The city is taking another look at a long-range planning document that sets a vision for how Raleigh will grow during the next 15 years.
City officials approved the 2030 Comprehensive Plan in the fall of 2009. It called for higher-density development that promotes walkable neighborhoods, in contrast to the low-density sprawl that had characterized much of the city’s growth.
Six years later, the city wants to see how the plan has worked so far. Planners will look at whether city trends have changed and new best practices for development to guide any revisions.
The public can weigh in on the plan at a series of public meetings beginning Tuesday.
“We feel that the plan isn’t just a technical document,” said Planning Director Ken Bowers. “It should be an expression of community values.”
Bowers said the plan largely seems on track in terms of growth projections and where development has occurred, largely in central districts and along high-traffic corridors.
“We seem to have seen a lot of growth in the areas where we contemplated it, “ he said.
The comprehensive plan includes hundreds of policy statements about things the city should do, but it isn’t binding in the same way as the Unified Development Ordinance, which includes all of the city’s development regulations.
That sometimes has led to conflicts, as residents and developers disagree about exactly what the comprehensive plan envisioned for new residences and commercial spaces.
Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, who served on the council when the plan first passed, said seeing the move to greater density has sometimes been a challenge as residents get used to the change.
“I think what we’re experiencing are some natural growing pains,” she said.
The meetings are an opportunity for residents to weigh in, continuing the tradition of community input the plan was based on, she said.
Bowers said that when there’s strong disagreement from residents about a proposed development, it sometimes points the way to a needed change. For example, resident opposition to the scale of a proposed apartment complex off Hillsborough Street led city staff to take a look at the comprehensive plan’s transition policies on the edge of established residential neighborhoods.
Councilman Russ Stephenson, who also was on the council in 2009, said updates to the plan could include a look at new areas where growth is likely, a look at how city development policies can promote public health and an emphasis on low-impact development, a collection of stormwater management techniques.
Overall, he thinks the comprehensive plan has worked well, as evidenced by development in Cameron Village, North Hills and downtown.
“It’s very gratifying that the vision we set forth has been embraced by the market,” he said.
If you go
Raleigh will host three public workshops on the comprehensive plan updates.
▪ 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at Brier Creek Park, 10810 Globe Road
▪ 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at Millbrook Exchange Community Center, 1905 Spring Forest Road
▪ 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at John Chavis Memorial Community Center, 505 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.