Comments on: Near North Nears Next Review it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Hilton John Hilton Sun, 18 Jan 2009 06:51:05 +0000 NCPOA didn’t oppose the original condo project because we didn’t want “those people” as neighbors–we opposed it because it was too big. As a neighbor said at the meeting, many of us would like to see this version work precisely because Avalon is involved.

By: anonymous anonymous Sun, 18 Jan 2009 00:16:35 +0000 It sounds like questioning the developer’s motives is really NIMBY code for “we don’t want those people here”.

By: John Hilton John Hilton Sat, 17 Jan 2009 16:25:08 +0000 Thanks for a careful and accurate report. As “Neighbor” notes, NCPOA actively supports redevelopment in our area. Since Letty Wickliffe (may she rest in peace) drafted me into the group in 1981, we’ve helped win approval for about 30 condo and rental units and the 201 Depot office building. In that same period we’ve opposed just one project: 3 Oaks’ first version of this building, four years ago.

That plan was for market-rate condos, not affordable housing, but physically it was identical to the first iteration of “Near North”: it would have had more than 60,000 square feet of floor space, THREE TIME the size permitted under the current zoning. The Central Area Plan calls for even lower density–it envisions one- or two-family units there.

The condos would have overwhelmed the neighborhood, and we told 3 Oaks that we would fight them if they took the plan into planning. They backed off then, and we hoped they would return with a project that we could support. Instead, they returned with the same project but a new partner, Avalon Housing.

As several of us stressed at earlier meetings, we admire Avalon’s work, and appreciate them as a neighbor–they already own two well-managed houses on that same block. But Avalon’s involvement doesn’t change the fact that 3 Oaks still wants to put a downtown building in a residential area. As you note, the current building is about 1/3 smaller than the first version–but so is the lot 3 Oaks is proposing to sell.

That’s the issue I and others were trying to get at with our questions about what 3 Oaks paid for the property. We must not have done a very good job, since two people I admire–Peter Pollack and Sandi Smith–spoke up to say that we shouldn’t question 3 Oaks’ motives.

For me, the question is not whether 3 Oaks sincerely wants to build affordable housing–the question is why it can’t building housing, at any price, that respects the existing neighborhood.

By: Neighbor Neighbor Sat, 17 Jan 2009 10:18:02 +0000 Nice summary, Dave. Thanks for the thorough coverage. One thing to add about the $33K income level discussion is that all of the units would be 1 bedroom and the typical tenant would be a single person. The examples that Stu and Yolanda gave involved families struggling on that income level. That there is a desperate & huge need for supportive and below-market rate housing is not in question. However, the planning process exists to be sure that structures and their uses are consistent with the long-term growth plans for neighborhoods. If Stu personally knew some of these neighbors – he might appreciate that they have spent their lifetimes and much of their energy assisting others in distress – including offering their own homes to house people in need. In addition, the North Central Property Owners Association (NCPOA) has a record of support for development in the neighborhood. This is the only project that we’ve ever voiced serious opposition to. Hopefully, we will be able to continue to work with the developer to get to a project that we can support.

Also, when Bill Godfrey asked what density would be acceptable, audience members did reply as we have at previous meetings and in writing in response to previous plans. We suggest 20 units & 3 stories with a FAR called for in the exisitng zoning. This project as currently proposed, while lower in units (but not FAR) from earlier versions, greatly exceeds all of those limits.