Debate at a Raleigh city council meeting this week deteriorated into a heated argument as council members again considered whether to approve or deny a rezoning request brought by Kane Realty. 

The real estate company asked the city council back in July to allow them to build 12-, 30-, and 40-story buildings on the outskirts of the North Hills shopping center, along Six Forks Road, Lassiter Mill Road, and I-440. The request was met by backlash from nearby residents who cited the usual concerns about traffic, the environment, “neighborhood quality,” and affordable housing. 

After three months of negotiations and a recent committee meeting, Kane Realty agreed to eight conditions meant to address the concerns of residents and city council members. The conditions are as follows: 

1) Kane Realty will not be allowed to use the rezoned property for cemeteries, adult establishments, detention centers, jails, prisons, dormitories, fraternities, or sororities. 

2) Redevelopment of the property will include the construction of bike lanes along Six Forks Road and Lassiter Mill Road. This is meant to increase access to public transportation in the area and reduce car traffic. 

3) Kane Realty will dedicate land along Six Forks Road for the construction of a new city bus station with covered bus shelters, seating areas, and public restrooms since the proposed rezoning overlaps with an existing bus station. (Again, this is meant to improve public transportation in midtown, where the roads are not designed for high traffic.)

4) Redevelopment of the property will include the construction of at least four bike share stations. 

5) Kane Realty will dedicate land at the intersection of Six Forks Road and Rowan Street for a future expansion of the Raleigh Fire Station, since the existing station does not have the equipment or employees needed to protect 30- and 40-story buildings.

6) Buildings at the intersection of I-440 and Lassiter Mill Road that are higher than 13 stories will be set back from the road by at least 12 feet. (This is meant to address residents’ worries about new towers overshadowing traditional neighborhoods.)

7) Buildings at the intersection of Six Forks Road and Rowan Street that are higher than 10 stories will be set back from Rowan Street by at least 12 feet. (Again, this is meant to provide a transition from some of the traditional neighborhoods in North Raleigh to the more urban North Hills area.)

8) In residential buildings along Six Forks Road, at least 10 percent of the building’s apartments will be 600 square feet. (This is meant to address the question of housing affordability. Kane Realty has said these “micro-units” will cost about $1,332 per month, which is supposedly affordable for a single person that earns about 80 percent of the area median income.)

The eight rezoning conditions weren’t enough to satisfy four members of the council, however, who voted Tuesday to send the case back to staff to get a traffic impact analysis. The council deadlocked in a 4-4 vote. 

Council members Patrick Buffkin, David Knight, David Cox, and Stormie Forte voted for the analysis, while Mary-Ann Baldwin, Jonathan Melton, Corey Branch, and Nicole Stewart voted against it. 

Council members who voted against acquiring the analysis argued that it was unlikely to be accurate at this early stage of planning. In addition, an analysis would likely be required when a more detailed site plan is later submitted by Kane Realty. 

Council member Buffkin—who represents District A, where the rezoning is proposed—disagreed. Buffkin is a long-time supporter of constructing of new roads in midtown to manage traffic. He has said the expansion of Six Forks Road and construction of new thoroughfares, bridges, and greenway connections is critical to the area’s future development. 

Buffkin was also skeptical of Kane Realty’s promise to provide affordable housing. 

“You understand that when you put this in front of us and tell us that you’re going to rent these places for $1,500 and then we’ll find out that 600-square-foot places across the street are renting for $2,500 it’s a little disingenuous,” Buffkin said. 

“I understand how you got to the numbers. But I don’t believe you’re going to rent these places for that. So, you know, in my mind, we’re back to square one with no responsiveness on the housing affordability issue.”

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.       

Follow Staff Writer Jasmine Gallup on Twitter or send an email to