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Raleigh council to vote on Stanhope height Tuesday

The Raleigh City Council is expected to decide Tuesday whether a seven-story building is too tall for Hillsborough Street.

The Stanhope Center is a controversial apartment complex planned for the intersection of Hillsborough and Concord Street, near N.C. State University. The council’s three-member Comprehensive Planning Committee again voted down the developer's request for seven floors last week, saying the project should be limited to five.

After the first rejection last month, developer Val Valentine offered to reduce the building’s overall height to 79 feet. Robin Currin, an attorney for Valentine, said losing two floors would be too costly.

“The difference between five and seven stories is a big financial difference,” she said. “We do not think the internal stories will make a difference visually.”

Councilman Russ Stephenson sided with neighbors, pointing out that allowing seven stories would set a precedent for future developments. Several neighbors expressed their continued opposition to the plans at last week’s meeting.

“Seven stories is just too tall, and it’s too close to the damn street,” said Chuck Grantham, who owns a retail building nearby. He called the visual effect a "royal canyon."

Bonner Gaylord was the only councilman on the committee who supported the proposal. “I feel like it’s reasonable and I’d be prepared to move forward.”

This week's council meeting starts at 1 p.m. at City Hall, 222 W. Hargett St. Also on tap: a possible historic designation for Oberlin Cemetery, a loan for downtown business Trig Modern and a lease agreement for the old Stone's Warehouse property. That's where developers want to build affordable apartments marketed to artists.

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