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There’s an unusual thing happening on the City Council: Two of Mayor Meeker’s cronies, Councilmen Thomas Crowder and Russell Stephenson, are up in arms about people tearing down old houses to build new ones.

Now, you wouldn’t think that would be troubling. It’s one way old neighborhoods evolve. It improves property values (having a big new house next door doesn’t hurt a bit, except when the city does property tax reevaluations). And neighborhoods that don’t rebuild, decline.

It’s hard to tell why the Mayor’s cronies are upset. About the only reason given in the newspaper – for not replacing old homes with new ones – is a critic saying the new houses block “the sunlight that would come in windows of the older homes.”

Whatever their reasons Crowder and Stephenson seem to have some pretty fixed opinions and very few qualms about backing them up with City Ordinances to stop folks who want to replace smaller older houses with bigger, newer ones. Of course, there may be more here than meets the eye. It could be the proposed new ordinances will let Stephenson and Crowder put the brakes on growth in some Raleigh neighborhoods – that, in fact, the proposed ordinances are a sort of moratorium on growth disguised as a neighborhood protection plan.

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