CRUCIAL ZONING ISSUE FOR LHDNO MAY 17TH!
THERE ARE 5 DEVELOPMENT CASES - MOST TO BE ON THE PLANNING AGENDA THIS THURSDAY MAY 17 2PM - THAT CAN CHANGE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS PERMANENTLY. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD BY EMAILING YOUR LETTER ABOUT ONE OR ALL TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION firstname.lastname@example.org and SEND A COPY TO YOUR CITY COUNCILMAN. Time is of the essence here. Sorry this is so long but there you go. Lots to say about these cases.** THE MAY 17 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING, 2PM GOVT PLAZA, IS CRUCIAL FOR EVERYONE INTERESTED IN HISTORIC MIDTOWN AND DOWNTOWN TO ATTEND! SEE PENDING APPLICATIONS BELOW!!**
PLEASE SHARE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IN YOUR RESPECTIVE GROUPS OR CIRCLES OF INFLUENCE. THIS IS LONG BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO READ.
While historic districts and the Collaborative members await the unveiling of the first draft of the Zoning Ordinance revision, other issues arise that require us to focus and speak with a unified voice on behalf of our respective neighborhoods.
1. The first case is central to the Collaborative's efforts to retain the residential, historic character of Government Street from Broad to Pinehill. The Collaborative is asking all GSC members to **please write immediately to the Planning Division** in response to this case and ask that your letter be provided to the Planning Commission. **SEND COMMENTS TO email@example.com and ask it be given to planning commissioners prior to the June 21 meeting. Copy Councilman Manzie.
Please see the updated blog post for information on this proposal. Our understanding is that the website for the group proposing to operate the shelter is:
Certainly we recognize the need for homeless shelters and we support those, such as the faith-based program at First Christian Church on Gov't. St. and St. John's, serving our area. Funding has been cut in recent years from both the city and state, causing some local shelters to close. Our local government has encouraged private groups, some faith based, some non-profits and some for-profit centers, to be opened to meet these needs. Many of these shelters are run by well intentioned persons and organizations who provide a safe haven and essential temporary services for the homeless, and we all should applaud this effort and support giving a helping hand to those in our neighborhoods who are in need. But there must be safeguards to insure that the shelter is in fact an effective environment for those it serves and also harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood.
See the next blog post for information about the upcoming community meeting on June 12, 5:30 pm, at the Pillars on Government Street.
2. The next case involves the uncertain future of two properties on Conti St in ODWA .The owner, Infant Mystics, proposes to rezone two homes zoned residential R1 to Business B2 zoning. Further alteration of the properties would be a separate application, to go before the MHDC for a recommendation. The owner has not shared the plans for the property with neighbors and did not include that information in the current pending application for rezoning. Once zoned for B2 business, any business use of the same category would be allowed without further approvals, except building alteration approvals to MHDC, and that is a very broad commercial category. The Planning Division will accept citizen and/or group letters to the Planning Commission about this application. Much of this property is already zoned B1 buffer business which would be much more appropriate to this residential block, causing many to wonder what the plan is that would require B2 zoning instead, a much broader and more intense zoning right next door (actually within about 10 or 15 feet) to residences! This case is carried over to the June 21 Planning Commission meeting.
3. The next case involves a lot at the corner of Congress and St Joseph near DeTonti Square (a new Collaborative member). Our information is that the Owner ,Darrell Smith from Baton Rouge, owns the Wells Fargo Building and proposes to build an offsite, surface parking lot on this corner for the Wells Fargo Bldg 4 blocks away. The owner cleared the corner and had equipment on site beginning prep for construction and installed a commercial dumpster, but had never applied for any permits and approvals for these activities. When citizens complained, the city placed a stop order on the work until permitting was done. We are unable to determine if the owner was fined (as should be done when such violations occur). We ask all concerned to submit Position Statement Letters to the Planning Division on this case. Should the approval be denied, the GSC position is that the cleared parcel, in order to control runoff and address aesthetics, should be restored with turf that is maintained to maturity and after, so long as said owner retains the property.
4. The next case is the lingering issue of the historic structure at 137 Tuscaloosa St. which at last information continued to be threatened until an investor purchases and moves it. If you oppose the demolition of this home on the National Register of HIstoric structures, write to the Planning Division NOW. We understand that an investor is engaged in the process of saving the building if all works out. Continue to monitor.
5. The next issue is the corner acreage at Dauphin St at Sage Avenue, the old Graf Dairy property, a lovely vegetated oasis just before Dauphin St becomes all strip mall/commercial headed to the Interstate. THE PROPOSAL HERE IS TO REZONE FOR A 36 STALL CAR WASH. We cannot allow this to happen. Please write letters opposing this zoning and email to firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE MAY 17, THEN ATTEND THE MEETING. Update: This is a complex case. The narrow application issue for May 17 was denied but most left the meeting realizing that the denial may not have eliminated the entire application request. Continue to monitor.