Council Approves Staff Recommendations for Mission Residence

Share:

missioin-residence

After listening to a mixture of different perspectives on the proposed project along B Street, the council went through three different motions before coming back to almost the place they started.  They voted 4-1 to approve the staff recommendation, with the modification from Mayor Joe Krovoza that the plan be site-specific and not impact the zoning of adjacent properties.

The project, put forward by downtown applicant and developer Jim Kidd, calls for combining two adjacent lots, removing the existing homes and constructing a four-story 14-unit condominium building.

The project requires an amendment to the Core Area Specific Plan and Planned Development standards to allow a Floor Area Ratio of 2.0 (where 1.0 is permitted unless there is a bonus) and density of 42.4 units/acre (where 24 units/acre is allowed).

While the project goes up as far as a fourth story, the applicant and architects argued that the setbacks made it virtually impossible to see the fourth story from the street.

Difficulties in adhering to stipulations on owner-occupancy requirements led the council to briefly put forth the motion of a senior-only age restricted project that would enable the city, by law, to restrict occupancy to those over the age of 62.  However, the project applicant had concerns about filling the project, and the council was ultimately uncomfortable with that idea.

When the Senior Citizen Commission reviewed the project, they unanimously approved a motion that the project should not be age restricted, but they applaud the effort to make it as universally designed as possible, and to promote it as such.  It was clarified to the Vanguard that they were not opposed to age restrictions, but did not feel it was necessary.

The Planning Commission had unanimously recommended a denial of the application, citing the inconsistency with the plan for B Street that was approved in 2007, with no subsequent city council direction for a changed vision, as well as the potential for occupancy by groups of undergraduate students – particularly given the site’s proximity to campus.  They were also concerned with the overall height and density in context with the neighborhood.

In a letter on behalf of the University Avenue/Rice Lane Neighborhood Association, neighbors stated their “opposition,” noting that “the City took several years to complete the ‘Policy Development’ and ‘Policy Implementation’ phases for the B Street Visioning Process.”  It was a lengthy process with extensive community outreach.

They argue that “these proposed amendments and waivers” “must be denied because they fail to meet the criteria established by the Core Area Specific Plan” and “there have been no changed circumstances since 2007 to support city staff recommendations.”

Jim Kidd said that, under a CC&R (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) he could restrict the people in the building to only owner occupants.  In other words, “who’s ever on the deed, he has to occupy the building or his condo unit.”

“The significance of that is that all present and future purchasers of the property have to be owner occupants, so it carries ad infinitum and there’s no exceptions to it,” Mr. Kidd told the council.

In the course of discussion, however, staff indicated that the city would have no ability to enforce the CC&R.  It was also noted that, in the West Central Park development, parents of a college student had paid the $700,000 and put the deed in their name, effectively short-circuiting the intent here, which was to ensure that no college students lived in the building.

This would ultimately lead the council to temporarily consider the age-restricted provision that would be enforceable at 62 or older.

Breilan Gowan spoke for the project opponents, as a 40-year resident and a member of the Central Park West Homeowners Association.  He said that the senior component has nothing to do with the suitability for this project, “whether it’s owner occupied or not really doesn’t go to the fundamental issues of what we’re talking about there.”

He said they support the Planning Commission’s unanimous ruling that this project be rejected.  He said, “It clearly violates all of the planning documents that arose out of the EIR, the 3rd and B visioning process.”  He noted that was an extensive outreach process in 2007, and therefore the council should respect that process, even as the council has turned over during that time.

He said city staff “would have you believe that this is not a 180 degree change with regards to these 11 parcels and they say this project is consistent with city policies and council goals which simply need clarification on the intent for development for this area.”

He argued that this is a much bigger deal.  He argued that there were differences between the draft EIR and what was finally implemented in the final EIR that specifically precluded what emerged in the Mission Residence project.

“The fundamental policy changes that city staff is proposing require full public input,” he said.  “If the vision of this city council is different then the 2007 City Council and you want to change direction, we have a process for that.  We did it in 2006 and 2007, and it resulted in public input and public buy in. Until then, we just beg you, don’t do rezoning piecemeal.”

The public, in general, was mixed in terms of their views of the project.  John Natsoulas said he was very excited about this project, saying, “This is a great use of space, aesthetically this is amazing.”

Gale Sosnick argued that, as the university expands, she can’t think of a better place for people without children to live.  She did say that the age restriction did not make any sense, as you want people who can work at the university and could walk there.

“I also am concerned when the rules of the game change,” she said.  “When Mr. Kidd started this project he was told he could have 16 units, and because a group of self-serving people who live in the University area want to preserve their particular turf the rules changed.  I think it’s immoral for someone to spend money on something they were promised and then pull the rug out from under them…”

Kari Fry lives on University between 3rd and 4th Streets, and she argued that the rental units cause far more impact than the owner occupancy units in terms of the number of cars and debris that end up in the alleyway.  “The idea of this project being owner-occupied required is a real critical thing and makes the concessions potentially outside the guidelines very worthwhile.”

Former Councilmember Stephen Souza supported the project, arguing he was part of the dialogue that went on in this “transition zone between our downtown and neighborhood.”  He argued that, prior to this process, there were four different zoning schemes for this area but “it really didn’t have any guidance.”

He argued that, without this process, it would have been a “hodgepodge” and that this brought consistency to the people who live in this area.

On the other hand, residents such as former Mayor Sue Greenwald opposed the project.  She argued that the process has been very unfair to the project opponents and that she just found out about this two days ago.

“The hall was filled with opponents to the last densification plan,” she said, noting the three-year process.  “Today what staff has done is recommend throwing this out without any warning to the neighborhoods.”  She added, “I’d just like to say this isn’t the way you (go about this).”  These massive changes have happened with “no warning whatsoever.”

Former Mayor Maynard Skinner argued that they knew the neighborhood was going to change.  “Our position was reasonable densification and scope, no apartments, we have enough of those,” he said.  He added that they had agreed on no four-story buildings.

“With that in mind, we participated in the visioning process and that seems to have worked quite well,” he said.

Marie Ogydziak and her husband David, who own property in the area, spoke out against the project.  In a letter they write, “Mr. Kidd knows that this is exactly what the neighborhood will fight most strongly.  He proposes a large project that initially had some attractive features.”

But she added, “It turns out that the project will not be seniors’ only” that “owner occupancy cannot be ensured” and that “it has half-level sunken parking and not true underground parking that is a full level down.”

Joe Krovoza would argue that it is hard to picture what it is going to be like on B Street.  He noted that we’re doubling the number of units, that there is no space in between them and there is no assurance from staff that if we allow these changes on this parcel that the nature of B St. isn’t going to be radically changed.

City Staff, notably Katherine Hess, argued that the changes are barely visible from the street and the impacts are barely different from Central Park West.

Here is the graphic they showed to make that point:

mission-central-park-west

Rochelle Swanson argued that she likes the owner occupancy requirement because it would be a tragedy if it becomes a rental.  Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk noted that, while he recognizes that it impacts the neighbors, he thought it was a good project and he was glad to support it but did not want the age restriction.

Councilmember Swanson added that we need to look at overall needs of the whole community, as the key is not whether this is a good project, but really is looking at whether we will go piecemeal.  She argued it’s a consistent theme, and this is not outside of the theme.

Ultimately, Mayor Krovoza was willing to support this project with the stipulation added to the motion that this would not become precedent setting, but rather the changes would apply to this parcel only.

Brett Lee ended up being the only opposition to the changes.  “I think the design is very nice,” he said, noting it was something he could move into in 15 years or so.  “The fact that it’s not senior-only, I’m not sure why we would discard the current zoning without having a more community based process where, at least if we get the feedback and if we choose to go a different direction, we at least address them in a more comprehensive process.”

He said, on the one hand “I see it as a desirable place to live for the people who would live there, but I also feel that the process has not been respectful of all the work that has gone before it.”

As stated, the motion would pass 4-1, with Brett Lee being the opposing vote.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

44 thoughts on “Council Approves Staff Recommendations for Mission Residence”

  1. SODA

    I watched this last night and it was amazing how it changed over time then back to beginning. With Jim Kidd’s track record with the city (Anderson building issues, trees, etc) am surprised everyone seemed to be very anxious to approve it. Will be interesting to see in 5-10 yrs how many are owner occupied since there is no enforcement…..

  2. Mr.Toad

    “On the other hand, residents such as former Mayor Sue Greenwald opposed the project.”
    “The hall was filled with opponents to the last densification plan,” she said, noting the three-year process.

    Another unintended consequence of Measure J that was brought to the voters of Davis by Sue Greenwald. Densification is good for someone else’s back yard but not Sue’s. Beware of what you ask for Sue.

    Honestly though I’m sad. i would prefer Davis spreads out but everyone seems to be for going in and up until its in their own barrio. Maybe its time to rethink this entire density thing before it comes to a neighborhood near you.

  3. dlemongello

    The plan called for densification, just not this much or this high. That is what the plan was for, but someone always thinks they can get an exception and push things farther.

  4. Mark West

    Blind devotion to process often times gets in the way of sound decision making.

    If Davis is going to be a good partner in the region we have to be ready to take on our share of the population growth that is coming. If we are going to block all development outward, then the only other option is to go up. This looks like a good project for the site and a good decision by the Council.

  5. Davis Progressive

    “Maybe its time to rethink this entire density thing before it comes to a neighborhood near you.”

    if people are in favor of growth controls on the periphery, then they have to be willing to give on height and density. they can’t have it both ways.

  6. Davis Progressive

    “Blind devotion to process often times gets in the way of sound decision making.”

    so here’s my problem with this comment. the city engaged the public in 2006 and 2007, they got buy in by the neighbors and an agreement on parameters and limits. ok. so then you bring forward as one of your first projects something that violates those agreements? if that’s the case, why would citizens engage in the process and compromise if they are going to get undermined by the next council?

  7. Mark West

    “why would citizens engage in the process and compromise if they are going to get undermined by the next council?”

    Because maybe they understand that the world changes and decisions made 5-10 years ago (or before) are no longer in the best interests of the town.

    The current Council is the one that best reflects the views of the electorate today (we elected them after all).

    Another question that is equally valid. Why should the residents of one neighborhood be the only ones making a decision that impacts the entire town?

  8. Davis Progressive

    i don’t know that it does. it seems like a lot of the neighborhood was wanting to keep the agreement they had made six years ago.

    “Another question that is equally valid. Why should the residents of one neighborhood be the only ones making a decision that impacts the entire town? “

    no reason they should, but they are the ones who have sunk their lifesavings and have the most direct effects. that makes them stakeholders in a much more direct sense than i have.

  9. Mark West

    “[i]but they are the ones who have sunk their lifesavings and have the most direct effects. that makes them stakeholders in a much more direct sense than i have.[/i]”

    I agree that they are stakeholders, but to grant them preeminence in this decision is nothing more than enshrining NIMBY’ism.

    The Council should be commended for looking beyond the wishes of one neighborhood and evaluating a project based on the needs of the City as a whole. I hope this is a model for future decisions.

  10. Growth Izzue

    Toad
    [quote]Honestly though I’m sad. i would prefer Davis spreads out [/quote]

    That’s what you want, but the other 75% of Davis prefers infill. Sad you’ll have to be.

  11. Davis Progressive

    “I agree that they are stakeholders, but to grant them preeminence in this decision is nothing more than enshrining NIMBY’ism.”

    i fail to see how the visioning process which had broad community involvement does as you suggest.

    don’t you think if the council makes an agreement it should stick with that? a lot of people worked hard on that process. if they continue to renege, then why are citizens going to participate?

  12. Don Shor

    [url]https://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1188:neighborhood-guidelines-trump-green-on-b-street-project&catid=53:land-useopen-space&Itemid=86[/url]
    Maria Ogrydziak must be gnashing her teeth today.

  13. Mark West

    “[i]don’t you think if the council makes an agreement it should stick with that?[/i]”

    I do not advocate ignoring past decisions, nor should we disenfranchise a neighborhood when considering development proposals. Past decisions, City history, and neighborhood preferences are all important inputs, but none alone should be used to prevent sound decision making. The Council needs to make decisions based on the situation today, and what they believe are the needs of the City in the future. If we don’t like the decisions they make, we elect a different Council. That is the primary way that citizens participate.

    We should encourage our leaders to learn from our history and lead us into the future, not blindly follow the path of previous devotions.

  14. Growth Izzue

    Just saw a flyer on my mailbox that a new development is being considered on 25 acres in Wildhorse Ranch. Community meetings will be held. This is the first news I’ve seen of this, has anyone else heard anything?

  15. Ryan Kelly

    [quote]Maria Ogrydziak must be gnashing her teeth today.[/quote]

    I suppose so. This would explain her opposition to this project. Sort of a revenge response. However, her project design was uuuuugggly – a square 4 story box and a roof top garden (the “green” element) that was inappropriate for this climate and no one would see.

  16. Robb Davis

    FWIW-I appreciate the back and forth between Mark West and Davis Progressive here. This is not a black and white issue and it is one I wrestle with. There are few elements to think about as we try to engage citizens and at the same time leave space for elected officials to act:

    1. At what level should citizen involvement be sought? Should citizens have the opportunity to, essentially, develop design and development guidelines for their neighborhoods? Which neighborhoods should have this right (only those well enough organized to request it?)

    2. Should citizen input be advisory or have decision making force (deliberative or decisive)? Who should decide this? Shouldn’t it be clear to participants in community dialogue whether their voice is one or the other?

    3. Even if citizens have a decisive voice how long is the “decision” in force? How often should it be revisited?

    4. What standards might be developed to which CC could appeal that would allow them to abrogate decisions made by citizens? (I am not talking about ballot initiatives here but rather things like guidance on design standards, for example, that get codified in guiding documents).

    I do not have the answer to any of these questions but I think Mark and DP each raise critical concerns. The bottom line for me is how to both encourage citizen engagement (by not discouraging people by not honoring their preferences) while providing flexibility to decision makers in specific cases.

  17. Ryan Kelly

    This is what infill looks like – Tall & dense. This is what people have been calling for as an alternate to development on the periphery of town.

  18. Robb Davis

    You are correct Ryan and we already have it in a few areas around town (especially in South Davis). It is interesting to me, coming as I do from an old eastern city the size of Davis (population wise), to compare how people view density and height as appropriate or not in the core. Out there multi-story (4 and higher) mixed use buildings as part of the landscape in the core and have been for nearly 200 years. The architectural styles can vary and they bring character to the core. Trading them for one story buildings would seem odd as they offer both retail and housing above.

  19. Mark West

    Robb Davis: “[i]Should citizen input be advisory or have decision making force[/i]”

    As far as I am concerned, all citizen input short of an election, should be viewed as advisory.

    I see no reason to give any ‘special interest group,’ (and a neighborhood organization is in every detail a ‘special interest group’) a decision making voice when that decision impacts the entire city. We only get to elect the City Council, so the City Council is the only group that should be making the decision. Not the Staff, not the Commissions, the media, blog posters, special interest groups, and certainly not some busybody threatening another lawsuit, referendum or initiative. They all have their place in the discussion, and all are clearly stakeholders, but they are not the decision makers unless they stand for and win an election.

  20. Davis Progressive

    mark: “all citizen input short of an election, should be viewed as advisory.”

    while i agree with you here, the point in question is not the advisory capacity, but the policy that was passed by council based on that capacity.

  21. Mark West

    “the point in question is not the advisory capacity, but the policy that was passed by council based on that capacity.”

    So in your view, the current Council should always be subject to the decision of the past ones? How does that allow us to evolve with the changing environment? When you consider just the economic environment, things can change significantly in a manner of months, yet you seem to be saying that the Council should stick with a decision made 5-10 years before and ignore the new reality? How does that make any sense?

    Some of the past Council members who made the policy decision in question ran for re-election and were defeated. Could that not be in-part due to the electorate deciding that they did not like the past policy decisions? I think it is healthy and appropriate for the current Council to question any and all past decisions when they come up again. They should not be rejected outright, but they also should not be viewed as perpetual monuments to past ideals.

  22. Davis Progressive

    “So in your view, the current Council should always be subject to the decision of the past ones? “

    no. but if you want to change the process, then you set up a new and transparent process to change it.

  23. Mark West

    No, good decisions are simply good decisions. The other stuff is marketing.

    When we reject a good idea solely because it bypasses process we restrict our ability to react to the rapidly changing environment and thereby handicap our ability to survive and prosper in the real world. Why is Davis facing such extremely difficult financial conditions today? Because we are slaves to process and continue to follow the poor policy decisions of past Councils. How can we expect to change our situation if we refuse to change our process and policies?

  24. Mark West

    Don Shor: “[i]Not much point, then, in updating the General Plan, since the many hours of citizen input would be obsolete with the next council election[/i].”

    That would only be true Don if the people working on the new General Plan did not reflect the interests of the electorate as a whole. If the electorate is fairly represented, then you would expect a newly elected Council to share the values expressed in a newly developed plan. If the General Plan does not accurately reflect the will of the electorate, then something is wrong with the process used to develop the plan.

  25. Don Shor

    No, I think it is often the case that people elect council members for reasons that have little to do with their specific expertise in land use planning, water issues, fluoride, plastic bags, or fireplaces. We have long experience in Davis with council majorities that were clearly out of step with the electorate regarding development issues, but who nevertheless got elected and re-elected.
    Land developers love your approach. All they have to do persuade 3 councilmembers and a couple of key staff people, and they can get an override on zoning, General Plan principles, commission reviews, or whatever annoying hurdles they see as obstacles.

  26. JustSaying

    I haven’t seen any attempt to identify this as a good decision yet. The main contention seems to be that the council has the power to do what it did and that it should be able to make such decisions ’cause times change.

    But, the list of violations of city plans and standards seems long without any try at making cases that the waivers make the project a better one for the city.

    When you’re too embarrassed with a decision to allow it to apply to future, similar projects in the same neighborhood, there has to be something at play that the rest of us don’t get to know about.

    This project seemed destined to get approval Tuesday night even though it barely resembled its earlier iteration in many significant aspects. It seems that the justification for ignoring the already intentionally liberal standards was simply, “the developer wants it.”

    How does a reduction in the number of parking spaces to well below the minimum required benefit the city? How does increasing its height to 50 feet benefit the city? Why would the city approve nearly doubling the density? How does going against the three commissions that reviewed it benefit the city?

    The size of the building isn’t close to what was expected by anyone involved in developing the “transition zone” along B Street or those who’ve been tracking this particular project. Apparently the new look (1960s Massive) was a surprise to neighbors, who probably aren’t reassured that the fourth story and steeple might not be too visable from one of the four sides,

    It doesn’t take much to visualize this building in 5 or 10 years. Occupied by 60 or so college kids, thanks to their wealthy parents who buy the condos and the former, senior residents (now landlords) driven out as the student population took over. We can hope the well-bred students will be well-behaved, but the purposely inadequate parking may generate a few fights amongst residents and their neighbors.

    The historic one-story next door will suffer in the shade and noise until also driven away and replaced by another four-story-plus monstrosity.

    The chances that future B Street projects won’t be able get at least the same accommodations (in spite of the Mayor’s odd condition for his vote) are slim to none. In a few years, we can rename B Street, “The Great Wall of Krovoza.”

  27. Mark West

    Don Shor: “We have long experience in Davis with council majorities that were clearly out of step with the electorate regarding development issues, but who nevertheless got elected and re-elected.”

    I think it is fair to say that we have elected Council majorities that were clearly out of step with a vocal minority of the electorate on development issues (including you), but you cannot say they are out of step with the electorate as a whole if the electorate as a whole just elected them. Sorry.

  28. Don Shor

    Who passed Covell Village?
    What happened to the council members who voted for it?
    What was the margin against it?
    Did it tank their careers for having been on the losing end of such a lopsided vote?
    Why was Measure J passed?
    Why was it extended as Measure R?
    How many times has widening Richards Blvd. gone before the voters of Davis?
    What exactly is your definition of a “vocal minority” when the voters have, on more than one occasion, rejected the development decisions of the council majority — and then proceeded to re-elect them or promote them to higher office?
    Sorry.

  29. Mr.Toad

    “All they have to do persuade 3 councilmembers and a couple of key staff people, and they can get an override on zoning, General Plan principles, commission reviews, or whatever annoying hurdles they see as obstacles.”

    But those three votes are answerable to the electorate where the commissioners are not. That is why they take an oath and are entrusted with the decision because they are answerable to the voters.

  30. Mr.Toad

    “– and then proceeded to re-elect them or promote them to higher office?”

    Maybe its because the voters trust their judgement generally but disagree with them some of the time.

  31. Don Shor

    Or they were the best choices of a weak field. Or they had a lot of money to spend because of developer donations. Or they took a chance on a newcomer because of who he or she is supported by. Or they remember what a great job that person did on the school board. Or….

    Commission provide institutional history. General Plans and similar documents codify community values. Obviously the council has the last word. But those citizen advisory bodies exist to get citizen input, and it is pretty disrespectful to ignore the work of a commission or – especially – of a special committee that has been constituted to do in-depth review or come to some kind of consensus among different interest groups.

    I have no idea if this plan is good or not for the site. I can’t really visualize it there, and I haven’t looked into it as deeply as others have. But I do remember how long and complex the B Street Visioning process was. So if this decision totally ignores that work, and if there is some evidence that staff pushed this through without the neighbors really having a chance to weigh in on it, that would be unfortunate.

  32. medwoman

    [quote]Because maybe they understand that the world changes and decisions made 5-10 years ago (or before) are no longer in the best interests of the town.

    The current Council is the one that best reflects the views of the electorate today (we elected them after all).

    Another question that is equally valid. Why should the residents of one neighborhood be the only ones making a decision that impacts the entire town?[/quote]

    1) If that much has changed over the past 5-10 years, then doubtless enough has changed to take this proposal back for input from the stakeholders again rather than just moving it forward because enough council members think ( very subjectively) that it is a “good idea”.

    2) The current council needs to proceed in good faith with transparency and consideration of current community sensibility regardless of the date of their election.

    3) I don’t see that anyone was calling for exclusivity of decision making, but rather of a reconsideration in view of current sentiment. I have no difficulty in weighing more heavily the opinions of those who will be most directly impacted than those less affected.

  33. Mark West

    “I have no difficulty in weighing more heavily the opinions of those who will be most directly impacted than those less affected.”

    So you support allowing NIMBY attitudes to control our development decisions?

    I will go back to the beginning. If we are not going to expand outward, we need to expand upward or we will fail to be a responsible partner with the rest of the region in handling future population growth (are you not one of the ones here arguing for a regional approach to growth and economic development?). Why should one neighborhood get to decide whether or not the City meets its responsibilities on this issue. Who in your mind is most directly impacted by our failure to meet the housing needs of our citizens, and those moving to the region? Surely not the neighbors of this project. So why should their opinion be given greater import on this issue?

    “[i]The current council needs to proceed in good faith with transparency and consideration of current community sensibility regardless of the date of their election.[/i]”

    Are you saying they failed to do so in this case?

    “[i]If that much has changed over the past 5-10 years, then doubtless enough has changed to take this proposal back for input from the stakeholders again rather than just moving it forward because enough council members think ( very subjectively) that it is a “good idea”[/i]”

    How is the Council majority’s opinion any more ‘subjective’ than that of the neighbors? Did we not elect them to take all the available information into account and make their best decision on our behalf? Why do they need to go back for more input from this one special interest group?

    I want a Council that leads, not one that flaps in the prevailing wind.

  34. Mr.Toad

    From where I was sitting it seemed to me that the hang up was on it not turning into a student rental situation. When asked about seniors only the property owner explained that families aren’t structured that way anymore so it would make it impossible to finance. He assured the council that he would come up with a Homeowners Association that would address the concerns of the neighbors that it not turn into student rentals. It was the best they all could come up with. Rochelle explained that high density had come up in all their election campaigns. It is what the community says it wants. In the end the project got four vote. The council tried to come up with real world solutions to a complex problem. It seemed they did the best they could with what they had. Although i disagree that high density is good it seems Rochelle is correct that it is what the community claims it wants. The City Council voted to give the community what the council members have been told the community wants. They did their best to represent the will of the community. I think the question should be is going up and high density what the community really wants or is it just what it claims to want? My view that high density is great on paper but not so much in reality most would agree is a minority view. So then it seems the council did its job to represent the will of the people correctly. Perhaps Davis needs to rethink its dominant paradigm but don’t blame the council for doing what they were elected to do, decide in favor of what they believe to be the will of the community.

  35. JustSaying

    “The project requires amendment to the Core Area Specific Plan and Planned Development standards to allow Floor Area Ratio of 2.0 (where 1.0 is permitted unless there is a bonus) and density of 42.4 units / acre (where 24 units / acre is allowed). The proposed height is also above the 38-foot limit in this subarea. The habitable space is up to 45’ high, and the exempt elevator tower in the center of the structure is 50 feet to the roof ridge. The project also requires a determination that the 20-21 parking spaces are sufficient to reasonably meet the baseline needs of the use (where 28 spaces would be otherwise required).”

    A reading of the staff report doesn’t reflect that there have been any changed circumstances since 2007 that might make revisions or waivers necessary or desirable. So, why were the amendments (above) approved rather than okaying the project to proceed under the existing plan and standards? Why? The project already was high density; why not just go on to five stories…or six…or….?

    Granted the council sometimes has difficult decisions to make. This process seemed more odd than usual, though, the way the discussion bounced around, the apparent short notice for something that obviously had lengthy staff/developer consultation, and the magnitude of the 50-foot-plus height waiver, and the amount and seeming ease with which parking space minimum was set aside.

    If this episode doesn’t get the community to rethink what it means by “infill,” Mr.Toad, I’d be surprised. As these individual, over-sized monstrosities start to dominate old, one-story neighborhoods, we’ll wonder how we ever thought that “densification” was a nice word.

    The minor increase in the number of bedrooms provided is too tiny to justify how such developments change the neighborhood aesthetics, parking, and interactions.

  36. Alan Miller

    “Mayor Krovoza was willing to support this project with the stipulation added to the motion that this would not become precedent setting, but rather the changes would apply to this parcel only.”

    Not be precedent setting? How, exactly, will this ‘stipulation’ be enforced? I assume by the next council, who will of course honor the Mayor’s stipulation in perpetuity. No other parcels will ever be given special treatment again. Amen.

    Brett, you Rock!!!

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for