7/7 meetings summary: delivering campaign promises
I write these updates after every meeting, but this post is especially fun to write because at our meetings yesterday, July 7, we acted on several big issues that were important to my campaign and my service. Below is a summary:
1. We approved Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by right, citywide. ADUs are self-contained, separate dwelling units located on the same lot as the principal dwelling unit. They are typically located above a garage, in a basement, or in a small detached structure. This change allows individual property owners to decide if an ADU is appropriate on their property and allows them to rent the ADU if they decide. Allowing ADUs is a big step towards diversifying and expanding housing options in our city.
This ADU vote is especially meaningful to me. Years ago I graduated law school and looked for a place to live near work, downtown. I struggled to find something I could afford. I looked for a garage or basement apartment to rent but there were no options. Many of my friends at the time were renting these types of apartments in other cities, and I knew they were more affordable. Raleigh has finally taken a step in the right direction.
2. We eliminated minimum parking requirements downtown and along transit corridors (within transit overlay districts). We also reduced parking requirements for multi-unit living citywide. This change will make building housing less expensive, and it’s a huge leap towards building a denser, more walkable, less car dependent city, especially in our urban core.
3. We voted to allow cottage courts in more residential zoning districts (functionally, citywide) and doubled the maximum number of dwelling units in a cottage court. A cottage court is a collection of smaller homes that face inward, typically around a common green space or courtyard. They provide more density and affordability and are considered some of the “missing middle” housing.
4. We voted to proceed with the November 2020 affordable housing bond referendum in the amount of $80 million. The bond funds will be used for home rehabilitation assistance, down payment assistance, land acquisition near transit to provide affordable housing, public/private partnerships, and gap financing for low income housing tax credit projects. At our next meeting, we will be reviewing specific policy options for producing more units affordable at 30% AMI (area median income).
5. We sent a letter to our state government indicating our support for additional transparency, oversight, and power for our police advisory board, and we added this issue to our legislative priority agenda for 2021. Our current police advisory board is tasked with reviewing policy and contributing to fair policy development, which is important. But it lacks the ability to provide transparency and oversight, and notably it lacks subpoena power. Our ability to grant additional authority is limited by state law. I felt it was important in this moment to indicate that Raleigh will work toward a true community oversight board if granted the authority.
I campaigned, heavily, on all of these issues and advocated hard for these changes during the first 6 months of my term. Though the past several months have been challenging in ways I never expected, it feels very good to accomplish these goals. More work ahead, and I’m committed to it.
We have a special meeting next Tuesday, July 14 to appoint the District D council seat. After that meeting, council is on break until August 18.
Thank you for reading. As always, please contact me with questions or concerns: firstname.lastname@example.org