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Cameron Village Developments

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This site is just one block away from beautiful historic single-family homes that should be preserved.

No one here is saying we should tear down those homes. Nobody wants anyone to tear down those homes, they're quite wonderful and full of character.

13 stories and 290 units is too much ... The City can't say that a 13-story building is OK here, and the rest of the area is limited to 2 stories.

It is extremely doubtful you will see 10 stories, let alone 13 at this site. There's also a required setback so the sides of the building facing the outlying streets will be more in phase with the neighborhoods. The taller portion will be on the inside of Cameron Village. The 290 units is not that extreme and if anything will allow for more pedestrian traffic in the area, possibly allowing for businesses to stay open later in that area. Everything retail there tends to close early which is slightly aggravating when trying to do school, work, dinner, and then get errands in. Increased pedestrian traffic would be nice from a community perspective. Cameron Village is a shopping center, pedestrian traffic helps fuel it. Technically nobody is ever limited, you can always petition to have things changed. It happens all the time.

Clark Ave. to the west and Oberlin Rd. further north are two-lane roads with beautiful historic homes on both sides. These roads should not and cannot be widened.

Should and can are two different things here. Should Oberlin be widened? No, I really don't think Raleigh needs to keep widening roads all the time as much as they do. We need to start investing in alternate methods of transportation instead of every few years adding lanes (which is pretty much a temporary fix). Can Oberlin be widened? Sure it can. In fact if you drive the entire stretch of Oberlin from Hillsborough to Glenwood you'll notice that in roughly half of it there is enough space to do so without too much thought process. The Cameron Village area and near Wade already have two lanes each direction and some new developments/renovations have started setting the sidewalk/curbing back about the distance of a lane from Oberlin.

Examples:

- http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&hl...mp;t=h&z=19

- http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&hl...mp;t=h&z=19

It might be only a matter of time before this becomes prevalent enough where they go ahead and just make it four lanes wide down all Oberlin. That's really doubtful however especially with the new roundabout coming. Although that section of Oberlin is probably going to evolve a lot in the coming years. So who knows.

I don't want to see Oberlin widened as much as you do, Raleigh needs to stop putting so much money into widening roads and focus on our public transportation system. I'm just saying you can never rule anything out.

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Some facts per the staff report & comp plan on this case:

  • current & future (pending) zoning allows 40 to 80 base units/acre to a max of 320units/acre with performance standards
  • current zoning allows 50 ft in height at the street, with 1 ft increase per ft in lateral setback, but there is no height maximum(!)
  • the pending rezoning would allow a 68-ft height limit to a 40 ft setback from Oberlin Rd, then up to a max of 115ft; a 77-ft height limit up to a 20-ft setback from Clark, then up to a max of 124ft.
  • The existing Comp Plan (in the Wade-Oberlin Small Area Plan) specifies the Cameron Village area for "higher intensity uses"
  • The SAP also states that "the application of the UDGs is solely for the purpose of urban form and should not be applied to increase the practical densities achieved through existing zoning or to minimize the contextual protections afforded by existing zoning to adjacent properties."
  • The site is located within 210 feet of the Cameron Park National Register Historic District, 400 feet of the Maiden Lane National Register Historic District, and within 450 feet of the Isabelle Bowen Henderson House & Garden National Register Historic District. The latter is also designated a Raleigh Historic Landmark.

NOTE: The massing you see illustrated seems to depict the potential maximum allowable zoning on the site, so I think it is accurate. The only variance would be to build less than what is proposed here.

Upon close inspection of the adopted plans and the zoning/massing the Oberlin side seems reasonable to me, as adopted plans call for higher intensity development, urban form, mixing of uses, more pedestrian access, and it faces commercial uses on the opposite side--not residential (old 2-story offices next to the post office) so height should not be a major issue (current zoning has no limit). The rezoning would have a 40ft setback to reach the ultimate height of 115ft (or 10 stories) from the street level on that side. I'd rather have it be more like 60ft, but it's not critical to me, given surrounding uses.

The Clark side is a different matter. The grade drops off along Clark so the same zoning maximum elevation will be higher here than on Oberlin. That's why the max height is greater (124 vs 115) when measured against the street level. Also, the setback is only 20 ft from the street here. Across the street are suburban-style 1-story Sun Trust and Capital Bank branches, but the homes in CP are just behind the banks. Here, I think the proposed zoning is inappropriate for the context. Without the benefit of a full section or a massing model showing the neighborhood, my educated guess is that the buildings at Clark will overshadow the SF homes nearby.

I'd like to see a compromise to lower the max height from Clark to ~100ft, and the setback increased from Clark increased to at least 40ft, or an amount based on a view shed that ensures protection to the SF homes in CP. I don't have any problem with the ~6 story building facing the street--just the taller portion setback behind it.

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Its always a balance of allowing one thing in one place but not allowing the flood gates to be opened. The flat terrain and modern buildings along Oberlin from Clark north to Smallwood or even Bedford makes me want to see a more urbanized buildout along this stretch. I also have a personal distaste for stepped back buildings ala Paramount. I harp alot about pedestrian scale, but I like my urban lines to be clean too. I also like my tall buildings to sit on corners with shorter ones mid-block like Hargett between Salisbury and McDowell. Having prefaced with that, a more perfect CV would have a 6-8 story building here with 2-story stores pulled up to Clark heading east towards Woodburn and Smallwood/Clark. I do not think traffic will be an issue in the commuter sense...but living with more neighbors? Well, thats personal taste I suppose. I do think, though, that a stepped back 13 story building will be a bit of a monstrosity, but that just dovetails into my own preferences above. I believe the banks on Clark are enough of a buffer for whatever gets built, and Clark heading west is turning from student ghetto to expensive owner occupied rather nicely with the infills (behind Electric Co. e.g.)

Edited by Jones133

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While I am in favor of density, it is not an altar to be worshipped at. This site is just one block away from beautiful historic single-family homes that should be preserved. 13 stories and 290 units is too much. University Park and especially Cameron Park are among Raleigh's greatest treasures, and it is not in Raleigh's interest to threaten them. Clark Ave. to the west and Oberlin Rd. further north are two-lane roads with beautiful historic homes on both sides. These roads should not and cannot be widened. There are hundreds of sites inside the beltline on which a 13-story, 290- unit building would be appropriate; this is not one of them.

As rjgeary states, the issue is precedent. The City can't say that a 13-story building is OK here, and the rest of the area is limited to 2 stories.

The small-area plan was well thought out; it was adopted; it needs to be followed.

I would say Glenwood South in it current form offers more "harm" to Cameron Park than a 9-13 story building would. Myself have walked "fully wasted" through Cameron Park neighborhood at 2:00 in the morning with 7 other people. Not to mention Hillsbourgh Street between Players Retreat and St. Marys with the "persons" who habitate there now. Sorry, I don't see the point.

Edited by Subway Scoundrel

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Now here I must agree with the Gearian complaints about this one. I agree that the boilerplate language is an attempt to "wedge it up" on this property. The traffic system in the immediate neighborhood of Cameron cannot support the in and out traffic. While it is a departure from the North Raleigh School of Flat Earth Design, I would have to agree the spaciality of this project is tantamount to trying to play tennis on a ping-pong table.

(At this point everyone, throw your hands into the air, and repeat after me -- "There he goes again!")

Now you could do the same kind of project in essentially the same neighborhood, but it would have to bigger, and would have to draw on a functional mass transit corridor. The "Centrium" project that I alluded to years ago in the Transit blog, would fit into the Western Boulevard area, with the Centennial Campus street improvements thrown in -- provided it is supplemented by transit -- yet would be walkable, as many desire, from Cameron Village. The hurdle to that, of course (which to most readers seems to be the equivalent of slaying a fire-breathing dragon) is to tear the [email protected] prison out of DT Raleigh, and send it elsewhere. Hell, you could build a Pentagon City on that parcel, providing Cameron Park residents with the same benefits without destroying their neighborhood. (It's a six block walk down Ashe Ave. from Hillsborough folks. I used to walk it as a 7 year-old lad at the YMCA.) It backs up to a railroad track, the other side of which you will find commercial areas that would benefit as well, and a very tired stock of student slums. If there were anybody that had the gauche to oppose putting up towers on Central Prison, I'm sorry -- they need to be run back out to the sticks. That prison is a major embarrassment for your city! It needs to get gone, and quick.

I understand the logistics of negotiating the State out their prison. I do. But Raleigh is the State's capital, and I think most people in the State want a capital they can take pride in. I can understand the State wanting to protect its interests, as it does have a fiduciary responsibility to everyone in the State. I would like to think that any friction over such a project would be a function of that natural process. But if, as many of you insist, the State would balk at the attempt solely out of spite, then I think it would be time to put on the political brassknuckles, and gather up steam for Home Rule initiatives that I am sure Charlotte, the Triad, Wilmington, Fayetteville and others would be happy to support. The 2010 Census figures will be sufficient to scare the holy hell out of any "strawhat" gadflies. NC is not only more metropolitan now, but it is absolutely vital to the health of whole state that it keeps its cities competitive. But there is quite enough money to be made off of a project of the scale that I speak of that the State could duplicate a bigger, better, more efficient prison in another part of the State -- one that could really use the jobs. And at the same time bolster city, county, and state revenues from a one-of-a-kind development that better serves our new paradigm of $5 gas.

My apologies for resurrecting this topic yet again. But you can see where it changes the whole dynamic of that area. If you want Cameron Village to continue on as Raleigh's Buckhead, then you need a Lenox Square nearby to take the commercial pressure of the Village.

Save Cameron Village. Doze Central Prison to the ground. Build a truly urban project on the grounds. Everybody will feel better in the end.

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Raleigh doesn't have a waterfront. We don't have any mountains. We don't have a Duke campus or a Biltmore House or an Old Salem. What we have is a few nice old downtown buildings, and some exceptionally lovely old residential areas. That's what we have for character.

True character is not defined exclusively by having old things (or new things for that matter). Raleigh may not have many "historical" elements that give it a certain character, but it definitely does have contemporary and cosmopolitan elements that define the city and give it a unique character.

The things that make cities so interesting and appealing to outsiders is what they bring to the table that is unique (i.e the shimmer wall at RCC), and not what they've copied from other cities in an attempt to define themselves as great.

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When we make preserving the City's character a priority, we realize that this is not the right place for thirteen stories. Eight is fine. That

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A cities' character constantly evolves with time.

Also, about nine of those "thirteen stories" will be set back behind the Clarke and Oberlin elevations.

...but only setback laterally 40ft on Oberlin and 20ft from Clark (from the edge of ROW/sidewalk). That's not enough for a 47ft increase in building height. The building envelopes are too large for that area, and will set a precident to other developers that 13-story buildings (or taller) are OK for the entire 6-block area. The cumulative effect over time would produce a built environment out of proportion with the surrounding neighborhoods IMO.

I'm all for increasing density, but this can be redesigned and executed in a way that will work for the developer and respect the neighborhood. I say, keep the frontage, add setback distances with mindfulness of the Cameron Park viewshed rather than an arbitrary distance... up to a max height of about ~100 feet/9-10 stories.

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I have recently moved to the DC area and have seen many neighborhoods with high density 13 story buildings on main thoroughfares and very "character-rich" areas even one block away. Even if the entire Cameron Village were redeveloped to be 9-13 stories, the effects on the surrounding neighborhoods would mostly likely change very slightly (with the proper improvements, i.e. the est. of main thoroughfares and public transportation options). This area has the opportunity to become an extension of Hillsborough St. and a very creative college type atmosphere (think downtown Asheville).

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I'm all for increasing density, but this can be redesigned and executed in a way that will work for the developer and respect the neighborhood. I say, keep the frontage, add setback distances with mindfulness of the Cameron Park viewshed rather than an arbitrary distance... up to a max height of about ~100 feet/9-10 stories.

See I agree with this, but I hope the neighborhood is willing to a compromise. The more I think about this project, I'm having to change my opinions. I just came to a personal realization that anything above about 8/9 stories is going to appear really huge from the base of the neighboring (Village Drafthouse block #1) area within Cameron Village since Clarke really slopes down.

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^^^ it's not going to be 13 stories above grade of Oberlin. It's going to be 13 stories above grade from the lowest point on the lot.

I'm going to stick to my guns here that 13 stories really isn't that tall. Glenwood Towers is 13 stories. Does that loom ominously overhead or ruin anybody's quality of life? Absolutely not. Most of the vehicular traffic at Cameron Village is and will continue to be due to the commercial area. I would say that residential development, even at 100 units per acre, throughout all of CV, would have a surprisingly insignificant impact on vehicular traffic - given the area's gridded streets, especially compared to the traffic already generated by the retail. It would have a huge impact on pedestrian traffic, and that's nothing but a good thing.

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^^^ it's not going to be 13 stories above grade of Oberlin. It's going to be 13 stories above grade from the lowest point on the lot.

I'm going to stick to my guns here that 13 stories really isn't that tall. Glenwood Towers is 13 stories. Does that loom ominously overhead or ruin anybody's quality of life? Absolutely not. Most of the vehicular traffic at Cameron Village is and will continue to be due to the commercial area. I would say that residential development, even at 100 units per acre, throughout all of CV, would have a surprisingly insignificant impact on vehicular traffic - given the area's gridded streets, especially compared to the traffic already generated by the retail. It would have a huge impact on pedestrian traffic, and that's nothing but a good thing.

and who is to say that all buildings will be 13 stories? They will lucky if they get four 10 story buildings in the next 15 years.

I like the niegborhood, know many people that have lived there, including 2 good friends who live there now and even going back to the 1920s. II even went to High School across the street but I think the neighborhood has more to worry about than a 13 story building. The smartest man I know once told me...... If you live in a city, you can not expect to have all the good without any of the bad (like traffic). You can not have it all"

JMHO

Edited by Subway Scoundrel

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What this project (and others coming down the pike) reveals is that we seem to have no objective way of evaluating what the appropriate transition distance is for infill commercial and multi-family parcels near single-family residential areas. I am hoping the comp plan addresses this, but I'm not sure it will be that detailed.

With the increasing market for infill projects, we need a set of tools with which to measure appropriate building form within its context. To me, creating site appropriate density should be a major city goal going forward. To do this, we have to have more infill projects, but not at the expense of some sort of standard buffer regulations to protect SF neighborhoods. Density can be achieved at relatively small scales, as in the case of 712 Tucker, & Hue (+ Woodpile block?) which are quite dense (80-100 units/acre), but are not very tall. Tucker is in Glenwood South adjacent to Cameron Park, but I don't think it will be imposing at all at around 50ft tall. That seem like a sweet spot for developments that are opposite (across the street from) SF homes, but it's all up to interpretation as it stands.

Anyway, we ought to have a community conversation about this. See this presentation (esp p11-21) for a visual example of ways that we might handle the infill scale/transition issue.

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With Glenwood Towers, I hate the parking lot between the building and the sidewalk (and the "dead block" feel it gives by not having active uses other than the lobby on street level) a *lot* more than the height of the building.

An urban form that creates a village atmosphere would be ideal for Cameron Village. The land south of Clark and west of Oberlin should be the first ring of stepping up/down at 2-3 stories to transition to the single family homes. Then allow 40-50 foot tall buildings north of Clark/west of Oberlin *if* the buildings are close/closeish (sidewalk cafe seating) to the street. Behind that, allow for 9-10 stories including parking deck heights. Anything above that loses the "village" nature of Cameron Village yet creates a lot of space to create a sense of place via density.

It sounds like this could be acheived via the existing small area plan. If so, this "request" is a wolf in sheep's clothing as alluded to by others on here. Capping building heights at 10 stories and "zoning/planning them to only be built on the interior of the blocks within Clark/Oberlin/Smallwood/Bellwood grid.

A lot of the the traffic (mass transit, passenger vehicles, and delivery trucks) enter the CV area via Clark/Peace from the east and Oberlin from the south. The northeast connectivity is there, but inconvenient with the no left turn from westbound Wade from Woodburn, only Daniels. And Broughton will *never* allow through traffic on Cameron to connect to St. Marys. And the residents probably don't want the Sutton/Nichols/St. Mary's connection to get any more traffic either.

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City Council votes on this project today. It will be very interesting to see what the outcome is, and what influence the Cameron Park neighborhood has on this council in a contentious infill case. I suspect some will push either for outright denial or for this to be placed in committee.

Infill here is appropriate, but I still think this one is a bit too tall (especially the Clark side), and could be redesigned more appropriately for the site and neighborhood context.

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It is starting to seem that small area plans in Raleigh aren't worth the paper they are printed on.

People are going to become less intersted in the planning process if their input is ignored by City Council.

Why is Valentine being rewarded for being a bad neighbor to everyone else on Stanhope? I'm all for putting parking decks near train tracks -- the Dan Allen deck, 222 and 510 Glenwood, Powerhouse Square, etc. -- in business/industrial/mixed use areas. But not directly adjacent to a long standing neighborhood that worked with the developer to come up with a plan that all sides could agree do. Until the side with the purse strings decided to ignore it and do what they wanted to do all along.

The same could be said about Cameron Village. The neighborhood had an established devlopment guideline, which got thrown out the window because a developer is dangling the "jobs and investemnt" carrot to distract from the "existing neighborhood fabric" reality. And it will set a precedent for the other blocks five blocks of CV and adjacent lots.

If the retail portion of Oberlin Court at Wade Avenue is any indication, there isn't much pent up demand for more retail space in this area. Even Chic Fil A bailed on their CV plans. Are residences needed here? We'll see.

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Retail is in demand in the area. The rents being charged are higher than the market can tolerate, though.

My latest update on Chick-Fil-A is that it is still a go.

I'm glad it passed. CV still has a long way to go to me a charming, desirable part of town, in my book. Oberlin Rd is lined with plenty of ugly. Now to get rid of that awful row of office buildings across the street.

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^ I'd actually be for picking up the last two or three old homes on the east side of Oberlin and moving them to say the Latta House block, and then building well designed commercial below office or residential from Wade back to CV along that side. It would also be a chance to widen the road with at least a turn lane. I don't often advocate widening inner city roads but this is quite a choke point.

Edited by Jones133

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^ I'd actually be for picking up the last two or three old homes on the east side of Oberlin and moving them to say the Latta House block, and then building well designed commercial below office or residential from Wade back to CV along that side. It would also be a chance to widen the road with at least a turn lane. I don't often advocate widening inner city roads but this is quite a choke point.

That's actually a great idea. I would have said no if Latta were still there, but since the fire, I say have at it... there's plenty of space back away from Oberlin over on the east side so it wouldn't be hard to add in one more lane plus bike lanes each side to connect to Oberlin Court... but is all needs to have good urban form--NO Oberlin Court style store front parking!!!

I saw in the N&O article yesterday that the approved Cresent rezoning allowed only 85 foot tall buildings... if true, that is a lot shorter than allowed under the previous zoning petition.

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The same could be said about Cameron Village. The neighborhood had an established devlopment guideline, which got thrown out the window because a developer is dangling the "jobs and investemnt" carrot to distract from the "existing neighborhood fabric" reality. And it will set a precedent for the other blocks five blocks of CV and adjacent lots.

...

I think that the Cresent development will set a precedent for the other CV blocks, and the surrounding area, but not in a bad way. This area, along with Hillsborough Street (NCSU) has high potential to be a truly urban community. Existing infrastructure and residential areas are good building blocks for adding commercial, office, addition residential and generally intensifying density. Filling in the blocks with mixed use development, improving streets and transit would create a much better community that is less dependent on the automobile. I don't see the Cresent development, in concept, as distracting from the "existing neighborhood fabric". I see it as an oppurtunity for CV to grow up. CV and the surrounding neighborhoods have what North Hills (for the most part) and even Downtown Raleigh doesn't have right now: existing, established neighborhood culture, that if tapped into correctly (unlike Oberlin Village) can be a wonderful thing for Raleigh.

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