Land use group lends support to proposed school

A group that advises the Raleigh City Council on land use issues voted Thursday evening to support the Wake County school system’s request to rezone the area around a controversial proposed high school.

The Northeast Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council agreed to recommend rezoning the site, located on Forestville Road near U.S. 401, from county to city zoning, which would make it easier to get utilities.

Neighbors have tried to block construction due to traffic issues and because of what they say are slave and Native American burial grounds on the location.

Tonight’s recommendation will now go to the City Council, which has scheduled a March 3 meeting to discuss the zoning request with the planning commission.

The official vote was 9-4 with many of the neighbors present not being able to vote because they live outside the council’s boundaries. In a separate vote allowing the neighbors to have their say, the vote was 21-9 against supporting the zoning change.

Along with the rezoning request, the school system is asking Raleigh to annex the plot, which is located in the northeastern part of the county between Raleigh and Wake Forest.

The unnamed school, called H6 for now, has been a source of controversy for several months. The fight escalated when neighbors said a slave cemetery was found on the site. They’ve since said that a Native American burial ground may also be on the property.

The school system hired a consultant who said that “Euro-American individuals” were probably buried there. Neighbors have accused the consultant, the Chicora Foundation, of performing sloppy work.

School officials have said they’ll preserve the cemetery. But neighbors say that a memorial should be built there instead of a high school.