January 27, 2022
As we close out the first month of a new year, I wanted to share just some of the Raleigh City Council’s recent progress on key issues and our plans for 2022 and beyond.
We ended exclusionary zoning and expanded housing choices across the city. Decades of prohibitive and discriminatory zoning laws have led to a shortage of housing and artificially high prices. We passed progressive zoning reform that allows “missing middle” housing, including duplexes, townhomes, and other types of housing to be built throughout the city. Prior to this, you could only build townhomes in 20 percent of the city, which prevented the possibility of home ownership for many. We also passed Accessory Dwelling Units or “granny flats” by right and have allowed the construction of tiny homes.
We passed a historic affordable housing bond and are funding thousands of new affordable housing units. And with the help of funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the City of Raleigh purchased a hotel to serve as supportive housing and an emergency shelter for those in need.
We secured funding for Bus Rapid Transit and made our bus system fare-free. Since 2020, the City Council has used federal funding to make the GoRaleigh bus system fare-free, allowing more people to access public transportation. In 2021, we renewed this policy and I support making this a permanent change. I'm also committed to working with the City Council to implement and expand Bus Rapid Transit throughout the city, one of the key goals of the Wake County transit plan.
We supported small businesses and the economy. In 2021, I supported Raleigh’s Building Up-Fit grant program to assist businesses with improvements and renovations. 57% of the grants have been awarded to minority-owned businesses. We also recently made curbside take-out zones permanent downtown, helping to support local restaurants as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will build new affordable housing. Housing should be a right, not a privilege in Raleigh. That’s why expanding access to affordable housing continues to be my top focus this year. Using funding from the housing bond and other sources, including public-private partnerships, Raleigh is purchasing land along transit corridors to use for new affordable housing units. Raleigh is also partnering with land trusts to provide long-term affordable housing, such as the Lane-Idlewild project that will be developed by the Raleigh Area Land Trust.
We will expand affordable and efficient transit. Transportation and housing affordability go hand-in-hand – an affordable house is not truly affordable if the transportation costs to get to work, shop for groceries, and get around town are too high. We must continue to expand transportation and mobility options to relieve congestion and make our city accessible to all. In addition to continuing the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit, I will continue to work with our regional partners to make commuter rail a reality.
We will continue to invest in Raleigh’s parks and greenspaces, and build a world class Dix Park. Raleigh’s system of over 200 parks is a huge part of what makes our city so special. We plan to continue our historic investments in parks, greenways, and community centers with a Parks Bond in 2022. The bond will fund the advancement of Dix Park, the Chavis Park revitalization, and parks programs throughout Raleigh with an eye toward equity and accessibility.
We have a lot more to do for Raleigh’s future, so let's get to work!