With a multitude of development meetings and conversations concerning Raleigh’s UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) occurring in neighborhoods and City Council, I’ve decided to highlight a growing and develop prime area that is increasingly coming under scrutiny by city officials and residents alike, the Hillsborough Street Corridor!
Since January, the City of Raleigh has held multiple meetings concerning Hillsborough and the small area plans in making for the corridor. Even more recent, the City approved a 2nd phase of street renovations and lighting improvements for the area (seen currently along the NC State stretch of Hillsborough).
My focus though will highlight the recommendations from private and 3rd party sources on bringing an organized vision and planned redevelopment of Hillsborough Street, currently MISSING from both Raleigh’s UDO and City approved plans.
In earlier stages of planning, Noell Consulting of Atlanta was hired to study Cameron Village and the Hillsborough Street area (see full report here).
Here are a few things they found interesting,
Hillsborough St. Strengths:
NC State adjacent to 35,000 Students
Established corridor with easy access downtown and to area freeways
Walkable street front retail and destinations
Significant open space and recreational opportunities, YMCA and Pullen park
Hillsborough St. Challenges:
Very few development sites along existing street
Lack of parking
Retail lacks major anchors/new stores
They also state that more than 90% of residents in the Hillsborough corridor are renters, with 45% of the households being 35 years or younger (compared with 34% of ITB area and only 23% in Wake County)
Their analysis seems like a no brainer. There a tons of students and walkability along Hillsborough, but lack of retail or new development spots and parking have stifled growth.
How to combat and change this? For answers, I’ll turn to Raleigh group YIMBY’s (Yes In My Backyard development) white paper
The paper zoomed in on the area of Hillsborough St that fronts NC State but also extended backwards to Clark Ave. They found that in this section (as in the Noell report) RENTERS were the majority (only 14 of 166 properties were single family occupied homes). They also found that parking was MAJORLY limited and development for new building/retail was lacking. Their solutions,
Make the zone to Clark Ave development friendly, increase permitted densities in zoning to allow graduated height from 7/10 stories on Hillsborough down to 3/4 stories on Clark Ave.
Make all on street parking (currently 227 spaces) 24/7 metered priced by market demand.
Remove the minimun parking requirments from zoning for new developments.
Eliminate 50ft no build buffer between Hillsborough St developments and residential areas. Replace with graduated development model (see #1).
Continue to allow more bars and drinking establishments on Hillsborough St (limited in future UDO).
There's a quick summary of the report but I encourage you to read more of the Noell reportand YIMBY paper for a better future Hillsborough!