RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – More than a dozen townhomes could replace a nearly 100-year-old house in Raleigh.

Built in 1925, the home on Williamson Drive could soon be leveled to make way for a new development. The development would have 17 three-bedroom townhomes complete with garages and an alleyway.

“Seventeen houses on that plot of land is just not in the character of the neighborhood,” said one resident.

She’s nervous about the amount of new cars that would come if the house at Williamson Drive and Carr Street is replaced.

“I have a 4-year-old and he likes to play out here near the street and everything. I’m really concerned about the traffic, especially on Williamson there,” the neighbor said.

The proposed change on the two-acre lot was a surprise for homeowners like Pam Bond who worries about flooding.

“When there are heavy rains, which we have, it floods down there it’s a low, low spot,” said Bond.

Her biggest concern is the process that’s set up to allow the development.

“I think it’s very sad. I think I have, and a lot of people in this area have, lost confidence in the council — in that they have made these drastic changes as far as zoning is concerned,” Bond said.

City councilmember David Cox voted against those changes.

“It takes away the opportunity to have a conversation with the developer and come to a compromise,” Cox said.

The issue is two-fold. First, Cox said the council did away with the process that would have required developers to hear from neighbors followed by a council vote.

“What would have normally happened before these changes is there would have been a rezoning request. The developer would’ve had to go to citizen advisory council meetings and present the plans to the public,” Cox said.

He explained those citizen advisory council meetings are no loner happening.

“What that means is a developer can come into a single-family neighborhood just as I’ve described, purchase property, tear down the home and build something other than a single-family home without any community feedback or input, no public hearing. It’s all entirely by right,” said Cox.

The second issue is the implementation of the ‘Missing Middle‘ plan. In part, it relaxed density rules that now allow more homes on a smaller lots.

“It can’t always be about increasing density. Increasing density works great for developers but it doesn’t work well all the time for the community and the neighborhood,” Cox said.

The proposed developement is an example of the tricky balance between growth and preservation.

“It’s not just for this neighborhood it’s a bigger picture,” Bond said.

Approval for the townhomes is now largely in city staff hands unless residents want to ready (and fund) a legal battle.

Cox said he doesn’t expect the Hayes Barton neighborhood to be the last to face this challenge.

“I’m expecting there will be more to come in the near future,” Cox said.