East CAC August 2009 draft meeting minutes

East CAC Meeting Minutes
August 2009
Submitted by Secretary Sue Sturgis

Chair Mark Turner called the August meeting of Raleigh’s East Citizens Advisory Council to order shortly after 7 p.m. on Monday, August 17 at Lions Park Community Center. There were about 30 people in attendance throughout the evening. The July minutes were approved.

OPENING ANNOUNCEMENTS: The CAC’s Outreach, Planning and Economic Development Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14 at the Lions Park center to discuss rezoning case Z-18-09 involving the Longview Grocery at 2405 Poole Road at Norwood with developer Daniel Coleman.

This involves a rezoning from Residential-6, which the city imposed on the store when it annexed the area in 1948, to Shopping Center-Conditional Use, with conditions including no convenience store, auto facility or drive-through restaurant. (For more details on the case and possible conditions, see the March minutes at http://www.eastraleigh.org/?p=147 and the June minutes at http://www.eastraleigh.org/?p=190.) A public hearing is scheduled for October 21 before a joint panel of the City Council and Planning Commission.

In good news from around the East CAC:

* Residents observed National Night Out on August 4, keeping watch over their neighborhoods and putting their porch lights on in a show of community solidarity against crime.

* Mark shared a letter from the management of Raleigh North Apartments about efforts to improve security, which include issuing five evictions for lease violations with seven other evictions pending. They have created a log to monitor trespassing problems and will issue parking stickers and tow vehicles without them.

* The community watch meeting for Lions Park South on July 29 was a success. Folks are sorting through the contact information now and will be setting up an e-mail list.

* Lions Park hosted the Capital City BMX competition last weekend, drawing more than 2,000 people from at least 35 states. It was a big success and brought the park much-deserved recognition.

PARKS AND RECREATION REPORT: Christy Jones of Lions Park reported that the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is now on Twitter, a website that allows users to send short electronic messages and updates. You can find the department’s “tweets” at www.twitter.com/RaleighParks.

Football is in full swing and cheerleading is about to get underway, which means the parking lots will be full. Registration is still open for adult baseball and dodge ball, and senior groups are getting ready to start soon.

In October refurbishments are set to get underway at Lions Park. Projects planned include new blinds and windows and repairing damaged floors inside the center, with landscaping improvements outside.

POLICE REPORT: Officer Kryskowiak reported that the city just got four new community officers, which should help boost community policing efforts.

In news from the crime front, police apprehended a man carrying a gun and more than 20 bags of marijuana at the Food Lion Shopping Center on Raleigh Boulevard, along with another man who was carrying 10 bags of marijuana. The police say both are known gang members and were hanging out at a clothing store where a raid recently turned up $20,000-worth of counterfeit merchandise.

York Properties is supposed to take over management of the Food Lion complex, which has been in limbo since its former owner was arrested for banking fraud and went into bankruptcy. Once the management deal is finalized, the police plan to intensify trespassing enforcement.

Officer Kryskowiak said we should know soon where in the shopping center the police are opening a local office. He said the office probably would not be inside the freestanding building that was formerly a shoe store, but rather in one of the storefronts near the grocery store.

Speaking of the Food Lion shopping center, Officer Kryskowiak noted that Lam’s Garden Chinese restaurant has been the frequent target of robberies recently. Police suspect the same people are robbing the business repeatedly, but officers have had a hard time getting the ownership to become more safety-conscious. For instance, the restaurant often leaves the back door unlocked, which makes it more vulnerable to crime.

The police have made speed enforcement a priority in the area recently, with more than 100 speeding tickets issued in the past month in the area south of Lions Park bounded by Glascock Street, Raleigh Boulevard, Milburnie Road and Bennett Street. Thefts from motor vehicles are down, which means owners are being more careful about hiding their stuff. The department is also making progress in its effort to make drug buys and target dealers. However, police are having little success targeting prostitution in Lions Park.

Regarding the earlier discussion about improved security efforts at Raleigh North, Officer Kryskowiak noted the parking sticker program there would help give police probable cause for stopping people who don’t have proper permits. He said people who aren’t residents are behind many of the problems.

There’s been a problem recently with robberies on Colleton Road, and residents also have concerns about excessively loud sound system in cars. Officer Kryskowiak reported that the police can cite car owners for noise ordinance violations and asked residents to report them to 911. Another Colleton Road resident reported problems with a neighbor throwing loud, late-night parties; at the last one a guest stepped outside and fired off seven bullets. Officer Kryskowiak took the address and said officers would look into it.

OUTREACH, PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE REPORT: Committee Chair Bobby Poole reported that at their meeting the previous week, OPED members met with a representative of the city’s Planning Department to discuss plans for Capital Boulevard and New Bern Avenue.

The plan recognizes that the Capital Boulevard corridor is in dire need of revitalization, with New Bern Avenue in not quite as bad shape. Once the council adopts the plan, which is expected to happen in September, it will prioritize areas in need of attention. More discussions are planned to better understand what the plan holds for the East CAC area.

IDEAS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: Mark led a discussion about topics for upcoming East CAC meetings. Among the ideas mentioned:

* Alternative energy financial incentives. Mark suggested having someone from the N.C. State Solar Center discuss available incentives for installation of solar panels and other forms of sustainable energy.

* Car-sharing.

* Community gardens. It was noted that neighborhood improvement matching grants could be used for this.

* Gang prevention. Perhaps the Wake County Gang Prevention Partnership could make a presentation about this.

* Recruiting a business for the old Winn-Dixie store at Longview Shopping Center.

* Volunteer opportunities at Powell Elementary School.

* City loan programs.

* Composting.

If folks have other ideas, please send them to Mark at cac-chair at eastraleigh dot org.

CLOSING ANNOUNCEMENTS: Charlene Willard of the city’s Community Services Department reported that the Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange is set to take place on Saturday, September 19 at the MacKimmon Center at Western Boulevard and Gorman Street. Admission to the one-day program is $10, and among the workshops being offered is one on community gardens.

Charlene also noted that the Raleigh Neighborhood College begins classes soon. A city program designed to help citizens better understand how local government operates, it meets weekly from September 10 through December 10 at Peace College. Applications are still being accepted.

Finally, Mark mentioned that in light of concerns about speeding in the Belvidere Park/Woodcrest neighborhoods, residents are discussing moving to a 25 mile-per-hour speed limit. In order to do that, they need to petition the city, and there’s a link to a petition form on the CAC’s website at www.eastraleigh.org.

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