Midtown Raleigh News

Parking lot carnival riles South Raleigh neighborhood

A South Raleigh neighborhood isn’t happy with a carnival that set up shop in a strip mall parking lot earlier this month, and a city councilman says the events might need more regulation.

Rides, games and cotton candy vendors set up shop for two consecutive weekends at the corner of South Wilmington Street and Chapanoke Road – a parking lot that backs up to the Renaissance Park neighborhood.

“It looks like a mini state fair,” Councilman Thomas Crowder wrote to city staff. “The activities and noise associated with the events go on until 10 p.m. nightly, including school nights, and can be heard in the interior of the residents’ homes, even over their televisions.”

While the city council must sign off on all events and festivals that require street closings – from simple block parties to marathons – the permitting process for private property is much simpler. The city’s rules primary limit the frequency and length of special events, planning administrator Travis Crane told Crowder in an email.

“While I agree that this was a large-scale operation, there are no standards in the code that would compel staff to reject this type of temporary use permit,” Crane wrote.

Crowder says the carnival concerns should prompt a closer review of the city’s regulations. “I don’t think the special events (permitting process) intent was to have these types of activities going on adjacent to neighborhoods,” he said.

He added that neighbors weren’t given any advance notice and the high attendance for the carnival brought traffic problems at an already busy intersection.

Crowder has also received complaints that the strip mall parking lot gets used as a makeshift soccer field during the summer – an activity he thinks is better suited to a city park.

“I think the disturbing part is the neighborhood has reached out to that property owner and they haven’t worked to have a collaborative relationship,” he said.