Jan 152014

I am wondering how everyone feels about the proposed 9 story apartment/mixed use building proposed downtown…. post comment…

 Posted by at 8:23 pm

  One Response to “9 story Building…..Pro or Con?”

  1. The 9 Story or 4 stories over the agreed upon 5 stories is one issue, but the new zoning rules, smart code with warrants, is another issue all together. The new zoning rules allows Matthew Lewis, (head planning official) the right to decide what constitutes a warrant (4 more stories), variance, or zoning change. This effectively removes the oversight from the city council, and creates a fast-track for controversial projects that end at the planning & zoning commission. Zoning in our town is our democratic right. It is how we express our culture and life here. We should be the ones that determine what we value and what is important to us (the river for one). If we aren’t considered in this process, then we are just the vassals to the city/developer lords. Smart code isn’t bad in itself, but the way it’s implemented derails our access to local government and democracy. The quest for zoning that doesn’t promote sprawl is a worthy quest, but let us not get confused as to the way the zoning is implemented. We need to have the same amount of oversight as before in the zoning process, with the city council being the deciding local government body. The city council should also be the deciding government body as to whether the project requires a warrant, a variance, or a rezoning. In the same vein, the importance of 4 additional stories, is a detour from the 5 story limit that was hashed out in the recent masterplan rewrite. This might be viewed as an undemocratic breaking of the citizen-town covenant, with the citizen presentation meetings, citizen comments, and other types of education/outreach being “Lip Service” to an open and democratic government. In my opinion the 4 extra stories is a rezoning, not a warrant as Matthew Lewis decided and should have more review time in the decision process not a fast tracked.

    The following is why the city council needs to be the final authority on all zoning, warrant, and variance changes. A paraphrased quote from Jan 20th P&Z meeting that heard the “warrant” exception, To Carson the developer from Bill Taylor P&Z chair ” Mr Carson, is it going to throw off your schedule if we wait two weeks before we decide?” Mr Carson’s answer ” No, two weeks is ok, but not much more than that” ….

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