June 2022 meetings summaries, update on social districts

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June was a busy month. I’m writing to provide a summary of our June 2022 regular City Council meetings as well as an update on social districts from the Economic Development and Innovation Meeting today.

1) We approved the FY23 budget. As a reminder, our fiscal year is July 1- June 30. The budget includes another year of fare free transit, increases in pay for city staff including police and fire, a Mobile Community Engagement bus that will allow us to better connect with areas of the city that are traditionally underrepresented, and a lot more. You can find more details here.

2) We approved a text change to expand live-work and to allow live-work in an accessory structure (ACU). Live-work was previously allowed in Raleigh through a more burdensome and expensive process. Making the process easier will reduce barriers, help small businesses, and increase access. Under these new rules, a simpler staff-issued permit is now only required instead for many home businesses, including: office, personal services (like tailor, hairdresser), graphic design, clothing production, artwork production, sale of certain items only when in conjunction with the production or repair of that item on site. Drive-thrus, outdoor seating, outdoor displays, large buses, trucks, vans, or trailers are prohibited. Hours are limited to 7 AM to 7 PM. 1 sign totaling 6 square feet is allowed. Lighting is regulated and full cutoff. Placing services closer to where people live was an important step in reducing car dependency and vehicle miles traveled.

3) We continued our efforts to leverage city-owned land for production of affordable housing. We entered into long-term land leases with Southeast Raleigh Promise for production of 27 affordable rental units on 10 city-owned lots. The affordable units will take advantage of our recent zoning reforms, and will be comprised of townhouses, duplexes, ADUs, and a few single family homes, with more than 1/3 of the units affordable at less than 30% AMI. We also moved an additional 5 city-owned lots into request for proposals for more units of affordable housing.

4) We received an update on efforts to increase and expand bus shelters and benches. The city is working to make sure that every bus stop with 10 boardings per day has a shelter. In addition, any bus stop near places like hospitals, clinics, parks, or affordable housing will have a shelter. For all others, the city has developed benches that are able to be installed on sidewalks or near the bus stop. About 20% of bus stops throughout the system handle 80% of the boardings. 15 shelters were constructed in 2021. For this upcoming year, 127 are in development. The city maintains an interactive map where you can track progress on this work: raleighnc.gov/busmap This is an issue I care about a lot that was largely ignored or not prioritized for a long time. We’re making progress and we can’t stop until it’s done and everyone has access to safe, reliable transit.

 

5) At the Economic Development and Innovation Committee meeting today, we approved the framework for a social district pilot as follows:
• Boundaries to include portions of Fayetteville Street District and City Market
• 11:00am – 10:00pm daily, 7 days per week
• Special Event Permit to supersede social district
• Effective date of August 15th

This matter will now appear on the July 5 City Council agenda for final approval by the full City Council.

Our next meetings are July 5 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

jonathan.melton@raleighnc.gov

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