Draft minutes of the April 2009 East CAC meeting

East CAC Meeting Minutes
April 2009
Submitted by Secretary Sue Sturgis

The monthly meeting of the East CAC opened at 7:05 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2009 at Lion’s Park Community Center, with 51 people attending throughout the evening. Chair Mark Turner opened with announcements, noting the birth three weeks ago of a baby boy to the area’s community policeman, Officer Kryskowiak, and his wife. Turner also reported that a recent trash cleanup in the north part of the CAC was a success, with car tires, a rusty bike and two couches among the items removed, and participants enjoying snacks courtesy of the City of Raleigh Community Services Department and Dunkin Donuts. In May there will another cleanup of the stream area along Brookside Drive in cooperation with the Mordecai CAC, with more information to come.

It was also announced that a petition would be presented to City Council on April 21 on behalf of Enloe and all city high schools to boost the number of police officers in those facilities. Currently all the schools have one officer, but concerned parents are asking for one officer per 1,000 students. It was noted that intensified policing has made a positive difference around Enloe, which has been experiencing problems with gang activity and robberies of students and staff.

At 7:10 p.m., the CAC held an election for vice chair to replace Andrew LeLiever, who resigned due to time constraints. The self-nominated candidates were Pamela Singleton, a community development officer with SunTrust Bank who lives in the neighborhood and wants to help out, and Van Alston, who owns two local businesses—Mojoe’s Burger Joint on Glenwood South and Slim’s Downtown Distillery on Wilmington Street—and has lived on Donald Ross Drive since 1995. The vote was 16-10 for Alston.

At 7:13 Officer Kryskowiak delivered his police report. No particular crime patterns stood out this month, though there have been lots of larcenies from motor vehicles, especially of GPS devices. Remember to lock your car. There were also a number of aggravated assaults, many of them domestic-related or connected to Club Black Tie on New Bern Avenue. Police have plans to target an open-air drug market at the Maxway store at 1905 Poole Road and hope to bring federal charges against suspects.

A question arose about the March 26 shooting at Colleton and Bertie, where a man and a woman were reportedly hit in the legs by shots fired from a passing vehicle. Because the report provided to Kryskowiak by the police department did not have information about the incident, he said he’d report back at the next meeting. According to the News & Observer, police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 996-3555.

Other items discussed:

* Police reports currently do not include information about incidents in the known trouble spot around the Milner Inn on Capital Boulevard. It would be helpful for Belvidere Park residents to have that information.

* Noting that arrestees often return to the streets quickly, someone asked who sets bonds. Kryskowiak said they’re the sole responsibility of the magistrates.

* Someone reported what appears to be gang graffiti on a fence on King Charles Road and was encouraged to call the city’s graffiti hotline at 996-6001.

* Kryskowiak reported that a suspicious person call to police recently resulted the arrest of someone holding 10 Baggies of marijuana on Marlborough Road.

* Responding to concerns about police staffing, Kryskowiak said the area is slated to get more officers, with an effort underway to boost officer presence in areas with crime problems. Noting that one barrier to hiring more police is Raleigh’s relatively low salary compared to nearby towns such as Holly Springs, Kryskowiak brought up the idea of holding a policemen’s ball-type fundraiser to augment officers’ pay.

* Kryskowiak has been offered spots for his new office at the Raleigh North Apartments as well as the shuttered shoe store at the Food Lion shopping center, both of which are in the vicinity of Raleigh Boulevard and Glascock Street. He’ll let us know when the decision’s made.

* Kryskowiak said he’d look into reported problems with fishermen trespassing at Longview Lake.

* Chairman Turner noted that interested area adults (18+) are welcome to participate in the police department’s ride-along program and should contact him for details.

* Officer Kryskowiak’s e-mail is james dot kryskowiak at ci dot raleigh dot nc dot us. His phone number is 524-7468 but should not be used for emergency matters.

At 7:50 came the Lions Park Community Center report. Christie Jones reported that Director Mark Wilson resigned, so she will be the East CAC’s new liaison. Other items mentioned:

* Lake Johnson, Shelley Lake and Lake Wheeler are getting ready for their summer program offerings.

* Raleigh Parks & Rec has a corporate program that facilitates events like company picnics; for more information, call Allison Jones at 996-4818.

* Mordecai Historic Park will hold its “Blast From the Past” free family day on Saturday, May 16, with food, music, performers, vendors and Civil War re-enactors; for more information call 857-4364.

* A reminder that the Lions Park weight room is open Mondays through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. and is available to the public for a $12 monthly membership fee. Citywide facility memberships are also available; check with staff for details.

At 7:56 p.m. City Services Liaison Charlene Willard reported briefly on a proposal to create CAC planning committees. She is seeking to develop contacts in all the neighborhoods throughout the CAC and asked for people’s participation. She also called for nominations for the newsletter’s neighbor of the month feature.

At 8 p.m. the CAC once again discussed zoning case Z-15-09 on Donald Ross Drive, the proposal to build six single-family homes on a double lot owned by the Grady family, where one house now stands. The proposal requires an exemption to a conservation-overlay district that limits the area to one home per lot in order to preserve the neighborhood’s character.

The latest proposal put forth by developer Tommy Oates calls for four 1,500-square-foot homes facing Donald Ross Drive, with two slightly larger houses behind them to be developed later. The Gradys say they’re trying to do something they’ll be proud of and to bring new direction to a street that needs it.

But CAC resident Matt Leary, who was involved in the creation of the overlay district, noted that this was the exact kind of thing they intended to prevent—the subdivision of existing lots. He also noted that the property in the area has been undervalued, so residents should probably brace for more proposals like this.

At 8:20, the CAC moved on to discuss zoning case Z-16-09 on New Bern Avenue at Bertie Drive, involving the previously discussed request from attorney Annette Exum to convert a house she now owns that’s zoned residential to Office & Institutional in order to bring her existing law office into compliance with zoning requirements.

Exum promised that she would keep the property looking like a residence as it now does. But CAC members expressed concerns about what could happen in the future if she sells, since the new O&I zoning would be remain in place. They also expressed concerns about a domino effect, with other residential properties seeking similar changes. In the end the CAC voted against the rezoning 15 to 7.

At 8:40 p.m., Chair Mark Turner opened a preliminary discussion about economic development in the East CAC. Concerned that the CAC only says “no” to proposed commercial projects, he wanted to get a sense of what people want in. Some of the things mentioned were non-fast food restaurants, a safe place to stop for gas, and a drug store in the area around the Food Lion shopping center at Raleigh Boulevard and Glascock Street.

There was also a discussion about the commercial corridor on Capital Boulevard near Belvidere Park that is now home to less-than-desirable businesses including a crime-plagued motel, a strip club and pornography stores. It was noted that the new Comprehensive Plan proposal calls for improvements in the area but gives no timeline. It was also noted that the fact that the area is so prone to flooding is probably discouraging quality businesses and that un-development of the area might be in order; in fact, the Comp Plan does call for eventually turning the Milner Inn property into open green space.

The suggestion was made that the best way to change the character of the area in question would be to talk with large commercial developers and tell them what the community wants, backed up by supporting economic and demographic analyses.

People interested in continuing this discussion are invited to join the East CAC’s new economic development committee. Contact Mark Turner for details at cac-chair at eastraleigh dot org.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Comments are closed.