RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh City Council said it needs more time before deciding if Shaw University could rezone around 26 acres of campus. The request asks for zoning of up to 12, 20, and 30 stories.
Council chambers were filled for Tuesday night’s public hearing on the rezoning. The council voted to continue the public hearing at its meeting on May 2.
Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said 140 people signed up to speak in opposition to the plans. Most of them were not able to speak due to public hearing rules, which allow eight minutes per side. The council voted to extend the time.
People also spoke out against Shaw University’s campus mosque remaining closed to the public since COVID. The mosque is one of the properties requested to be rezoned.
“We don’t have an issue with the rezoning our issue is with the fact that we have a right to that property and whatever plans they have for that property they have not kept us in the loop,” said Monazza Edwards, a member of Masqid King Khalid.
The Raleigh Historic Development Commission recommends denying the plan. People at Tuesday’s meeting expressed concerns regarding the preservation of some historic buildings.
However, there are some preservation requirements as part of the plan.
Shaw University’s President Dr. Paulette Dillard was one of the people who spoke in favor of the plan.
“This strategic plan and this rezoning effort are all necessary for the institution’s future,” Dillard said. “In developing the strategic plan, we identified the greatest needs for the campus and residence halls is number one on the list, but there are a number of infrastructure upgrades that are absolutely necessary for Shaw University to continue to be able to recruit, retain, educate, and graduate students career ready.”
The Planning Commission recommends the council approves the rezoning, saying it would allow the school to provide more educational, cultural, and social opportunities and more space for housing and jobs served by transit.
Councilmember Corey Branch noted moving the hearing to May 2, instead of the next council meeting, would allow it to be after Ramadan is over and give everyone more time.