Wake County

Would you want to live next to a rooftop bar? Plan riles Raleigh neighbors.

Raleigh City Council debated a rezoning request at 615 W. Peace St., which borders The Paramount, above.
Raleigh City Council debated a rezoning request at 615 W. Peace St., which borders The Paramount, above. ajohnson@newsobserver.com

A plan to build a boutique hotel in Glenwood South would allow visitors to sip cocktails and enjoy a rooftop view, but next-door neighbors aren't so sure.

Some people who live in the 10-story Paramount condominium building on Boylan Avenue say the rooftop amenity would bring too much noise, light and traffic — and ruin their view.

The Raleigh City Council this week agreed to postpone a decision on the hotel project at 615 W. Peace St., saying they wanted more information about the proposed fourth-floor rooftop. The debate highlights tensions among residents, developers and city leaders about density and height, particularly in neighborhoods outside the downtown core.

"The Paramount is not necessarily categorically opposed to rooftop activation with food or alcohol service, but there should be reasonable consideration given to how that impacts the residents who are only going to be 15 to 30 feet away," said Andy Petsch, an attorney representing The Paramount Homeowners Association.

The Paramount is a 10-story building with about 80 units that range in price from $200,000 to $1.5 million. It features a fifth-floor pool with "expansive views of the city's skyline."

Council member David Cox asked if there could be a creative solution to address concerns, and council member Stef Mendell asked if the developer, MJM Group, would be willing to meet again with the homeowners association.

But Anuj Mittal, co-founder and CEO of MJM Group, said the company has already given "every square inch possible" and has spent thousands of dollars to accommodate neighbors' demands.

"We have to think from a common-sense perspective," Mittal said. "We are spending an enormous amount of money. We're not going to put two cows there grazing. There’s only so much you can do in the hospitality business."

The developer originally asked the council to rezone the site to allow for a five-story hotel, but it reduced the plan to four stories with an option for rooftop space. Self-imposed conditions would prevent outdoor amplified music and overhead string lights and would limit rooftop hours — 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Any heating and air conditioning systems on the roof would have to be covered, limiting the available space.

The council voted 7-1 to postpone a decision for two weeks. Council member Nicole Stewart, who cast the lone vote against postponement, said it hurt to see the council argue over the height of a building that would add value to the city.

"I'd like to speak really enthusiastically for this project because I feel like that voice isn't at this table in part for myself and for young folks who are really excited about rooftop bars and also for the people in the Paramount who are excited about this project," she said.

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