotes radical inclusion through trust, transparency, and mutual respect.” I love their mission and am excited to move several of their menu items forward.
Raleigh already has numerous ways for residents to get involved: volunteer for a board or commission; sign up to be a community connector; provide public comment during City Council meetings; take part in the Raleigh Planning Academy or Raleigh Neighborhood College; and keep up with the City’s social media and website. I’ll be in touch as more opportunities become available.
Community Conversation and Input: Your voice matters.
Triangle Commuter Rail Study: What do you want to see for mass transit in the region? Check out the Triangle’s latest commuter rail study and take a survey to provide your input.
City of Raleigh Budget Survey: We are planning for the 2024 budget and you are essential to the process. Fill out a short survey with your budget ideas by February 28th. You can win a $50 gift card.
Missing Middle Conversations: A series of information sessions on recent zoning changes and housing types are being held in January and February. This is an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback that City staff and Council will review.
I plan to attend the District D Neighborhood Alliance meeting on Saturday, February 18th at 9:30 am at the Thomas Crowder Woodland Center. See you there?!?