One advantage of a slowdown in development proposals in a tough economy: plenty of time to tackle UDO text amendments. There's six, count 'em, six on the docket today.
We've talked here before about a change to the rules for bars and nightclubs in the downtown tier that would allow them to be closer to churches and places of worship. Planning Commission member Ben Greene (who occasionally leaves insightful and thoughtful comments here at BCR) noted in an email to the ABCDurham listserv that he believes Eddie Belk, the applicant on this item, is working on the Heritage Square redevelopment.
This change makes sense in that context given the proximity of churches near the current retail site.
Greene also notes that no potentially-affected churches have expressed any opposition, and that Raleigh's planning departmented "contacted us to express support."
The other five UDO amendments items up for today's docket include:
A change that would require a minor special use permit for hotels, motels and extended stay residences adjacent to, including across the street from, residential districts or uses, absent an approved development plan. This would be a change from today's requirement that the parcel just needs to have access from a major or minor thoroughfare and seems relevant given the struggles over the hotel planned for the old hospital site at the south end of Trinity Park.
Significant changes to the rules on conservation subdivisions. These changes would require pre-application conferences with City/County Planning and with nearby neighbors; increase the amount of open space from 40% to 50% with clustered density for the developed area; tougher standards for spray irrigation use in such neighborhoods. Mass grading would also be prohibited in these developments unless they're on public water/sewer or build their own treatment plants -- a step to reduce the impact of runoff in conservation subdivisions, which are intended for ecologically sensitive areas. Open space will also have to be held by the HOA, dedicated to the public or a non-profit under the changes. Manmade stormwater facilities will be excluded from open space calculations as well unless all primary and secondary conservation options are exhausted.
Changes to the Industrial Light zoning within compact neighborhood tiers, allowing higher maximum heights by right in keeping with the goal of allowing denser, transit-oriented development in these districts. This would allow a maximum height of 145' for IL-zoned properties within the compact tier -- something office-institutional and commercial general zoning already allow. IL would be subject to the same restrictions on height of structures near residential properties.
Allowing carnivals to be open until 11 pm, not 10pm, on Friday and Saturday nights. Hey, who doesn't love a carnival?
Allowing City/County Planning to send notifications of development applications and text amendments by email instead of first-class mail, if the organizations receiving such notices so desire.