Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Online Resources for Raleigh Residents

Raleigh continues to win awards for the quality of life and the best place to do just about anything, but one thing that gets overlooked is how savvy the City of Raleigh and Wake County are with online resources. As a Realtor, I'm constantly online looking for property information, and when I go to other counties I am always disappointed at how little they offer online. So I thought it was necessary to point out all the fabulous resources available to you, the Raleigh resident.  I already wrote about the Top 5 Apps for Raleigh, but many of these services are web-based and are just as helpful.

Citizen Advisory Council - Everyone in the City is assigned to a CAC. This group is your link to the city.  Do you know how often yours meets? Who your CAC leader is?  Look it up.

My Raleigh Subscriptions - Be notified when your CAC newsletter is available, when news alerts are sent, when roads will be closed, or select to be notified of multiple activities using MyRaleigh subscriptions.

TriangleWiki - Launched in March 2012, the TriangleWiki gives residents the real flavor of Raleigh's subculture, neighborhoods, restaurants, and more.

TransLoc - This app lets you see the CAT buses, Wolfline, and Triangle buses, in addition to Chapel Hill and Durham bus routes. Know when the bus is coming! Download here.

Crime Stats - Look up an area where you live now or where you're thinking of living to see the various reports. The legend on the right side of the page lets you filter the types of crime to view.

RTN - Maybe this is for the more serious municipal geeks in us, but if you can't make it to a City Council or Planning Commission meeting in person, you can watch it online! Also Channel 11 on your TV, but online you can watch a replay anytime and skip to the agenda item you are interested in hearing.

Real Estate Records - Wake county provides a lot of information on property.  Photos, sales, tax bill, deed history, and more. Look yourself up!

What did I miss? I'm sure there's even more out there. Share your favorite resources in the comment section.

Related to apps and online resources, if you think there are more ways that the City and County should be using technology to help citizens, attend CityCamp Raleigh 2012.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Infill Compatibility Standards

One of the great benefits of the DLA is being kept up to date on all the development activity. With so much going on all the time, and each project requiring so much reading and and in-depth review, one person simply can't do it all.  

Big thanks to Phil Poe who has spearheaded the UDO project. Specifically related to downtown and the immediate surrounding downtown neighborhoods, there is a section of the UDO that talks about infill and how it should be handled.  I recently received this email from Phil with a link to a petition. Take some time to read through this, as it will impact how our neighborhoods will look in the future. 
Before the economic downturn in 2008, many neighborhoods saw an extraordinary number of teardowns replaced with homes that were out of character with the rest of the neighborhood. Some additions to existing homes produced similar results.

The intent of the proposed UDO residential infill compatibility standards is to put rules in place that “accommodate and encourage compatible development in existing residential neighborhoods, while reinforcing the established character of the neighborhood and mitigating adverse impacts on adjacent homes.” The UDO draft document includes specific rules for street setbacks and the height and length of the sides of buildings. The details are available in Chapter 2: Residential Districts, pages 10 – 11.

To receive comparable protection today, neighborhoods are required to go through the laborious process of creating a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District (NCOD) or, if the neighborhood qualifies, a Historic Overlay District (HOD).

If you are concerned about preserving the character of your neighborhood and support more predictability in the City’s development regulations, it’s important that you engage yourself in this conversation. You can do this by attending Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting May 15 or by sending an e-mail to the Planning Commission. If it’s easier for you, you can send your comments to Christine Darges, Christine.Darges@raleighnc.gov. She will ensure your comments get delivered to the Planning Commission.
There is also an online petition that you can sign.