Kane Realty is now offering what it calls affordable “micro-units” in its efforts to convince city leaders to allow up to 40 stories for its North Hills rezoning.
The new zoning conditions will be submitted by Friday, the latest update in a rezoning request for seeking additional height in the heart of North Hills. The new conditions were discussed during a Raleigh City Council committee meeting Thursday afternoon.
Developers were already offering space for a new transit center and a fire station expansion, but said the new micro-units, with a capped square footage of 600 feet, could be a way to address the housing affordability aspect.
“I think we need to look at this as an opportunity and then look at these conditions and say, ‘Is this enough now to move forward or not?’” said Council member Jonathan Melton. “And for me, I’m at a place that I’m ready to move this forward. And I am concerned that if the case is denied, if the applicant pulls that rezoning request, we’re going to look back, all of us will look back in five or 10 years (or) two years and think what a missed opportunity.”
40 stories in North Hills
If approved, about 11 acres of land in three different nodes would be rezoned. The three different tracks of land include:
Six Forks Node: Approximately 6.5 acres along Six Forks Road at the intersection of Lassiter Mill Road. The zoning is currently for 12 stories and developers are seeking up to 40 stories. In a new zoning condition, at least 10% of any multi-family units built in this node would have a maximum size of 600 square feet.
440 Node: This acre-and-a-half sits next to where Lassiter Mill Road meets I-440. The current zoning allows for up to 12 stories and the rezoning is seeking up to 30 stories.
Lassiter District Node: Approximately three acres at the intersection of Six Forks Road and Rowan Street. The current zoning allows up to five stories and the rezoning request is seeking up to 12 stories.
A first for Raleigh
Plans approved by the Raleigh City Council in December 2020 say that rezoning requests with more than seven stories should include affordable housing at 80% of the area median income (AMI) for at least 10 years.
The developers used a formula looking at the area median income for a one-person household, $59,950, and the rent per square foot in the North Hills area ($2.22 per square foot) to determine a 600-square-foot maximum unit, or micro-unit, as affordable.
The micro-units would be in the area seeking up to 40 stories and where the transit center would be located to make it most accessible to the workers “that will be visiting North Hills, working in North Hills,” said Jamie Schwedler, an attorney representing the developers.
That’s something the developers have heard throughout the case, she said. Can the people who work in North Hills afford to live there?
The micro-units would be the first for the city, she said, adding there could be anywhere before 200 to 500 of the units.
Council member Patrick Buffkin, who represents this area, said these new conditions addressed some of his concerns.
“There’s never going to be a perfect project,” he said. “But this is movement in the right direction.”
The four-person council committee agreed to send the rezoning back to the full eight-person council without a recommendation. The Raleigh City Council could vote on the rezoning as early as Sept. 6.
This story was originally published August 26, 2022 10:09 AM.
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