Last week, the Raleigh City Council tasked staffers with drafting a plan to bring on a consultant to study the effects the park will have on those neighborhoods and provide options for controlling anticipated development. The neighborhoods in question—Fuller Heights, Caraleigh, and Carolina Pines—are currently some of the most affordable near downtown, with 60 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000. Sixty-three percent are owner-occupied. People living in those areas tend to earn less than other downtown dwellers: 57 percent of households make less than $50,000 a year, and a third of residents live below the poverty line, more than twice the city’s poverty rate.

“You have a lot of naturally occurring affordability within the neighborhoods today, which is at risk,” planning director Ken Bowers told the council. “The current low-density zoning is not going to preserve that affordability, and a more proactive approach is going to be necessary.”

The park could lead developers to buy up surrounding properties. Under the current zoning, they’d likely either build larger, pricier homes on small lots or combine lots and build high-end apartment buildings. Neither scenario is likely to maintain affordability.

Zoning changes that could promote affordability include increasing density and the number of mixed-use buildings in the area. Public input will be crucial, Bowers said, but outreach will be a challenge, as the discussion entails changing the character of those neighborhoods.

A price tag for the study has not yet been disclosed, although city manager Ruffin Hall described it as “significant.”

The study would probably take about a year. Planning staffers have already taken on more than a dozen large-scale projects, and hiring a consultant would get the study done faster, Bowers said. If the city solicits bids on the project by the middle of next year, the study would be finished in 2020. Work on some sections of the park not currently under lease to the Department of Health and Human Services could begin as early as 2021.

Council member Stef Mandell pointed out that developers are already beginning to scoop up properties. “The sooner we can get some plans together, I think the better we can control what’s going to happen,” Mendell said.

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One reply on “Dix Park Could Make the Neighborhoods Around It Unaffordable”

  1. The headline on this article should say “will” instead of “could” because this is 100% going to happen. Dix Park will be a magnet for development and parkside views. Just think about Lincoln Park in Chicago or Central Park in NYC, those parkside apartments are prime real estate. The are around the park will be radically different too. Just look at the Five Horizons proposal and you’ll see the future of these neighborhoods. Hopefully the city can increase the density around the park so it eases affordability pressure in other parts of the city, but anything within walking distance of Dix is going to skyrocket. Frankly, the homeowners in those neighborhoods, should they choose to sell, should squeeze the developers for everything they’ve got.

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