We had our first City Council meeting of the new year (new decade!) yesterday, and we got a lot done, including:
1) We adopted new rules of decorum and procedures for public comment. Council Member Patrick Buffkin and I spent considerable time over the break researching and developing these new rules with the assistance of the City Attorney, City Clerk, and City Manager. Of note, we eliminated the 2 week advance sign up requirement (you can now sign up from the moment the prior meeting ends until 1 hour prior to the next meeting) and we made it easier to appear before council to express concerns. You can review the new rules and procedures here;
2) During the “Reports from Council” portion of our agenda, I asked for a work session on greenways with both parks and transit staff. It’s important that we shift how we view greenways from simply recreational amenities to transit options as well – including ways to minimize closures and find ways to connect them to our other transit systems;
3) We authorized text changes to remove minimum parking requirements within the Downtown Mixed Use District and to explore authorizing “cottage courts” in more residential zoning districts. I believe both changes would help increase our housing supply and create more housing affordability. Both issues will go to the Planning Commission and then will be set for a public hearing at a later date;
4) We denied a text change that would have made it more difficult to build new housing by reducing the number of buildable lots within the city. I want to make it easier to build housing, and it remains my goal for the city to look at allowing more housing options citywide in more residential zoning district;
5) We approved a text change that removes the height cap measurement for buildings 7 stories and above. Of similar cities, Raleigh was the only city that measured buildings by both stories and height. Removing this height requirement, and only measuring by stories, allows for more flexibility and will hopefully allow for more creative office building designs.
Our next regular meeting is January 21 at 1 p.m.; we have a work session next Tuesday at 4 p.m. Both are open to the public, as always.