North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park Could Upzone for Mixed-Use, Housing

A new proposal reimagines the primarily industrial and office-oriented area to a ‘15-minute city.’

2 minute read

December 12, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Local leaders in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park (RTP) are proposing zoning changes that would make the area more mixed-use and boost density in the economically fertile but sprawling region, writes Mary Helen Moore in a story for The News & Observer.

According to Research Triangle Foundation CEO and president Scott Levitan, “the development model for RTP has not really kept up with the way innovation communities around our country and around the world have evolved,” with 20 percent of the area covered by surface parking lots.

Now, the foundation is developing a vision modeled on the ’15-minute city’ concept that would bring a wider variety of businesses and homes to the area and make it easier for residents, workers, and visitors to get around.

RTP straddles two counties, Durham and Wake, and is specially zoned for low-density campuses. “Levitan said they aim to ask both counties for a new overlay for the park by the end of 2024, giving private land owners considerable options for future development.” The proposed overlay would include three new ‘place types:’ enhanced corporate campus, residential neighborhoods with amenities like grocery stores, and mixed-use density nodes. Additionally, “Because landowners in RTP are governed by private covenants, the RTP Planning Board could require environmentally sustainable design or affordable housing, which the state of North Carolina preempts local governments from doing.”

Park leaders are also interested in mirroring Durham’s ‘social district,’ which allows people to walk around with alcoholic beverages in a designated commercial area.

Sunday, December 10, 2023 in The News & Observer

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