The NIMBYs are Winning

By Brent Woodcox

As has been covered previously on this site, the rate of Raleigh’s growth has seen a substantial slowdown over the last couple years.

Raleigh, with the leadership of this so-called “new majority” on city council, is quickly earning a reputation for being impossible to deal with when it comes to new development.

It showed this week as Durham, not Raleigh, was named the #1 city for Millennials in a study done by Growella. Charlotte ranked #6 in that same study. Raleigh came in way back in the back at #22. At least we beat out Greensboro, I guess.

Additionally, trends are now showing that Wake County that had previously been gaining population at a rate of 67 people per day has now slowed that growth to just 63 people per day according to the most recent Census numbers.

I would submit that part of the reason for that slow down has been policies from this council that are anti-growth and designed to stifle new development. Counties around us have actually siphoned off some of the growth that previously was going to Raleigh. Population growth in Chatham, Franklin and Johnston counties outpaced Wake in the most recent year.

Maybe that’s exactly what some members of this council think they were elected to do. To build a wall around Raleigh through red tape and restrictive regulations that make it harder to move here, thereby slowing the rate of the city’s change.

But, for those of us who want a Raleigh that is progressing, a Raleigh that is planning for growth not shunning it, a Raleigh that is moving into the future thoughtfully and with optimism, it’s time for a wake up call. This council intends to stop us dead in our tracks.

Now comes updated numbers showing the the rate of growth has slowed to 60 people per day. That’s more than a 10% drop in growth over a short period of time.

Now some of this is due no doubt to rising housing prices in Raleigh as compared to outlying municipalities and towns in Wake County and adjacent counties. But this slow down in growth here and an influx of population into nearby areas has real and negative consequences. For one, new numbers show that 50% of all commutes in North Carolina cross county lines.

And you better believe that cities like Raleigh and counties like Wake that are epicenters for job creation in our state but with political leaders that are unwilling or unable to keep up the pace building housing for the people who would take those jobs are a driving factor in why North Carolinians are driving so much to get to their jobs.

Again, certainly, part of this conversation is how we can develop a better regional transportation plan that will commuters the realistic option of getting out of their cars and taking an alternate mode of transportation.

But one of the simplest policy changes that elected leaders could be making is eluding us. Build housing where the jobs are. On that question, the NIMBYs are winning.

Brent Woodcox