RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Despite considerable concerns from thousands of Raleigh residents the city is moving ahead with rezoning property near Shelley Lake Park.
“It’s disappointing,” said John Weichert. “There are other parks nearby that have houses and condos and I’ve been to them, they’re not as nice. They’re not as beautiful.”
Nearly 9,000 people signed an online petition seeking to block the development which falls in councilman Patrick Buffkin’s district.
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“We have to recognize that this property will be developed at some point,” said Buffkin.
Buffkin says he signed off on the development because it provides transitions and buffers between the lake and nearby roads, but councilman David Cox isn’t as confident.
“The community has spoken,” said Cox. “They don’t believe this is in the best interest of the community. At some point that speaks to what we mean by representative government.”
Buffkin said the plans were in line with a long-term approach for the city in the area.
“This is, I admit, a different kind of development for this part of the city but it is consistent with the city’s long-term planning goals,” said Buffkin. “It will add opportunities for new neighbors to move to this part of Raleigh, and enjoy living next to our lake parks.”
While that may be the council’s long term goal, people like Weichert say it seems shortsighted.
“Part of the park will become residential,” said Weichert. “Right now it’s all park. It’s all public for everybody. It sort of becomes some folks backyard. It’s different when you’re running through somebody elses back yard.”
There are currently homes on the proposed development site, but it’s not clear what will become of them long term.
The petition organizers declined to comment as they said they are exploring options moving forward.