Some residents aren’t quite convinced that a plan to put new limits on development at the corner of New Hope and Buffaloe roads will protect their neighborhood.
An area plan for the intersection reached the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday, but officials stopped short of voting on it because of those lingering concerns.
Residents pushed for the creation of the plan in the wake of the neighborhood’s successful fight against a proposed Sheetz gas station on the northeast corner of the intersection. Some people said the 24-hour gas station would ruin the character of the area.
The area plan recommendations include limiting buildings to three stories, mitigating light and noise and buffering residential areas from any new development.
Michele McIntosh, a resident who helped lead the charge, said neighbors are pleased with the planning department’s efforts, but they want the plan to be as strong as possible if it’s their one shot to get new guidelines in place.
The area isn’t binding in the same way as the city’s zoning regulations, but it’s a document that officials look to when they decide whether a development proposal is appropriate for a neighborhood.
Proposals and city council members come and go, so there are no guarantees that a future council will view the area plan in the same way as the current one. McIntosh said it would be good for the plan to have plenty of details.
“You hope people are going to do the things that will benefit your neighborhood, but things move fast and it’s easy to slip through the cracks,” she said.
Residents want the city to look again at the safety on dead-end roads near the intersection, the scale of any future development compared with the nearby houses and limits on specific uses such as fuel sales or 24-hour businesses.
Councilman Russ Stephenson said he thinks the process has been a good one but the area plan could go even further in pushing for pedestrian connections between the intersection and nearby greenways and parks.
“This has been a very positive process where it looks like we took lemons and we’re going to turn them into lemonade,” he said.
Councilman John Odom, who represents the area, said he knows at least one development proposal that won’t be coming to the intersection.
“I’m about 99.99 percent sure we’re not going to have a gas station on that corner,” he said.
The council could vote on the plan as soon as May 19.