UPDATE: Attend Planning Meeting June 21 2pm and/or Write Letters to Planners: planning@cityofmobile.
The LHDNO Board helped host a community meeting on June 12, where city planners, Councilman Manzie, and Holiday Transitional Center representatives spoke. Our neighbors asked questions and voiced concerns. Your LHDNO Board walked the area with petitions and shared information as received, and after the June 12 meeting voted to oppose this project to reflect the majority opinion of our LHDNO members.
The main concerns at this point are:
1. The project physical site plan shows inadequate parking (7 spaces for 12 residents, staff of up to 15, visitors) meaning overflow parking will have to move into our residential streets because Houston, Govt St, and around Memorial Park offers no public parking and no curbside parking. Further, this is a five-way intersection with NO PEDESTRIAN SAFETY INFRASTRUCTURE, yet this project promises to increase pedestrian traffic. The driveway is inadequate (only 8 feet) for commercial use service vehicles, and there is inadequate turn radius in back for large service vehicles to turn around. This means BACKING OUT onto Govt St INTO THE HOUSTON ST, RIGHT TURN SLOW DOWN LANE! Add to this the nightmare of exiters turning WEST off the property, across the Houston St slow down/turn lane and onto Govt St...a traffic nightmare. Further, ALDOT regulations limit the parcel to ONE curb cut on to Govt St so this situation cannot be rectified. There is NO space for a dumpster so the volume of refuse and food waste created by 12 residents/15 staff/visitors and a commercial kitchen operation will be placed, according to what HTC submitted, into multiple cans for possible CURBSIDE pickup on Govt St facing our Memorial Park, where tens of thousands of tax and private dollars are currently being invested.
2. HTC has offered no information, nor does the law require them to offer, about their insurance coverage to protect either the residents or surrounding neighborhood for property or personal damage.
3. HTC has been given several opportunities to address neighborhood concerns or answer questions but has not been able to provide specific information.
4. Evidence of the lack of focus or planning includes: applied for an "emergency shelter" but verbally assured the audience that their plan is for "transitional services" not a shelter; assured they are going to provide transitional service but presented a building renovation to create a 12 bed dorm style facility which is NOT appropriate for transitional care of up to a full year; mentioned many area agencies but could not provide any specifics about actually contracting with them for support services; when asked how they would handle substance abuse issues stated clients would be "cured" before entering and would sign a paper to that effect and did not mention drug testing; could not present intake procedures or exiting procedures
5. The building plan will reconfigure a viable and marketable 4- or 5-plex multi-family building into a dorm-style building that will be left UNmarketable if they leave. This "renovation" does NOT "add value" to our area as HTC claims.
6. Once approved for a 24/7 high impact use, because zoning in Alabama by law "runs with the land" a new 24/7 high impact shelter operation can go in without new approval or resident input
7. The state law charges planning commissioners with determining that a proposal is in harmony with the surrounding zoning and appropriate to the area. The residential community segment of Govt St west of Broad to Pinehill, along our historic districts, has continued to attract high-value residential investment and growth, balanced with low impact buffer business and retail/commercial/entertainment development that specifically serves area residents. This proposal is NOT in harmony and is not appropriate. Planners are not required to grant special approval as an exception to the B1 buffer model in existance, which is the 9-5 workweek model, that returns our neighborhood to us after hours and on weekend for family and neighborhood activities.