March 14, 2020
It's been 100 days since your new Raleigh City Council took office and we’ve been busy. We've already acted on our promises regarding housing affordability, mobility, and community engagement – and there’s still so much more to do. Change isn’t easy, but with your continued support, we remain committed to building a Raleigh for all.
Here is some of the progress we’ve made in 100 days:
• We’re moving forward on Quality of Life Bonds -- Raleigh's "Moon Shot" as I described at my swearing-in ceremony. These bonds will make historic investments in housing affordability and enhance our parks and greenways system, including funding to begin the development of Dix Park. We are currently engaged in a robust community engagement effort to determine what will be included in the bond package. A final vote will be taken May 19th to place the bonds on the November General Election ballot. Click here to learn more.
• We created a Police Advisory Board to advise the Raleigh Police Department on policy, training, accountability, and building community trust. Police officers knowing the people they protect and residents knowing the police officers who serve them is critical. Anyone interested in serving can submit an application and learn more here.
• We acted to allow cottage courts to be built across the city, as well as townhomes, duplexes, triplexes and quads -- known as "Missing Middle Housing." For many people, their entree into the housing market is through the purchase of a townhome. Under the current rules, townhomes cannot be built in 80 percent of the city. Under the new rules, an array of housing options could be available, providing residents with more affordable choices.
• We modified the Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance that essentially banned ADUs (also known as "granny flats") to now allow them by right with reasonable regulations.
• With input from the public and city staff, we enacted a policy change to allow short-term rentals. Anyone renting a room or a home on Airbnb or VRBO will need to request a zoning permit and follow safety and public health rules. There will be a "three strikes" rule to protect neighbors. Additionally, city staff will monitor trends and report back to the Council on how the regulations are working and if any further changes should be considered.
• We have started the process of building a “compassion fund” to help Raleigh residents without a stable home (living in hotels, etc.) to move into rental housing. The proposed seed fund would cover a security deposit and first month’s rent for qualified families who need some help getting started.
• After years of studies and suggested reforms, we have taken the first steps to revolutionize citizen engagement in Raleigh. The CAC system that we have ended had become far too insular and not representative of our diverse community. Our new approach will expand our use of technology to engage more voices including renters, students, seniors, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and other underrepresented voices.
• I’m really excited to report that we have created a Commission on Hispanic & Immigrant Affairs to give this important segment of our community a voice in the affairs of our city. These residents offer Raleigh a unique and dynamic perspective and I am delighted with this latest development. Anyone interested in serving on the Commission may submit an application and learn more at this link.
• We have also formed a study group to hear from you on how the City Council can better represent you and also how we can increase citizen engagement and turnout in municipal elections. You can learn more and get involved here. If you’re interested in serving on a city board or commission, please let me know.
• And finally, in recent days we have redoubled efforts in coordinating with our local, state, and federal public health and safety partners to deal with the ongoing risks of COVID-19. Our top priority is keeping the people who live in Raleigh safe. I encourage everyone to follow the guidance given by healthcare professionals.
It’s been a great 100 days! Thank you again for all your ongoing support. I can’t do it without your help. I look forward to the next 100 days and beyond. Let’s keep working to build a city of progress, innovation, and compassion for all.