NWDA Planning Cte 2015-03-05
John Bradley, Roger Vrilakas, Bill Welch, Steve Pinger, Don Genasci,
Bradley–can we send a brief on the Con-way Square to the commission?
Pinger–I think it would be better to send it to the development team, with whom we have a good relationship.
Welch–let’s assume we don’t send it, the proposal goes through, staff sends it to the commission.
Bradley–this is a DAR, I think we should send it in.
Pinger–we should send it to the development team, the developer’s architects.
Vrilakas–I think we should point out that it’s our square, 16000 square feet, etc.
Pinger–that will all come out in the process.
Bradley–if you wanted to be more circumspect, you could send the set of proposals and point out which one is preferred.
Genasci–if we gave it to the staff, that might be gentler–and to the development team, with a nice letter saying we’ve worked with the development team, and have certain reservations. We haven’t seen what the next version is.
Pinger–I’m surprised by that: they aren’t on the commission schedule. The next open time is early April.
Vrilakas–we should wait to send this until they’ve scheduled with the commission.
Pinger–I’ll check with staff to see where this is in the process.
Bradley–sounds good, once it’s submitted we’ll send something about our preferences. The committee doesn’t have to vote today.
Vrilakas–this is one of the few instances of us being concurrent with the development rather than simply responding to a submittal.
Pinger–25th and Raleigh–to Adjustment Committee. Ruling won’t be for a few weeks. Sympathetic to the appeal, it seemed.
Bradley–that surprises me, the current building has the same setbacks.
Vrilakas–less, but the mass is much larger.
Bradley–we voted very closely on that, approved two of the setbacks, and against one. Vote was 4 to 3. The applicants went away thinking they were OK. We have somewhat shifted in midstream: said go work with the neighbors, now we’re on the side of the appeal. Did I rush that?
Pinger–the thing that came up, I remembered the motion differently.
Welch–we could summarize why we vote like we do, for the reviewers. Explain our votes–commissions do that before they vote.
Pinger–when it came up last week that we were going to testify in support of the appeal, it seemed normal.
Bradley–good idea to explain votes. I’ll give each application a half hour.
Pinger–Tess O’Brien appeal was rejected unanimously. A lawyer could have done better, we could have been more strident my presentation. The council thanked me for the well reasoned argument and civility. We were trying to force a question about what does D7 mean, we did that: Hales said he read the guideline differently. The way I framed our first slide–appeal is about the purview of discretionary design. How do you transition to denser areas? Council seemed reticent to take on this bigger question.
Bradley–we’ve been three times for design review, and lost all three. The council interpreted code differently than we did. I’m not sure how much we should appeal, because this spins our wheels–unless there’s something big. No saying don’t appeal, but design guidelines appeals aren’t working.
Pinger–Ballow & Wright, different, was successful, as was Goose Hollow’s appeal of Block 7. Amanda’s memo was telling staff to look at this more rigorously, and that may be in response to these issues.
Genasci–Each time we take a developer to a hearing, that’s a cost and a lesson.
Vrilakas–can we send Amanda a letter thanking her for the memo?
Bradley–yes, why don’t you draft it and bring it back to the committee.
Pinger–shall we communicate with Council about Tess O’Brien?
Welch–I didn’t hear you say that they had said anything to talk about?
Bradley–any comment from them about the BDS error? (no) Tavo was to write a letter on the error to the city attorney, has that been done?
Pinger–I will draft something. There were some significant ideas we raised about discretionary design review.
I have a question–I gave a presentation, and they did, and I had an opportunity to rebut, but I didn’t. There wasn’t anything directly to rebut, except the 55 meetings claim etc, but didn’t seem worth that. The ‘generous courtyard’ played as something great. It’s the obvious best way to organize that odd through-block parcel. To say he could have done a denser project wasn’t accurate, but I decided not to go after that.
Vrilakas–I think that anytime you can have the last word, we should take it. Lawyers love that.
Bradley–I have the previous testimony, which I will write up and send to the group. The next meeting is the 12th.
Rezoning: since they’ve asked us specifically for map adjustments, should we ask for the RH downzone in the Historic District as proposed by Wendy?
RH & EXd?
Genasci–the interest in these properties is that the value of development means redevelopment is being proposed.
Welch–the reason there is this group of RH is that Michaelson and others in the 1970’s were trying to keep the industrial area from expanding, and the zoning increased the property value so that this was not viable.
Pinger–last week I heard someone was proposing something other than R2, but limiting FAR.
Bradley–that’s not clean and neat, won’t work.
There’s also a swath of R2 around Wallace Park–do we want to ask for R5, which would better match the existing pattern and framework.
Genasci–there are quite a few apartment buildings along 25th. Could you rebuild?
Bradley–the area around Catherine Paglin’s is R2.
Genasci–part of the appeal of the area is the mix: large houses, small apartment buildings. Not tall buildings.
Bradley–I have concerns about how R2 can be used.
Pinger–I didn’t think I’d have to face the point of gentrification where my house could be torn down for three townhomes. what gets my attention is they’re paying $650,000 for a lot to tear down home.
Attached are the minutes of the March 19, 2014 NWDA Joint Meeting of the Planning & Transportation Committees to discuss the West Quadrant Plan: 3-19-14 NWDA Joint mtg. minutes
NWDA Planning Committee
January 30, 2014
Committee Members Attending: Ron Walters, Roger Vrilakas, Bill Welch, Wendy Chung, Karen Karlsson, Greg Theisen, Tavo Cruz, Steve Pinger
Guests: Allan Classen (NW Examiner), Phil Selinger (NWDA President), Tony Schwartz, Vicki Skrye,
Call to order at 8:05 am by Ron Walters (chairing in John Bradley’s absence).
Move West Quadrant height and density discussion to second portion of the agenda in hopes Steve Pinger will arrive. Move on to discussion of Parking Minimums resolution passed by the Board.
On Monday, with the support of the Planning, Parking and Transportation chairs, the board of directors of the NWDA passed a resolution on parking.
Selinger–this was started a year ago, before the parking plan was adopted, Ron had started it, suggested reviving and revising it. Tavo Cruz, Parking Chair, spoke with Bill Hoffman from PBOT, and suggested not being too proscriptive but assert ourselves in presenting the issue. We did leave a suggestion for an interim adoption of the parking minimums adopted by Council for the rest of the city, with the addition of RH and EX zones.
Chung–Hoffman said that the silo structure of the city would cause problems between Planning and Transportation bureaus if a particular solution was proposed.
Selinger–the third bullet talks about alternative modes of transportation, there was some discussion about the relevance but the Transportation Committee found it important and it was retained.
Karlsson–at this meeting last week we talked about modifying the NW District Plan, not just the parking plan. I thought that was another place we could modify this.
Walters–the representatives can find out what approach would be most effective, and if what we think the best way to change it wasn’t, it would slow down coming to a solution. The first goal is to see if the city is receptive. If they’re not, the board talked about what to chain ourselves to.
Jeanne Harrison thought it was important to know how many units were new and planned for construction: this will document that we’re building more units than off-street parking spaces. I see this in my area of the neighborhood.
Some board members didn’t want to dilute the message with the other transportation modes, but I think this is only one leg of the stool, and we have this as an urgent issue (parking minimums, micro apartments) but not the only one.
Welch–many of our apartments were built for the streetcar system and never had parking.
Karlsson–there are statistics in the Eastside parking plan. In the newspaper this last week, they said that 85% of those who use transit & bikes as primary modes also have cars.
Walters– only the Vaux has more parking spots than units, the rest of C.E. John’s developments are in the range of 0.6 – 0.75 spaces per unit.
Theisen–I think the resolution is good, I’d have changed second paragraph to ‘most’.
Cruz–I made it a bit softer to make is more acceptable.
Theisen–this is a good start, bullet point two is strong. Need to look at the strategy, outreach, packet for those meeting with policy makers. These should be written down so you have them when you go to talk with these folks. In this case you’ll be meeting with people who are very busy and will want to see possible answers. It would be good to have three or four possible options to present.
Vrilakas–the level of people we’re talking with are those who take action. We should go with specific things we want done. There’s no downside, there are solutions in place in other parts of the city.
Selinger–some of the approaches are obvious, but at some level you don’t want to tell staff how to do their job. We’re making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be.
Cruz–there’s a balance there: we need to think about solutions, but this is a thorny, difficult problem. We need to get people on our side, others have to take the initiative to find solutions. When, in the past, we’ve provided solutions, they are usually rejected. This is an opportunity to do both: get support, give examples.
Our first meeting is with Planning head Joe Zehnder, then on to council.
Pinger–we should request (not demand) what we’d like to see, not be utterly deferential to those who don’t have time to do this.
The real estate prices are moving up quickly around here, not sure if it’s the micro apartments or other forces.
Theisen–the place on Johnson & 23rd just sold for $2.5 Million
Walters–we’ve gotten no response to our letter requesting a moratorium on Micro Apartments. I asked John to specifically talk with Joe Zehnder about the loophole for no parking in large developments. I was personally offended by the building on Thurman, not realizing this can apply to ALL of Northwest. It can happen anywhere in the neighborhood.
You guys talking to the Mayor’s office, these are related issues, and related in their timing. Those buildings are remarkably profitable.
Chung–to address the positions for strategy, the resolution addresses this: it’s a two pronged approach. The city-wide minimums that were triggered by the SE concerns only call for 20% to 30%. To say you want what was already passed does not deal with the issues we have here.
The big chunk of our neighborhood is historic, we can’t build parking, but developers can. At the very least they should provide parking we can’t provide for ourselves.
Walters–we’ve never been able as a group (including board and committees) to gain consensus whether there should be a minimum and, if so, what exactly that minimum would be. Opinions vary from zero (discourage autos) to 1:1 or more. Reasonable people disagree. I tried to bring this back to the overall parking plan vs. one particular minimum. It’s a policy issue. I think we’ve come to the conclusion we need a tourniquet, 25% is better than none.
Chung–if we don’t provide some back-pocket solution so we don’t get something that the city imposes, but we also don’t want to tell the staff what to do.
Vrilakas–we do need a tourniquet, need something right now today. I would start with looking at the % now, parking vs. units. Total balance today for residents?
Walters–there’s enough parking spots for residents; but not residents, visitors and businesses.
Vrilakas–let’s get this going, we have wolves at the edge of our tent. It’s pernicious and evil…
Walters–if this group is agreed, it’s urgent: let’s send the reps to the city not to accept “we’ll get back to you.”
The committee agrees it’s urgent.
Cruz–Comment is made that nothing is owed to existing residents, they aren’t owed a parking space. There comes a point where existing conditions become intolerable. Maybe not owed a space in front of our house, but do need a place somewhere nearby.
Vicki–these units coming in do cause a problem: if we could add our own parking solutions, for example garages. Should get the data on construction without parking.
Theisen–the approaches are changing the NW District Plan, changing the parking plan, adopting the city wide parking minimums, case by case modifications, amending the community design standards and reinterpretation of the statute that all development go through that process, and the moratorium on Micro Apartments.
Need to meet with Nick Fish, Steve Novick.
Walters–also suggested to get on-street parking committee set up so it’s ready.
Cruz–the city disagrees, waiting for staffing after the budget it passed.
Karlsson–OK if I bug them about this?
Welch–Allowable off-street parking: do we want to change garage prohibition?
Theisen–under 75″ is doable, but often awful. There are different ways to do this.
Walters–Bill’s right, part of the parking plan should include an off-street parking plan, we have the on-street plan coming, and some elements of the off-street, some approved master plans (conway and legacy) and sites for parking garages. These are all part of a debate, not solved now, but the resolution essentially says to work on all these aspects.
Selinger–Christie White thought the Singers were ready to go with their garage.
Karlsson–but lost a potential tenant.
Cruz–Christie tied it into the adoption of the Parking Plan and expiration of his approvals, so he’s antsy.
PInger–Question–strategies, if we are asking for minimums to be implemented and moratorium on micro-apartments. How long does the existing ordinance to take to implement?
Theisen–two to three months?
Pinger–the 20th and Pettygrove building has not been moving well in the institutional market, and is slowing the type of development. The things we’re concerned with are not really of that scale. There’s a rush to do small infill projects with no parking, innovative housing. We could have the pipeline pretty well filled by that time.
Vrilakas–you will be stunned when you go talk to these people about how little they know. Don’t be shy.
Cruz–I have met with them a bunch of times, all the Council members and staff.
Theisen–PBOT has not done this neighborhood any favors historically: no green street on Pettygrove, crosswalks on 23rd had to be forced by the Mayor and are fading away. I don’t see much support unless you’re handing them a check…
Walters–talked with developers about new development, asking neighbors to find out small ones he may not be aware of, and Mark can ask Joan Frederiksen for an update of the construction vs parking spots.
Pinger–West Quadrant Height and Denisty. WQ staff will come on 19th of March joint Planning and Transportation committee. The summer will be all about feedback, so we have ample time to weigh in about several issues and would like to spend time with this committee on these.
I’ll send out a document on existing and proposed entitlements in the West Quadrant area. It would be good to look at conditions in our neighborhood and as reasonably informed citizens of the city to weigh in on the whole proposal. In doing so I think it’s important to have alternative diagram or diagrams for this. No alternatives were presented to the SAC. That’s the way to get to informed consensus. This is highly influential to how it feels to be in this city.
Walters–so look at Steve’s document, this will be on the agenda next week.
Meeting adjourned at 9:06 am.
No motions or votes.
Planning Committee ‘minutes’ for May 24, 2012 may downloaded by clicking on the link below.
These notes have been posted to provide the membership and other interested parties with a timely update on the status of two neighborhood matters that have short-term decision deadlines: “The Elms” project at NW 19th and Johnson and the liquor license application for at NW Raleigh and 24th. These notes will be formalized as minutes as soon as the Committee Chair approves them.
Planning Committee minutes for May 17, 2012 are available for download by clicking on the link below: