Oct 26, 2022 - News

Hayes Barton is ground zero for Raleigh's housing fight

A photo of a "Save Our Neighborhoods" sign, with a "Dump Mayor Baldwin" sign in the background

Campaign signs in the Hayes Barton neighborhood. Photo: Lucille Sherman/Axios

With city council and mayoral elections just around the corner, one of Raleigh's most expensive neighborhoods, Hayes Barton, has become center stage for a debate about the future of housing in the city.

Driving the news: Save Our Neighborhoods, a political action committee with ties to the neighborhood, is hoping to get incumbents off the city council.

  • They've peppered the city with campaign signs, and more yards in Hayes Barton have a "Save Our Neighborhoods" sign than not.

Catch up quick: The group formed in reaction to zoning changes that will allow for a developer to tear down a home at 908 Williamson Dr. and build 17 new townhomes in its place.

Why it matters: Raleigh has a shortage of housing and a steady influx of new residents moving here every year. It's contributed to a steep rise in housing prices over the past decade, and with more job growth expected, the demand for more housing is expected to remain high.

A large yard with a large house in the background. In the front, a sign reads Save Our Neighborhoods.
The house at 908 Williamson Dr. that could be turned into multiple townhomes. Photo: Lucille Sherman/Axios.

What's happening: The current council, led by Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, is trying to combat the issue by increasing the supply of housing in the city to accommodate the growth.

The other side: Margie Case, a resident of Hayes Barton and a supporter of Save Our Neighborhoods, argues that creating more housing shouldn't come at the expense of changing a neighborhood's existing character.

  • Many opponents also assert residents weren't effectively notified of the city's zoning changes when they were enacted.

What they're saying: "We're not trying to be elitist or snobs here," Case told Axios. "That's not the point at all. We're saying this is such a broad and completely different transformation of Raleigh.

  • "To do this and not inform people, and to suddenly change the whole place of Raleigh, simply is undesirable, and we can't undo it once it's done."

What's next: The future of growth in Raleigh will play a role in the election on Nov. 8 — but it remains to be seen how large.

  • Baldwin has a sizable funding advantage over her opponents, but a win next month could still come with a council that is more in conflict with her plans.

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