There is a big rezone case going on in West Raleigh – a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) wants to rezone the house right next to an abortion clinic on Jones Franklin Rd in Raleigh. At this time, they claim they plan to use the building of the house, but to completely redesign the yard for parking, etc. The case, Z-7-16, passed the zoning commission and goes to the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday, Jun 21, 2016, at 2pm. The Raleigh NOW president is going and plans to speak, based on experience with clinic defense and also issues and workarounds with rezones. Would love to have other pro-choice and concerned citizens supporting the clinic and many concerned neighbors.
E.L. Sanders lives in that neighborhood and has been writing letters to the editor (ltes) and organizing to help the clinic and her neighborhood. See “E.L. Sanders: Harassment not needed at clinic,” News and Observer, 5/6/16.
This is what the clinic and neighbors don’t want! Harassment. Dangerous access from next door. Doctors and staff in more danger of attacks.
Step 1 – the rezone case passes the West Raleigh Citizen’s Advisory Council (CAC) after intense debate.
According to “Anti-abortion group seeks office next to Raleigh abortion clinic,” News and Observer, 4/27/16, “On Tuesday evening [Apr 26, 2016], more than 50 people appeared at a meeting of the West Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council to argue over whether an anti-abortion group should get a rezoning that would allow it to have an office next door to a clinic on Jones Franklin Road that offers abortion services.”
Step 2: Planning Commission
The Raleigh Public Record weighed in on May 5, 2016 – Development Beat: A Hand of Hope, 5/5/16. “One of the main concerns a lot of neighbors and others in the Raleigh community had was that the new Resource Center would be used as a staging ground for the weekly anti-abortion protests held outside the Health Center.”
And this seems terribly fast to me, having been involved in more than my share of planning commission meetings myself. On May 10, 3016, “Planning Commission Approves Zoning Request for Pregnancy Resource Center.” Maybe it was this fast because Valid Statutory Protest Petitions are no longer allowed?
Step 3: Raleigh City Council – still can refuse the rezone or add conditions
No matter what, the City has an obligation to consider neighbors’ concerns and existing business, doctor and staff concerns of safety, quality of life and ability to work, as they claim on their webpage. They can refuse this rezone and make sure future rezones include the condition that can’t be a business in conflict with the existing next door business. Or more likely they will want to pass it – BUT THEY CAN PUT MANY SAFEGUARDING CONDITIONS ON THE REZONE!!
They can require a 10 foot high brick wall. They can require a thick tree zone in between the properties (and next to high wall). They can require driveway and parking lot be a certain distance away from the tree zone/other property.
In general, the rezone procedure is a tool for developers and needs adjustment, but within standard procedures are tools the City Council can use to make this rezone less of a disaster.
Please come support Sanders and the women’s clinic if you can. Again – 2pm on Tuesday, Jun 21, 2016.
Harassment is terrible for patients and staff, but attacks on clinics are real and deadly. Condition could prohibit any medical center.
In any case, there is a clear and present danger for the existing women’s clinic and the city must take steps to protect it now either by voting against the rezone or adding sufficient safeguard conditions on the property (high wall, thick trees, driveway and parking lot placement away from clinic).