March 2010 East CAC Draft Minutes

East CAC Meeting Minutes
March 2010
Submitted by Secretary Sue Sturgis

Chairman Mark Turner called the meeting of the East CAC to order shortly after 7 p.m. on Monday, March 15 at Lions Park Community Center. There were about 65 people in attendance, with about a dozen attending for the first time. The meeting was recorded, and the audio will be available at The February minutes were approved.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Lions Park playground community build will be held on Saturday, May 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. People have to be at least 18 years old to participate. For details on how to participate, contact Cindy Trumbower, the Parks and Recreation volunteer coordinator, at 996-3292.

Mark also noted that Census forms would be landing soon in people’s mailboxes—please fill them out and ask your neighbors to do likewise.

Charlene Willard of the Raleigh Community Services Department reported that in response to safety concerns raised by the East CAC, the city studied the intersection of Glascock and Bennett streets. One possibility that had been raised was installing traffic mirrors; however, the city doesn’t like them because they don’t show true vehicular distance and speed, and raise liability issues. But in order to improve visibility at the intersection, the city has asked property owners to trim some trees.

POLICE REPORT: Officer Kryskowiak handed out a crime report that covered the period from Feb. 15 to March 14. While there was a relatively high number of aggravated assaults, only two of them were not domestic in nature. He also noted two burglaries—one on Brookside Drive, and one on Glascock Street where a neighbor saw the suspects entering and called police.

In some good news from the policing front, Messiah Fashions—the store in the Food Lion Shopping Center where there have been problems with drug and gang activity as well as counterfeit merchandise—is being evicted. In addition, the department expects to receive federal funding that will go toward policing efforts including surveillance cameras in the Glascock Street/Raleigh Boulevard area.

Officer Kryskowiak reminded East CAC residents to send him information regarding suspected drug houses. He asked for as much information as residents could provide, including the address, foot and vehicular traffic patterns, etc.

A concern was raised about the fact that Raleigh City Council is considering cutting funding for the graffiti removal team. Officer Kryskowiak said he thinks that would be a mistake. He also reported that he recently took a course in understanding gang graffiti and said it communicates a lot of information, including the activity engaged in, drugs sold, etc.

RPD will be offering summer youth programs and is looking for volunteers and resources to help keep kids off the streets. For more details or to get involved, e-mail him at james [dot] kryskowiak [at] ci [dot] raleigh [dot] nc [dot] us.

PARKS AND RECREATION REPORT: Jason Clemons, assistant director at Lions Park, reported that summer camp registration is underway, with walk-in registration set to begin April 13.

He reported that the Laurel Hills playground at 3808 Edwards Mill Road is undergoing renovations, and there will be an opportunity for citizens to give their input. For details, keep an eye on the Parks and Rec website at

Bark Around the Park, an annual event that gives local dog nonprofits and rescue groups an opportunity to share information with the public, is set for Saturday, April 17 from noon to 4 p.m. at Millbrook Exchange Park, 1905 Spring Forest Road. (The rain date is Sunday, April 18.) The event also includes vendors, contests, and microchip and rabies clinics. For more information, visit the website at

Spring Fest is set for Saturday, April 24 at the Chavis Community Center at 505 MLK Jr. Blvd. on Saturday April 24 from noon to 4 p.m. Offerings include entertainment, rides, vendors, displays and food.

PRESENTATION ON UPCOMING CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS: Raleigh Planning Director Mitch Silver addressed the meeting about upcoming plans for the Capital Boulevard and New Bern Avenue corridors, both in the East CAC. He opened by noting that the city is updating its development code; for more information on that, visit

The city’s recent comprehensive planning process identified projects that the city will be implementing over the next 20 years, and two of the projects that are on the top of the to-do list are improvements to Capital Boulevard from Lane Street to the Beltline, and New Bern Avenue from downtown to WakeMed.

Mr. Silver noted that while Capital Boulevard is a gateway street for the city, it’s an embarrassment for some of us. As part of the planning process for improvements, the city will launch a series of design workshops beginning in May, in which designers will work with neighborhood groups on what they’d like to see. Some of the hoped-for improvements include a greenway, bike path, walking trail along Pigeon House Creek. Trolleys are another possibility for the corridor. The hope is to create a real neighborhood along Capital Boulevard.

Three CACs will be involved in giving input on the New Bern Avenue improvements, and planners have already met with the North Central CAC. This project will be done in phases, with one near downtown, one from Swain Street to Raleigh Boulevard and the other from Raleigh Boulevard to WakeMed, which is the East CAC portion.

Among the concerns raised by the North Central CAC were public safety, beautification and enhancing the area’s cultural identity. The city is also looking at the possibility of transit improvements including light rail and bus rapid transit, since WakeMed is among the city’s top transportation points.

At that point Mr. Silver invited discussion. Among the issues raised:

* It would be good to have curbs and sidewalks on both sides of New Bern Avenue.
* Someone noted that the median along New Bern was actually a nice feature—would the transit go there? Mr. Silver said a possibility would be adding another lane to the street.
* Can the city do anything to encourage more retail near the hospital? Mr. Silver said there’s not a lot the city can do other than making sure zoning allows for retail.
* A question was raised about whether the city could buy and develop the Longview and Tower shopping centers into destinations with retail and restaurants. Mr. Silver noted that cities that have economic development authorities can buy, develop and sell places like that, but Raleigh doesn’t have one. While the city can work with private owners, it does not typically purchase and develop land.
* A concern was expressed about the number of access points to shopping centers along New Bern. Mr. Silver said there are no plans to relocate any businesses. He also pointed out that since New Bern Avenue is a state road, North Carolina controls access points.
* Given that we’re in an economic downturn, what commercial partners does the city have for these projects? Is there commercial interest in revamping these areas? Mr. Silver said that while there might not be interest now, there would be over the next 20 years. By putting a plan in place, the city would be positioned for when the economy rebounds.
* Another question was raised about the possibility of using tax-increment financing to pay for improvements along the corridors. TIF is typically used to improve blighted areas by using future gains in taxes to finance current improvements, essentially by borrowing against future property tax revenues. Mr. Silver observed that the city has historically been reluctant to use TIF.
* Is there a plan to connect the Crabtree Creek greenway—which now dead-ends near the hospital—to New Bern Avenue? Mr. Silver said he would check into this.
* In response to a question about how soon we might see improvements, Mr. Silver said that, due to the current fiscal situation, the city is deferring capital budgets again to avoid a tax increase. That means we will be unlikely to see significant changes over the next four or five years.
* Will the rich history of New Bern Avenue and Longview Acres be considered in the planning? Absolutely, said Mr. Silver.
* There’s concern about the proliferation of fast food restaurants on New Bern Avenue. Mr. Silver noted that the North Central CAC raised this same concern.
* It was noted that public safety should be taken into account in New Bern Avenue’s development, and Mr. Silver said that city planners would reach out to public safety professionals for guidance.
* Mr. Silver noted that the New Bern redevelopment would be difficult. However, he noted that public investment can transform a corridor, and he pointed to Fayetteville Street and Glenwood Avenue as examples.
* Someone asked whether Raleigh would establish an economic development department. Mr. Silver said the city tried to move in that direction but then ran into budget difficulties.
* It was noted that the speed limit east of Raleigh Boulevard on New Bern rises to 45 mph, and perhaps that should be lowered. Mr. Silver said the city could have a conversation with the state about whether it would be willing to change that.
* Concerns were raised about the direction the Wake County school board is taking, and how that will affect the neighborhoods near the revitalization areas. Will people still be willing to move into neighborhoods in transition, and is there anything we as citizens can do to keep our neighborhoods growing in a positive direction? Mr. Silver said that if the board moves to end the current diversity policy, it would have implications for neighborhoods, and that the city would look at the potential impact.
* Someone wondered whether it might be possible to relocate the public library on New Bern Avenue into the Longview Shopping Center. Mr. Silver said he didn’t think so, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Mr. Silver noted that the comprehensive plan tries to encourage the city’s anticipated growth of 120,000 new households over the next 20 years inside the Beltline. The plan identifies eight growth centers, including downtown and the WakeMed area. Given the scope of the growth expected, the city simply can’t develop at four or six units an acre—it will have to grow more densely than that.

The Planning Department will continue to work through the CAC to get information out about the planning process, because it does want citizen involvement.

OUTREACH, PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE REPORT: Committee Chair Bobby Poole noted that the committee is now being split up into separate committees—1) Outreach, 2) Economic Development, and 3) Planning and Zoning.

Keith Emrick will be heading up the Economic Development Committee; anyone interested in getting involved should let him know. And those interested in Outreach should tell Charlene Willard; among the projects they’ll be looking at are creating a newcomers package to welcome and inform new residents, and a CAC calendar.

Charlene also reminded folks that Neighborhood Improvement Matching Grants are currently available but will expire June 30. Things might be tight next fiscal year, so this would be the time to pursue the money.

Finally Rebecca Fernandez of Brighton Road noted that if the Wake School Board goes to a neighborhood school plan, Powell Elementary on Marlborough Road would be the highest poverty school in the county, with 90 percent of the students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. She asked if there was any way for the CAC to get involved. Mark Turner encouraged people to make their concerns known to the school board.

The meeting adjourned shortly after 8:30 p.m. Next month’s meeting will take place at Lions Park on April 19.

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