RNA board meeting agenda – Oct. 17, 2017

Rountree Neighborhood Association Board Meeting Agenda

University Heights Baptist Church

7 p.m., Oct. 17, 2017

Call to order

Approval of August minutes

Treasure’s report – Peggy Wise

PAR Officer update – Officer Schlup

Delaware utilities upgrade – Tyler Wyatt from CU

Bruce Earnhardt, candidate for Missouri House District 135

Neighborhood Plan steering committee update

Halloween

Posted in RNA meeting agendas | Comments Off on RNA board meeting agenda – Oct. 17, 2017

RNA Meeting Minutes – August 2017

Board members present: Laurel Bryant, Mike Brothers, Jim Lohmeyer, Jeff Bentley, Jeff Barber, Sue Estes, Peggy Wise, John Melton, Nick Harper.

Others present: Ed Fillmer, Nancy Evans, Patti Penny.

Approval of minutes – Minutes from both June and July were presented. Jeff Bentley motioned to approve the June minutes, Peggy seconded. The minutes were approved. Jeff Bentley motioned to approve the July minutes, Jim seconded. The minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report – There was a $500 expense for a sponsorship for Owlapalooza this month. There were two deposits for memberships totaling $40. The account stands at $1,761.85.

Safety and crime update – Petty crime and theft remains a problem across Springfield. Officer Schulp and Lt. McIntyre said the city crime reports show that nearly all categories have basically doubled, except for major crimes such as homicide. Laurel noted that a neighborhood watch has begun. Please continue to lock doors and cars, close garage doors, and do not leave items in cars.

UHBC update – Patti Penny gave an update on the Sunday, Oct. 1 event. It will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. in the University Heights Baptist Church parking lot. There will be a stage with a sound system for music and entertainment. Parking is available in the credit union lot as well as part of the UHBC lot. Bikes and walking are encouraged. The following Sunday is the rain date.

Fall cleanup date – We are now looking at Saturday, Oct. 7 as the date for the fall cleanup event. This will be a joint event with Delaware Neighborhood Association. All About Trees will be present this time for tree and brush waste. Same rules will apply as in past events. Peggy said the funding is looking short for next year at this time. CPO and the City want to continue to provide this service for all neighborhoods and does not want to cut any particular events, so they are looking to cut costs across the board instead.

Changes to bylaws – Discussion was tabled until next meeting. Board members will discuss changes online and then post final drafts for the neighborhood to review ahead of the next quarterly general meeting in October. The full neighborhood membership will need to vote on changes.

Steering committee update – Laurel and Jim updated the board on the progress of the Neighborhood Plan steering committee. The committee heard from employees from CU about tree trimming and from Public Works about traffic. Citywide planning and neighborhood culture were also discussed at the meeting. Jeff Bentley said the steering committee has so far focused mainly on City education and outreach, whereas many members of the group had hoped it would be a body that has a more direct effect on policies and regulations. Additionally, the city would like to move forward on hiring a consultant that will study the edges and border corridors of the UCD. This is potentially a good thing because the study will focus on development issues. However, a consultant would not be able to start until December and the administrative delay ends in March. This could create a gap where the delay would end before any new rules are in place.

Cherry Street update – Roza Homes has a request before City Council for a blight designation for properties in the 1300 block of E. Cherry. The RNA wrote a letter that questioned the use of tax abatements for this project, although it did not oppose the project itself. This letter will be posted on the RountreeNews.org website and let neighbors know they can contact Council themselves. A discussion of tax abatements ensued. Shouldn’t there be trade-offs for abatements in terms of things neighbors want? Abatements can be a good thing if used as a chip to get better developments. This doesn’t always seem to be occurring. Furthermore, it’s not a “chip” if City Council easily grants every such request.

A letter was also written to Kelly Byrne of Say U Can formally denying his request for RNA approval of an exception to the administrative delay for his Pickwick District project. In the letter, RNA committed to continuation of dialog. Board members agreed face-to-face meetings are a good idea, but the premise should not be one of negotiation on exceptions to the delay, but rather, a clear conversation about what neighbors truly want – namely, lower density. Jeff Bentley noted that planned developments were written for East Cherry Flats and the upcoming Boomertown Lofts projects, and the density was ratcheted UP not down in both cases.

Jeff Barber mentioned the request by Domino’s Pizza for an exception to the delay. As discussed last month, they are expanding their property for more for sit-down dining and knocking down two building immediately east of the restaurant. One of those is partially in the UCD and therefore subject to the delay. Most board members felt this was a reasonable request; some felt no exceptions should be granted so as not to set a precedent.

Mike motioned that the board approve an exception to the delay for Domino’s to expand its building via a formal letter to the director of planning. Jim Lohmeyer seconded. Jeff Bentley and Sue opposed; all others approved. The motion passed.

Other business – Laurel noted that she is having back surgery in late August and will be unable to fulfill some presidential duties. Jim, as VP, will run the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Posted in RNA meeting minutes | Comments Off on RNA Meeting Minutes – August 2017

RNA Board Meeting Agenda – Sept. 19, 2017

Rountree Neighborhood Association Board Meeting Agenda

University Heights Baptist Church

7 p.m., Sept. 19, 2017

Call to order

Approval of August minutes

Treasure’s report – Peggy Wise

PAR Officer update – Officer Schlup

NeighborWoods Program update

UHBC Fall Festival update – Patti Penny

UCD steering committee update/Development updates

Bylaws update

Fall cleanup

Halloween

Posted in RNA meeting agendas | Comments Off on RNA Board Meeting Agenda – Sept. 19, 2017

RNA letter to City Council about proposed Cherry Street development

The following letter was sent to Springfield City Council last week with respect to the latest proposal for redevelopment on Cherry Street. This proposal by Roza Homes was covered in a previous post. As always, the board believes it is important to let neighbors know what we are doing on your behalf. City Council will vote on this matter at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, and public comment is open at this time. Here is a link to the full bill. If City Council grants the blight designation and tax abatements, a more detailed development plan will be forthcoming for separate approval. If you would like to chime in, you can send an email to: citycouncil@springfieldmo.gov.

 

August 7, 2017
Springfield City Council
840 N. Boonville Springfield, MO

Re: Tax Abatement for 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry Street; Council Bill 2017-203

Officially, the Rountree Neighborhood Association (RNA) neither opposes nor endorses the development project proposed for 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry, by Roza Capital Group, LLC. We appreciate the two-story height of the project and the proposed density of 12 units on a 0.45- acre site. The front facing porches and the rear facing driveways are compatible with the overall existing design in our area. We also appreciate the developer’s efforts to contact the RNA with details about the plan in advance of its submission for final City approvals.

However, we believe the project could be accomplished without the requested blight designation. RNA questions whether tax abatement is necessary for this parcel, which was listed for $250,000, and received multiple offers in the first week it was on the market. If city government provides incentives to projects that don’t truly need them, we create unnecessary meddling in the free enterprise system, and antagonize the adjacent neighbors who still don’t understand why there is no transition zone between R-HD and R-SF at this location. Other Rountree residents question why the City is incentivizing the demolition of historic structures. Still other neighbors question whether the tax abatement program encouraged the previous owner of this property to let it sit vacant for two years, while allowing it to slide into disrepair.

In the document, Exhibit 1, Evidence in Support of Blight, a few corrections need to be made. These and many other homes were built Single-Family and rezoned to R-HD in the 1930’s. Most of these homes have been used as Single-Family, not Multi-family, with some exceptions. Several homeowners and business owners have significant investments on Cherry Street. These stakeholders have maintained their properties while paying fair taxes, despite their restoration costs.

Generally speaking, the proposed project would be more acceptable to Rountree residents if it was paying the same property rates as the rest of the neighborhood. This might also be a good time for City Council to consider whether “spot blighting” is worth the time and effort, at any location.

Sincerely,
Rountree Neighborhood Association

cc: Roza Capital Group, LLC

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on RNA letter to City Council about proposed Cherry Street development

RNA Meeting Minutes – July 2017

Board members present: Laurel Bryant, Mike Brothers, John Melton, Peggy Wise, Jeff Bentley, Jim Lohmeyer

Others president: Bob Keyes, Terry and Christina Rucker, Nancy Evans, Laurie Knowlton, Roxanne Garrison, Beth Zigfried, Courtney Smith, Patti Penny

Call to Order – 7 p.m.

Review minutes – Postponed until later date due to not having copies of June minutes printed.

Treasure’s Report – There was one expense of $72, which was for the banner for the First Friday Artwalk event featuring Rountree. We have $2,221.85 remaining.

Cherry Street development update – Laurel gave an update. For nearly three years, we have been requesting a review of the UCD and Neighborhood Plan in order to get ahead of development. The review started in May but development wheels were spinning prior to that. We re-upped a previous request for a delay on development until the long-requested plan review is completed at the end of this year. The delay was granted by City Council, and was on lot combinations and re-zoning requests for a period of nine months. But one developer, Kelly Byrne of Say U Can, is saying he could move ahead regardless of the delay because the lots have already been consolidated and a high-density building is allowed under current zoning. He has expressed to the RNA a desire and preference to do a mixed-used development rather than an apartment-only project. To do a mixed-used project would require a Planned Development and zoning change, which the neighborhood would have to sign off on (the delay allows for the Director of Planning to make exceptions). More background on this was posted at Rountreenews.org. Question was asked about what is the main rub. Our survey said design is residents’ primary concern.  Another issue is density, which will add to traffic and break with the existing scale of buildings in immediate area. Jeff Bentley said we are receptive to the idea that Cherry is ready for redevelopment and it will be multifamily and it will be denser. But it must be walkable and must adhere to good design. The developer has communicated with the board, but overall the design changes to concept drawings have been relatively minor.

The UCD process is a bit unknown because City staff will write that document only after the Neighborhood Plan is finalized. The review process taking place now is for the Neighborhood Plan, not the UCD. The UCD, which is a more technical document, will then be revsed based on the Neighborhood Plan, which is more conceptual in nature.

There are other projects moving ahead regardless of the delay – Roza Homes will build a two-story apartment structure that is largely in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. The density will be 12 units on a half-acre lot (or 24 units per acre). The current R-HD zoning allows for up to 40 units per acre. We worked hard to get the delay. If we come back and grant exceptions, we could lose credibility with the City and, more importantly, with our neighbors. We have invited to developers to participate in the Plan review process. We can inform Say U Can about the Plan review process, and he can work on the PD as the Plan review process moves forward. The ultimate goal is to get a clean, modern Plan and UCD that will be effective in guiding cohesive development – to get a plan out in front of the projects.

Additionally, the owners of Domino’s Pizza at the corner of Cherry and National have also requested an exception to the delay in order to tear down two old structures immediately east of their building for an expansion. The easternmost property is in the UCD boundaries. It is the northwest corner of the UCD. Most board members felt this was a reasonable exemption and not in keeping with the spirit of the administrative delay.

Boomertown Lofts update – Laurel and Mike updated the group on this project. After initially saying they would not seek a blight designation and tax abatements, the developers of this project in the 800 block of S. National returned to P&Z and City Council asking for abatements. We are not sure why it happened this way. Mike said he believes abatement requests should be required by the City to be presented with the initial development requests. When done separately, it appears developers are side-stepping the process somewhat. However, RNA was able to get some concessions from the developers including: a higher 8-foot buffer fence, storm water improvements, and a promise not to send construction truck traffic through the neighborhood. This project has been approved and construction will likely start soon.

University Heights Baptist Church events – Patti Penny spoke about the upcoming events at the church. The entire neighborhood is invited. Next event is showing of Moana on July 28. A fall festival is the big event. It will be held in early October and will feature live music, 3v3 basketball, a game of “9 square in the air,” possibly a bike rodeo, food, etc. They continue to be open to any ideas that we have for events and outreach.

Safety & Crime – Officer Schlup was not present. He has told us the jail continues to experience capacity issues and there is little room for petty criminals. We need to follow all the basic safety tips as much as possible and make ourselves a “hard target” for the crimes of opportunity and petty theft. Some neighbors have recently attended a neighborhood watch organization meeting with SPD, though none of them were present tonight. Peggy suggested we need to be more clear about a protocol for reporting crimes.

Traffic study update – Eric Claussen from the City Public Works Department updated the results of the pop-up study at the Neighborhood Plan review steering committee meeting. We need to send him a letter to request he update us and in writing so that we can share that information more broadly.

Steering Committee update – Meetings with the City continue. They are taking all of the concerns and strengths from our initial big meeting and addressed them via City staff with the steering committee in more detail. The meetings are happening at an accelerated pace at the request of City Council. A survey is forthcoming. The City is also looking into the idea of hiring a consultant to give more insight into the traffic and design issues at Cherry and Pickwick.

Facebook – We have talked about a desire to consolidate back to a single page instead of having three FB pages. We are probably not ready for that at this time. It’s being discussed by neighbors themselves on FB. We will bring this topic back up at a later date and see what neighbors would like to do. There is too much else going on right now to focus on this.

Bylaws review update – No further progress has been made on updating the document. The most updated draft was passed out last meeting. Two of the three committee members were not present, so the issue was tabled. We are due to give these documents to the City soon (as part of their normal cycle of requesting neighborhood association bylaws) so we will shoot for approving this at the next meeting.

Owlapalooza – Will be Aug. 14. Info on RountreeNews.org. Will RNA be involved this year? Mike will connect Laurel with Olivia Hough with the PTA. Mike motioned we approve donation of up to $500 if PTA is seeking it. Jim seconded. Motion was approved.

Fall cleanup – Possibility for a “bonus” cleanup in the fall. September 30 or October 14 are possible dates. Laurel suggest October is better for leaves and prep for Halloween cleanup. Also looking at the next spring dates. It’s possible we could combine one or more of thse with the Delaware Neighborhood Association at a single location.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

Posted in RNA meeting minutes | Comments Off on RNA Meeting Minutes – July 2017

RNA Meeting Minutes – June 2017

Board members present: Laurel Bryant, Mike Brothers, John Melton, Peggy Wise, Jeff Bentley, Jeff Barber, Sue Ekstam, Nick Harper, Nancy Dornan

Others president: Angela Brooks, Ed Fillmer, Paden Chambers, Jennifer Leonard, Curtis Marshall, Jenny Maness, Patty Penny, Nancy Evans, Officer Zach Schlup

Call to Order – 7 p.m.

Review minutes – Jeff Barber motioned to approve, Jeff Bently seconded. The minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report – One expense for mulch, which was about $119, for the flowerbeds at Pickwick and Cherry. No new memberships taken in this month. Current balance is $2,293.85. Sue Ekstam motioned to approve, Mike Brothers seconded. The report was approved.

PAR Officer – Officer Schlup asked if we have concerns. Mention of a stolen bike. Neighbors relayed a story about a group of men snooping in a garage and when confronted said they were looking for work. Officer Schlup advised to always call the police when such questionable situations arise.

UHBC event – Patty Penny from the University Heights Baptist Church outreach task force addressed the group about an upcoming free event at the church – Movies Under the Stars at 7:30 p.m. on June 30 and July 28. They are seeking more membership by young families and are looking for good ideas. She discussed a few of those with the board. The group hit upon the idea of a block party-style event in September. It was also mentioned that neighbors can drop off unwanted items for donations at the church.

Boomertown Lofts – Reps from the project were not able to make the meeting. This project in the 800 block of S. National Avenue came back before LCRA and P&Z. RNA reps attended both. It’s already gone through the process once and it’s come back now for blight designation, which they did not seek the first time around. RNA opposed the blight designation and tax abatements, but the developers won approval of both. We presented concerns about water runoff infrastructure and traffic at both meetings. Laurel and Jeff Barber will have a meeting with a rep tomorrow afternoon and continue to bring up these issues. Jeff Bentley said if they are asking for a tax break incentive, the neighbors (taxpayers) should reasonably expect some concessions for that.

Pickwick District – Developer rep was invited by not present. He will hold a public meeting at some point in the near future.

Roza Homes proposal – Roza owns two properties at 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry. They met with the RNA board two weeks ago. They would like to take out the two existing homes and redevelop the combine property into two-story apartment buildings with front porches, parking in rear, driveways off the alley rather than Cherry, and ADA compliance. Two- and three-bedroom units. Hardy siding and/or brick and stone exteriors. They will be going for the blight designation and Chapter 99 tax abatement (10 years). Roza rehabbed and built similar homes on Historic Walnut Street. Roza is willing to give away the existing home at the corner of Cherry and Kickapoo if the new owner is willing to physically move it. Laurel Bryant and Paden Chambers noted the house is “architecturally significant” and would be worth saving.

Insurance quote – The quote is $852.90, which is higher than we thought. We will continue to explore options.

Pop-up traffic study – The temporary design was successful in slowing down traffic. Mostly we had positive comments. But some people don’t want to slow down traffic so a few weren’t happy. Some said traffic would just be pushed to Grand. Jeff Bentley noted that we all need to slow down regardless of the street. Laurel suggested that we all use the City’s service request channel to give some feedback on the project.

Safety – There is a neighborhood watch class happening July 17 and 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the south district police station. Laurel would like to alert our neighbors. Same class on two separate nights.

Bylaws update – Sue, Peggy and Jeff Barber have been working on the update. A hard copy strike-through version was passed out for all to read and give feedback next meeting. The bylaws mention the RNA boundaries. Laurel noted that the boundaries could change as a result of the current UCD review process.

Communications with the City during UCD review – The first meeting of the UCD steering committee is 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 27 at the Busch Building.

Other business – Jeff Barber updated the group on the 801 S. Weller house (the “bamboo house”). It could potentially be razed by the City soon. However, there is more than $130,000 in tax liens on the property so the prospect of someone buying and building anything there is pretty slim at this point.

July 7 is the Rountree neighborhood’s First Friday weekend downtown. Rusty Worley with the Downtown Springfield Association is inviting some RNA board members to man a booth that night, and the whole neighborhood is encouraged to come out downtown. An idea was floated to get lots of Rountree residents to bike caravan into downtown. Jeff Barber motioned to approve the purchase of a banner at a cost of up to $125 for this and various other future events. Peggy seconded. The motion was approved.

Nancy mentioned that the Springfield Art Museum is soon to solicit art from local neighbors for an upcoming exhibit.

Jeff Barber motioned to allow the newly formed Delaware Neighborhood Association board officers to be members of our Facebook page. Mike Brothers seconded. Jeff said he felt an open line of communication with the new association to our south would be wise. Members agreed that we want to work with them as much as possible given that their issues are largely going to be our issues, and vice versa. The motion was approved.

Jeff Bentley noted that Vogue Magazine has a feature story about taking a road trip through the Ozarks, and the Rountree neighborhood is called out specifically as a great place to visit.

Nancy Evans noted that is officially back in the neighborhood following a recent home purchase. Cheers were in order.

Sue Ekstam motioned to adjourn at 9 p.m.

Posted in RNA meeting minutes | Comments Off on RNA Meeting Minutes – June 2017

RNA Board Meeting Agenda – August 15, 2017

Rountree Neighborhood Association Board Meeting Agenda

University Heights Baptist Church

7 p.m., August 15, 2017

Call to Order

Approval of Minutes (June and July)

Treasure’s Report

Safety and PAR Officer update

University Heights Baptist Church events update

Fall cleanup

Bylaw updates (voting item)

Neighborhood Plan Steering Committee update

Cherry Street development update

 

 

Posted in RNA meeting agendas | Comments Off on RNA Board Meeting Agenda – August 15, 2017

RNA Board Meeting Agenda – July 20, 2017

Rountree Neighborhood Association Board Meeting Agenda

University Heights Baptist Church

7 p.m., July 20, 2017

Call to Order

Approval of Minutes

Treasure’s Report

Cherry Street development update

City precedents for size, blight and tax abatements

Neighborhood Plan review process update

Safety & Crime (Laurel Bryant)

September event at UBHC (Patty Penny)

Facebook pages (Mike Brothers)

Bylaw review update (voting item)

Reminder: Upcoming steering committee meetings for the Neighborhood Review plan update: Thursday August 10 & Thursday August 22, both at 6 p.m. at the Busch Municipal Building

Posted in RNA meeting agendas | Comments Off on RNA Board Meeting Agenda – July 20, 2017

Mark your calendars for Owlaplooza 2017!

Mark your calendars: Everyone in the neighborhood is invited to join the Rountree PTA from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 14, at the school to celebrate our great neighborhood and the back-to-school season. There will be burgers and hot dogs for purchase, free kids activities, and a silent auction. Proceeds go directly to Rountree PTA to buy books, improve the school library, and support the needs of the kids this school year.

The PTA still need items for the silent auction. If anyone would like to donate a gift certificate or gift basket, item, or service, they can contact Genesis Estes estesgenesis@gmail.com for more information.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mark your calendars for Owlaplooza 2017!

Cherry & National development updates

We have a number of updates on building and development issues. Quite a lot has happened and come to light since City Council passed the administrative delay on June 26. This is a lot of info, and we’ve tried to make this update as concise as possible. But because we will need neighborhood input on how to proceed with some next steps, we don’t want to gloss over any important details.

Unfortunately, it appears that the administrative delay does not truly afford us the “time out” that we were hoping for when we requested it. The delay affects rezoning requests and lot combinations, but not all of the proposed projects fall into either of those categories. Developers want to move quickly because they have money invested. Here’s where we stand on three of those projects.

Pickwick District proposal

The administrative delay does affect this project. The developer, Say U Can, is under contract to buy the yellow brick “Spanish mission” building and the three lots/houses just west of it. The current proposal, if you will recall, is for a 3- and 4-story, mixed-use building the lots adjacent to the Spanish mission — three stories with retail or restaurant on the bottom facing Cherry, and four stories on the backside facing the alley, with the parking lot in the back. The Spanish mission would be turned into a mixed-use property as well. This plan would need a rezoning because of the business use. And the developer says he would seek a blight designation and tax abatements in order to make the bottom line work, because the mixed-use project brings in less revenue than a building that is only apartments.

And that is the other option, according to the developer. He could build an entirely four-story apartment building without the mixed-use elements (image below). That would not require blight and tax abatements and does not require any rezoning. The RNA board and seemingly most residents find this a much less desirable option. The developer says he, too, would much rather construct a project that better fits with the current limited business environment at Cherry and Pickwick. But to get the rezoning, blight designation, and tax abatements, Say U Can would need the neighborhood’s support.

(There is an additional element to this story: Say U Can also owns the two houses at 1361 and 1365 E. Cherry — approximately where Fremont T’s into the Cherry. The original plan for this area was inward-facing town homes with a driveway off Cherry that we felt was not in character with the neighborhood. A blight request for this project was denied by city. To his credit, the developer has come back with a concept for a “pocket neighborhood” style development on this plot. We feel this could be a progressive project that fits with the Rountree of today.)

The RNA board’s take: We would prefer to see the plan review process play out before ANY development moves forward. But if faced with the choice, we would prefer the mixed-use development over a four-story apartment building. Mixed-use fits the culture, nearby property values, and the feel of the Cherry & Pickwick area. The mixed-use project requires a zoning change and would have to be approved as a planned development (PD) — essentially a specialized zoning project. The positive aspect here is that PDs come with specific guidelines for each project and the neighborhood would likely have some input on that. If we allow an exception to the delay for a PD, we can continue to provide input and hopefully the developer will continue to work with us, while paying attention to the Neighborhood Plan review process, and “skate to where the puck is going” as the PD is written. As for blight and tax abatements, we feel those should be used to gain trade-offs, and mixed-use is better than apartments-only.

Bottom Line: The developer can more or less move forward with an apartments-only building and get around the delay. But If we as a neighborhood give our OK for the PD for a mixed-use project to proceed, then we can work with the developer and the City planning staff, who will write the PD guidelines. The PD and the review process would essentially happen in parallel and this provides the best route to a win-win.

Roza Homes proposal

Roza Homes owns the properties at 1325 and 1329 East Cherry. This is the developer that has rehabbed, expanded, or built new properties with a traditional look on Historic Walnut Street in recent years. They are proposing to build similar two-story structures at this location on Cherry. Roza combined these lots in advance of the administrative delay, and their proposal fits the existing zoning. Therefore, the delay does not apply to this project. Here again, the developer is seeking a blight designation and tax abatements in order to help finance the project and that request will be presented to the Planning & Zoning Commission on Thursday night. Here’s a link to the P&Z bill, which has design mock-ups, one of which is below.

The RNA board’s take: Again, we would love for the developer to wait for the neighborhood plan review to play out, but that is not likely to happen. This project is certainly more palatable than a large apartment building like East Cherry Flats. The more traditional design is a plus, and includes small porches facing Cherry. Parking will be located in the rear. Here again, the tax abatements can be viewed as a trade off, because the size is far below what they could build, given the high-density zoning. There are known issues with homeless folks squatting around these currently empty and run-down houses.

Bottom line: This project could be much worse. A few board members actually like the project. And we don’t have much leverage to oppose it. We can oppose the tax breaks before P&Z and City Council, but we don’t think either of those bodies is very likely to deny the abatements regardless of any opposition.

Boomertown Lofts project

This project in the 800 block of South National was approved by City Council this spring. It’s a four-story, mixed-use building, with retail or a coffee shop on the ground floor, and three stories of micro-efficiency apartments aimed at MSU students above. The proposal came about before the City announced the review of the Neighborhood Plan and before the request for an administrative delay. In an unusual move, the developers are now back a second time asking for tax abatements they said they weren’t seeking the first time around. They went to City Council Monday night for a first hearing on this request.

Officially, the RNA neither supported nor opposed the project, though board members did speak to concerns we had with respect to increased traffic in the interior of the neighborhood (given that you can’t turn south on National), storm water runoff, and greater buffering between our neighbors on McCann and the development. We won some concessions on storm water improvements and buffering, but the city says there isn’t much they can do to keep tenants from accessing surrounding streets. The developers did promise to tell their contractors to use National instead of the neighborhood during construction. Public Works staff tells us they are always willing to listen to concerns about traffic, so once this is built, we need to keep an eye on traffic along Madison, Page, McCann, and Kickapoo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Cherry & National development updates