Tag Archives: wake county

As the Triangle drifts, a growth tsunami looms

Wake Up Wake County, the advocacy group that promotes careful development in one of the nation’s fastest growing counties, held a seminar last week at WakeMed. It took place in the hospital’s conference center, but maybe it should have been in the Emergency Room. When it comes to growth, the Triangle is in serious condition.

Advocates and county and municipal officials turned out for the seminar titled: “Our future: Growing smart with housing and transit.” The keynote speaker was Chris Zimmerman, an economist and former Arlington County, Va., elected official who is now with the organization Smart Growth America.

Between the slides and hopeful talk of well-designed growth, it was hard to stifle a sense of gloom. Transit boosters, local officials and planners are trying to get ready for the people to come, but the truth is Wake County and the Triangle aren’t ready and may never be.

Wake County alone is projected to add more than 200,000 people in the next 10 years. The Triangle’s overall growth could double that. One doesn’t need to be a sentimentalist clinging to the disappearing, small-city Triangle to look ahead and think, “uh-oh.”

67 people a day

We are already familiar with the oft-repeated statistic that Wake County is growing by 67 people a day. Now the greater Raleigh area has made the cut for the top 20 places where Amazon wants to build its second headquarters. If we win, it will bring growth of truly Amazonian proportions – 50,000 jobs and probably the same number of cars. The jobs will pay well, but also will drive up rents and home prices.

Most experts think the Triangle won’t win the bid because we are still too small and lack a mass-transit system. But Bloomberg News reported last week that North Carolina is in the running for another giant headquarters: Apple. If Apple builds its fourth headquarters in North Carolina, it may well come to the Triangle.

Growth isn’t a bad thing in itself. I was a newcomer once, arriving here in 1991. Wake County has grown by a half million people since then. I’ve seen the changes, most of them good – better stores, restaurants, entertainment and culture.

But now the national economy is soaring and growth here is accelerating faster than it can be accommodated. Wake County and the Triangle are attracting both aspiring millennials and retiring boomers. In between are young families with children adding to a Wake County school system that is growing by more than 2,000 students annually.

Signs of trouble

In the face of this growth there are signs of trouble. The Triangle has failed to create a regional government that can coordinate growth. The Raleigh City Council is at Ground Zero of the boom, but can’t manage to approve such obvious steps as allowing smaller backyard dwellings to increase housing density. And the state is going ahead with plans to complete the 540 Loop in southern Wake County. That 28-mile, $2.2 billion highway extension will fuel sprawl even as the Republican-led General Assembly is sharply limiting its support for light rail.

Zimmerman said growth can’t be stopped, but it can be managed. He said that requires that local officials think far ahead, innovate and move fast. Once the surge is on top of you – when traffic is gridlocked and affordable housing is available only on the far outskirts of a city – it’s too late.

In North Carolina, local responses to growth are limited by state law that gives the legislature final say over such tools as impact fees and affordable housing requirements. Zimmerman said Virginia’s cities face the same restraints, but Arlington worked around them by offering developers more of what they wanted in return for more of what the city needed. Arlington was also able to control growth by concentrating new offices and mid-rise housing around Metro rail stops. Wake County lacks a light rail system, but could concentrate new development around a coming network of rapid transit bus lines.

Transit is a key to smart development, Zimmerman said, but what people young and old want most are “things closer together.” They want to walk, whether from home to work, or restaurant to theater.

“What it really comes down to,” he said, “is walkability.”

What it needs to begin with, on the part of government and residents alike, is urgency and flexibility.

By: NED BARNETT, News & Observer

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Triangle homes selling at ‘historically’ rapid rate

Home sales in the Triangle’s 16-county region were up nearly 4 percent in October, and the median sales price is 8 percent above the same time period last year. Meanwhile, the average number of days a home stays on the market sunk 10 percent to 44 on the year, compared to 49 at this point in 2016, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Service.

In a separate report for the month of October, appraiser Stacey Anfindsen found that within the four core counties of Wake, Orange, Durham and Chatham, a house stayed on the market for an average of just 36 days.

“That’s historically low,” says Anfindsen, whose publication is titled the Triangle Area Residential Realty report. “It’s gone down in increments. We’re kind of at the bottom of that now.”

While homebuyers are snapping up houses at record rates, housing supply also continues to narrow. In October, the Triangle’s four core counties had an average of two months of housing inventory available. Typically, market equilibrium for inventory is considered to be about 6 months of supply.

In particular, inventory is low for homes under $400,000, and that can stifle sales, Anfindsen says. These trends aren’t new – it’s been this way for the last two years. And they seem to be holding across the board for each of the Triangle’s core counties.

The story is slightly different in Wake County, where home sales inched up 1.5 percent in October and 2.5 percent on the year. Still, the median sale price is up 8.8 percent, at $284,000. In Orange County, home sales are more sluggish. They are down 2 percent on the year, and the median home price dipped slightly, by 0.3 percent, to $306,000.

By , Triangle Business Journal

Community Graduations Ceremonies

Happy Graduation! Congratulations to the Class of 2017! We are proud of our graduates!

Hope this bit of information helps those who are attending!

Graduation day is a roller coaster of emotions for grads and their families alike. It’s a moment of celebration, achievement, and hope for the future and reflection on the past. May you always keep learning, growing, and realizing the best in yourself.

Community Graduations
Most graduation ceremonies will occur at the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh.

Check the Graduation Schedule calendar below to find out when and where your friend or loved one will be turning his or her tassel.

Livestream links will be available approximately 15 minutes before each ceremony on this Twitter account, @WCPSS

General Tips and Information for Families

  • Plan ahead. Students must be in place at least one hour before the ceremony starts. Allow significant time for traffic and parking.
  • Carpool. Share a ride from home or school and save on gas and parking.
  • Bring a City of Raleigh parking map.
  • Practice patience and watch for pedestrians. Thousands of students and patrons of other events will be on sidewalks and crosswalks. Pedestrians should observe crossing signals to stay safe.

Curbside Assistance

  • The parking spaces located along McDowell Street adjacent to the Raleigh Convention Center under the ‘Shimmer Wall’ will be reserved for passenger drop-off for the duration of the graduation schedule.
  • Golf carts will be available at the drop-off area and nearby parking garages to transport anyone with difficulty walking long distances to the doors of the Convention Center.

Traffic Alerts
WCPSS will post notifications of any traffic concerns via social media.

Concurrent Downtown Events

  • Concerts, street fairs, road races and other special events are likely to be happening nearby, especially over the weekend. Check here for updates on these events and how they might affect traffic and parking.

Please allow ample time to anticipate traffic congestion, parking issues, walking to the venue and finding your seat.

by: Marguerite Greene, right here in Apex