Stef Mendell and Russ Stephenson Ignore Public Input in Effort to Block Student Housing
Apparently, being pro-slow growth means being anti-student housing
By Brent Woodcox
In just the last year, we have seen the city council ignore the recommendations of the Citizen Engagement Task Force and vote down the compromise proposal for Airbnb regulations put forward by the Short Term Rental Task Force. Now, unfortunately, comes another story of public input and citizen engagement being shunted aside for the benefit of power hungry city councilors like Stef Mendell and Russ Stephenson.
One might ask, "What is behind all of this hostility toward growth in this area? Isn't it right on the edge of downtown and close to NC State? Shouldn't we expect growth and density there?" And one would be very reasonable to ask that. Keep in mind that this section of Hillsborough Street is very close to many high end downtown adjacent neighborhoods. Homes in these neighborhoods have median list prices of $700,000 or more and median price per square foot of $295 or more. It is populated by millionaire NIMBYs who apparently detest the idea of college students living anywhere near them. But don't take my word for it. Just listen to the NIMBY spokesperson, Donna Bailey.
Seth Hollar, of Raleigh YIMBY, has already raised the issue of Russ Stephenson's clear conflict of interest on this site. But attention to how this would personally benefit the councilor has not been enough to shame him out of forcing his opinions on citizens. Of course, we already know that several of the other folks on council were bought and paid for by Stephenson when he overthrew the mayor at the first meeting after the election and made his own appointments to city committees. Now his minions are loyally doing his bidding.
Nearly three years of work done by citizens to try to make this city a better place to live flushed because of a bunch of million dollar home owners, including one city councilor who stands to personally benefit from the scheme, call the shots in this city.
And what is Stef Mendell's response to all of this? You can read it right here.
Elections have consequences, indeed. This one did. And, apparently, the consequence is that Russ Stephenson and Stef Mendell rule with an iron fist for the next two years. Citizen input be damned!