August 2005

Minutes Date: 

Monday, August 15, 2005

Full Text: 

I. Call to order – introductions

  • July meeting minutes approved 25-0.
  • Call for anyone interested in organizing mural celebration – contact Jim Cook.
  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station – proposed for 9th Ave/6th St. Natasha Winnik and Jim Cook met with Councilman Ibarra concerning this plan. He will follow neighborhood direction. He also indicated he will donate $25,000 in Back to Basics money to use previous plans to turn the area into a park. Station runs counter to neighborhood plan to create links. General concern that we don’t need extra traffic, noise pollution, dangerous railroad crossing. Motion that the neighborhood writes a letter opposing the plan completely (addressing safety concerns) and supports the use of Back to Basics money to convert land into a park. Motion approved 29-0.

II. Citygate presentation

  • Developers want a letter of approval from neighborhood to give to mayor and council.
  • 105 condos, 1200 sq. ft/condo
  • 9th Ave – 3 stories with rooftop garden running parallel with 9th Ave.
  • 9th Ave. – 3 units/story
  • Entrances only on Speedway and Stone.
  • Parking self-contained within project.
  • 6 stories on Speedway and Stone.
  • Financially project doesn’t work as rentals, dept. of real estate will penalize developers if project does not sell out.
  • Architect presented project – (please see July minutes for more details)
  • Questions/Discussion with developers:
  • Concern about increased property taxes for elderly? – tax breaks/programs through the state based on age of home, age of homeowner, widows, etc.
  • Any traffic studies done for that intersection/concern about additional traffic in neighborhood, especially folks turning right onto 1st St., then cutting through to Main or turning north on 9th Ave. to get to Speedway – plan is for this project to attract folks that work downtown, U of A, government and use public transportation or alternate modes (bike, walk, etc.) Don’t foresee huge traffic burden with everyone in the building leaving at the same time.
  • Question to fund traffic mitigation on 1st St. to reduce appeal for new residents to cut through, possibly speed hums, bump outs, traffic circles – possibility.
  • What will happen to the two homes – will donate to neighborhood, neighborhood will have to pay for relocation.
  • Question about lighting on 9th Ave./ possibility of following dark sky compliant exterior lighting – possibility.
  • Commercial property sold or leased – leased.
  • Will they follow LEEDS certification (environmentally approved building standards) – possibility.
  • Will they allow 10% of units to fall under the city’s affordable housing program – open to idea but want more information.
  • Security system – haven’t decided yet.
  • Utilities – underground
  • Plantings on Stone/Speedway – according to city landscape code
  • Possible pedestrian path in back of building between Best Western – path will be between 5-10 ft. wide, not for cars.
  • Development fits with Stone Ave. corridor plan. Project needs to be part of neighborhood and engage the neighborhood in order to be successful.

III. Election of Vice President. Mike White nominated and approved 25-0.

IV. Discussion of Citygate project with neighborhood residents only

  • Options to Approve project, Not approve project, Approve with conditions
  • Are there any benefits for the neighborhood
  • There will be some sort of development at that site – question is whether this is suitable for the area comparable to other developments
  • Developers need $20 million for the project, they say they have the money, but the project might die and they might have to sell it - then what happens?
  • Create a good list of conditions and hold them to it
  • As a neighborhood we have fought bad developments here. Now we are part of the whole downtown/Rio Nuevo push. This is the best bet of what we can get for that corner.
  • Councilman Ibarra is an advocate for us.
  • Opportunity for neighborhood to increase property values.
  • Developers have listened to our ideas and incorporated our input. If we say no, another project might not listen to our input and adjust plans to our liking.
  • Like high density on Stone.
  • Walgreens on lot is an empty threat – city won’t go for it.
  • Face of neighborhood has changed and will continue to do so if this development goes in. Vibrant neighborhood doesn’t mean wealthy neighborhood.
  • Some people were against the project but didn’t go to the meeting as they felt it was a lost cause.
  • Is there a guarantee if this development is sold, new owners will follow through? Any developer will have to go through rezoning process, which will include lots of neighborhood input.
  • The developers are here because city owns part of the land they want.
  • More density in middle of town, but concern about increased energy consumption. LEEDS certified building demands energy efficiencies.
  • Neighborhood is changing – how can we slow that down?
  • Increased property values are a negative – don’t know how to address this. Beginning of period when renters will have to move out, as rents will go up.
  • Developers can’t go forward unless we approve – depends on a mutually trusting relationship.
  • Motion to approve project with conditions to be adopted by the neighborhood association. Approved 24-7, 1 abstention
  • Conditions – break into two categories – negative impact mitigation vs. wish list.
  • Want to follow dark sky compliance for lighting.
  • Want traffic mitigation along 9th Ave and 1st St.
  • LEEDs certification – minimum silver LEEDs criteria
  • Affordable housing important
  • Want conditions in place in case property is sold.
  • Bulk of residential is owner-occupied.

Motion that working committee will make up final list of conditions to forward on to the neighborhood. Approved 18-0

IV. Other – Dunbar school is being vandalized – please call 911 or graffiti abatement program if you notice anything.

Meeting adjourned (after 9:15)