Comments on: “Connecting William” To Be Resource Plan it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Shirley Zempel Shirley Zempel Sun, 17 Mar 2013 21:59:27 +0000 I have commented to City Council about the uncomfortable heat rising from the concrete cement around the Library. When we had a community picnic last summer, the combination of large areas of concrete floor plus the sun radiating the heat which was intolerable even on a moderately warm day was very uncomfortable to me and others, I’m sure. I was told there was not enough room for trees that might cut some of the heating effect. I suggest maybe smaller trees around the periphery that would not have terribly large root system and/or grass and shrubs in stead of solid concrete. There’s nothing pleasant about roasting in the sun.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Wed, 13 Mar 2013 14:08:06 +0000 Putting opinions about the CWS plan aside, this action had serious procedural flaws. The discussion also highlights a disturbing trend among some planning commissioners. More and more, some seem to be making planning decisions based on their personal views, rather than on any public-oriented planning process.

We heard Eric Mahler bring up “security” when he was on the RFP advisory committee for the Library Lot. This is a code word he uses for the homeless. Bonnie Bona repeatedly pushes for more intense development, regardless of the situation. There are other examples. In addition, Kirk Westphal’s action on this was doubtless colored by the fact that he was on the committee devising the plan.

My view of the role of planning commissioners is that they should serve as adjudicators of planning decisions, based on plans that have been approved by the City Council after the full array of community-based review. They should not be advocates who make arbitrary decisions based on their own personal visions.

In this case, Council had never been given an opportunity to respond formally to a report which they themselves commissioned. Evidently the response of Council at a working session was cool to the report. This action appears to have been an end-run around Council.

This action of adding the CWS report to planning documents at the last minute, without a properly noticed public hearing, without any past indication that such an action was contemplated, and in addition to the biases shown by individual commissioners, casts a dubious light on the very integrity of the Planning Commission and the city’s planning organization.

My heartfelt thanks to Commissioner Wendy Woods for her courage in going against the current on this and other recent issues. She certainly has the long experience in city government to lend credibility to her conclusions.

By: Will Hathaway Will Hathaway Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:12:08 +0000 Because of the confused, short notice for the public hearing and the limitations placed on individual speakers, those of us who attempted to explain what is wrong with the DDA’s report were at an extreme disadvantage during the March 5 Planning Commission meeting.

Here is a more complete critique of the Connecting William Street process and a more accurate representation of the alternative proposed by the Library Green Conservancy: [link to .pdf]

The Library Green folks are hopeful that the Parks Advisory Commission will be able to look at the need and potential for downtown open space more objectively than the DDA.

By: Tom Whitaker Tom Whitaker Wed, 13 Mar 2013 01:27:01 +0000 Even though the council that was in place in November 2009 may have had little qualms in going against the master plan, the expert studies, and the will of the people in order to promote their density agenda; and, even though that council approved D1 on the north side of Huron with eyes wide open, FOUR of the members of that council are no longer at the table, and a fifth voted against the A2D2 zoning in the first place. Now we have a council that is more attuned to what the citizens and experts expressed in all the studies and recommendations and plans made between 2000 and 2009.

They are fully empowered to right the ship and they should do so.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Tue, 12 Mar 2013 20:19:36 +0000 Clein “indicated that the ‘stir’ about the 413 E. Huron project – a proposed 14-story apartment building at Huron and Division – is caused in part because people didn’t understand what could be built on that site under D1 zoning.”

As I recall the A2D2 deliberations by Council, neighbors spoke slowly in short sentences comprised of easily understood vocabulary to explain the terrible consequences of approving D-1 zoning for the 413 E. Huron property. For those incapable of understanding plain English, one neighbor provided a scale drawing of what could be built on D-1 property compared to the two-story homes to the immediate north.

No one should argue that Council, or the public for that matter, misunderstood what could be built on the 413 E. Huron property when Council approved the A2D2 zoning changes. It is incomprehensible for Mr. Clein to assert that the 413 E. Huron disaster was caused by some kind of misunderstanding.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:53:45 +0000 The vote by the Planning Commission to designate various documents, including the Connecting William Street recommendations, as “Resource Information In Support Of The City Master Plan” was improper and has no legal validity. As mentioned in the article, the Planning Commission’s rules require an agenda with all relevant documents to be posted by Friday of the week preceding the meeting. The Commission’s agenda was posted without the resolution and therefore could not be acted upon at this meeting.

Looking at the meeting agenda in the days prior to the meeting, I understood the Commission intent to be that it would consider adopting the CWS recommendations as part of the Master Plan. That effort, of course, would not have majority support on Council and therefore could lead a citizen to believe that attendance at the Commission meeting was unnecessary.

Instead of pursuing that pointless goal, the Commission announced for the first time at its meeting that it would adopt the CWS recommendations as an official resource document for planners to rely upon in the future. The agenda did not reveal this intended course of action and thus, citizens were denied the opportunity to attend and speak on the use of this report as a basis for future planning efforts.

The Planning Commission needs to revoke its prior improper actions regarding the CWS recommendations and properly provide advance notice of a public hearing on the adoption of the CWS plan as an official planning document.