Dunbar Spring Neighborhood Association Meeting
August 21, 2017
Kate Arnquhist is coordinating the magnet program at Davis Elementary and distributed flyers about the programs to share information with other neighbors. There will be tours and people can sign up. Open enrollment begins in November.
Trade facilitator is planning an extreme weather workshop to check neighborhood preparation for a heat disaster. The organization is seeking volunteers to be organizers.
Meeting about the building on South 6th Ave on August 24th at 5:30pm at Armory Park Center (220 S 5th Ave).
Time Market applying for a free-standing storage building and parking, so community meetings about those questions are coming up on August 26th at 11am.
There is also a lot split meeting August 30th at 1:30pm.
A Limited hotel is planning to come in next to the convention center (125 rooms). Meeting in a few weeks on August 30th at 6pm in the convention center.
La Placita is going to be redeveloped and a meeting is upcoming on Tuesday, September 5th at 5pm.
- August 22nd miniature books workshop
- Saturday, August 26th facilitated discussion from Humanities Council 10:30am-12pm
- From September through November on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th Thursdays there will be mindfulness meditation from 9am-1pm.
The barber academy funds have been pulled, so Tío is starting a production studio.
Same amount as always in account: $1446.01
11th Ave Parcel Update
Background: As a concession from the construction of the new building, Salvation Army agreed to donate the land specifically for workforce housing. A few options on the table are Habitat for Humanity, U of A Design/Build program, Foundation for Senior Living, Salvation Army, La Frontera, COPE, and Butler Housing (doing the project on 7th Ave and 5th St).
In the last committee meeting, Ann suggested obtaining a parking waiver early in the process. There is a possibility of contacting Ward 1 and making the process more public initially. Glenn was particularly concerned with too long of a timeline (such as the 12 years required for U of A Design/Build). A bid on the project by Salvation Army bid could make the housing more transitional apartments in a larger development plan. Glenn at the city wants someone to take on the whole project. There is an option for market rate housing as well, which means that part of it could be market rate. For example, if there were 5 affordable and 4 market rate, that would open up the project to more developers.
Habitat for Humanity might be the only organization interested. Habitat will almost certainly ask for single car garages. One concern is that Habitat may be the only people who submit a proposal, which means that the design might not be the best. It would be possible to have parking in the alley. Matt and Ezra will meet with Habitat for Humanity and ask them to purchase other, better-designed plans for the project. Potentially the committee can negotiate parking permits with Parkwise.
The parking variance process could be expensive. It could be 4 months and drawings have to be designed and submitted. Otherwise, each house needs one parking spot that would be 8.5’ and 18’.
There was a suggestion to ask for the Habitat budget. Ezra responded Habitat probably has a combination of grants, donations, and income from the sale of homes. Matt added that is why the mix between market rate and affordable housing would open up more possibilities, even if 60% is affordable and 40% market rate. That would help maintain the material palette and neighborhood aesthetic.
Karen added that the original neighborhood group was very dedicated to the idea of it being completely affordable. If necessary, it would be great to minimize the amount of market rate housing. Sky said he feels uncomfortable with developers profiting significantly off of this project, because it would drive up housing costs in general. However, there was also the comment that affordable housing shouldn’t necessitate bad design.
There was a question about the other organizations mentioned. No other organization has the capital to keep the housing affordable in perpetuity. Only the initial sale would be affordable. Karen asked if the Pima County Land Trust could take over the perpetuity guarantee, but they also do not have the resources to maintain the housing as affordable. Karen suggested reaching out to some of the groups to gauge interest. COPE does not have the resources. Karen will also get in touch with Barrio San Antonio to learn more about the Design/Build and will also reach out to Corky Poster. However, another neighbor commented that the people who bought the Design/Build houses in Barrio San Antonio then sold the house for a high price. Ezra clarified that if people sell it quickly for profit, all of the profit goes back to the program. Karen will invite Butler to the September meeting.
Background: Verizon wants to construct a pole on the north side of the University Street parking. To do so, they applied for a special exception land use. The neighborhood didn’t want the antenna so requested a designed covering, like a water tower or a train-themed metal or a mural. Another neighborhood request was native vegetation. Verizon would not concede to any of these requests. Some people have health concerns, but those are not legitimate objections according to the FCC.
Natasha approached people from within 150 feet of the pole to write letters of opposition. The state legislature changed who could object – it used to be 150 feet from property line. The neighborhood has written a letter of concern as well as other neighborhoods. Ann pointed out that the pole would take out parking spots, which could be another objection the neighborhood could raise.
The latest potential would be for the antenna to be on top of the apartments roof. There will be another meeting between neighborhood officers and Ward 1 and Manny Padilla. On the listserv, one person responded with opposition but the rest said the idea was acceptable given the alternative.
The special exception process means they will go to the zoning examiner September 28th at 6pm at the mayor’s office. That would be a last opportunity to air objections. Mayor and council would then vote on it and it needs 5 of 7 council member votes. If mayor and council vote against the project, Verizon could sue the city because they followed the legal requirements. So mayor and council could be sympathetic but still approve the project to avoid a lawsuit.
Verizon had initially proposed putting the antenna on top of Sahara, whereas the current apartment owners are interested in the income. Matt added that putting it on the roof requires more structural engineers, plans, time and money.
There was a question about whether the project would violate any sort of historic designation in the neighborhood. Karen responded it is unlikely because the property itself is not a contributing historic property. There is also no overlay on that property with different zoning requirements. So the pole meets the code. The only possible way to fight the proposal is if taking away parking spots would put the apartments in violation of the total number required.
The question was whether if the antenna is on top of the roof the health implications would be minimized. No one in attendance at the meeting was sure about those impacts.
Gail asked about the property values argument as a legitimate objection. The neighborhood included those concerns in the letter, as well as a request that they look at other sites, the native plants request, and other issues.
M(Karen)/S(Susanna)/A. Motion to propose that Verizon pursue putting the pole on top of the Entrada apartments, but still reiterate neighborhood opposition to the project in general. Motion passed by 9 approvals and 3 abstentions.
M(Karen)/S(Gail)/R. Motion to accept a palm tree design for the pole. Motion failed by a 6 nays, 1 in favor, 4 abstentions.
Background: the city owns a portion of the land and a development company owns another two lots. The developer approached the neighborhood many years ago with the idea of buying the city land and developing. The Ward 1 councilperson said that the neighborhood had to approve before the sale. The neighborhood had many meetings with the developer and there are still hurt feelings about the process. The request from the neighborhood was a mixed use development, parking on the inside, 30% affordable housing. The developers met some requirements but not all and the neighborhood was divided. The development plan didn’t pass so the city didn’t sell the land.
There were two historic houses, which the developers destroyed. The city is trying to sell off surplus property. Karen had a meeting with Jim, the city real estate representative, and Elaine Betcher to review what the neighborhood would like to see at that intersection. Jim’s job is to sell the land for as much money as possible. Elaine works for the city manager and liaises with the ward office, so her job is for the neighborhood to be happy. The ward would likely still support our opinion but they could get overruled. The land is zones C3, so for convenience store, office, Starbucks, nightclub. We may not have as much power as we thought we had. The only reason the city owns the land was to potentially widen Speedway. They used highway restoration funds to purchase the land, but haven’t used it for original purpose so have to sell land to pay back the initial funds.
There was a question of whether the problem is the developer or the plan. Karen responded that the issue is both. The drawings from several years ago were rather ugly.
Elaine wants to deal directly with Ward 1 and not with the neighborhood. Matt added that Glenn proposed tying the 11th Avenue parcel proposal with the Stone/Speedway parcel. For example, to get what we want on 11th Avenue to use the Stone/Speedway as a bargaining chip. Karen said it was intriguing, but the combination of the two should be at least 30%. Not making a good development at Stone/Speedway would be a waste of potential.
Thanks to the great rains, weeds are tall. So just a reminder that there is a six inch weed limit and right of way should be clear for folks to walk. That includes tree limbs that are growing down. There is also a tree down on 11th. The Royal Sun cleared out the chicane recently. Other traffic circles need help, so it would be great to organize a work day. There will be a chip and mulch day on September 2nd starting at 8am. Looking for people to contribute to the chipper.
There was a question about notification on the listserv or via letter about the code on right of way. When this was done last year, there were some specific critiques of houses and significant backlash so it was not a constructive approach. The guidelines are on the website if individuals are interested.
There was a question about what constitutes a weed or not. Karen said that at the neighborhood workdays that is a good question to ask. Another option is to take a picture, put it on the listserv, and ask for help identifying. To join the listserv, can add self on website.
Sex Offender notification/Halfway House
The house is located on 10th Ave between 4th and University. It is unclear who runs the house or who lives there. There are a number of sex offenders who live there, and people who live within a certain radius will be notified, but it seems that the radius has shrunk. People transition pretty quickly. There are about two to three people in each apartment.
There was a reminder that the people who live in the house are also our neighbors and we should think about how to be better neighbors. The person who runs the house used to be on the board when it was a different organization. However, the people who run it now just charge them a lot of money and don’t seem to have a higher purpose. People are trying to change their lives and people are trying to be safe, so the neighborhood listserv is not the best place to share this information. If someone is interested, they can look at the Arizona Department of Public Safety website. There is a difference between the role of regulatory agencies and the role of the neighborhood.
There is an objection to living next to folks, but people are concerned about how it is to be managed and that it is exploitative of the residents. Joanna asked what leverage we have to advocate for better, more holistic management.
DNARC – The security team is working with different social service agencies to talk to folks who hang out on the plaza. There is a compassion first, enforcement second values system. Ward 1 wanted to use environmental services fund to remediate land West and South of Caterpillar headquarters, which would allow for development. CVS is not coming in downtown, because they have expanded too quickly. It is unclear who will go into the Chicago Music Store building.
Downtown Links – No updates
WAMO – No updates
Neighborhood Garden – The Dunbar Coalition is considering contacting Becky for the U of A gardening program to create it as a mission heritage garden and slave diet garden. Dunbar Coalition has approved $100 for mulch for a September 6th evening garden cleanup during the full moon. There is a lot of human waste now in the garden. There was a couple living in the garden, but the neighbors suggested that they sleep in the parking lot instead. The church has a nearby restroom that is always open.
Dunbar Coalition – Further updates next month and will be sent electronically
Speedway/Stone – See above
11th Ave Parcel – See above
Walkability – No updates (except above)
Neighborhood Foresters – A lot of activity. There has been planting, relocating, trimming. For those interested in participating, see the email list. Brad also has a text list for last minute help.
M (Sky)/S (Matt)/A Motion to approve the July minutes. Motion passed with 13 in favor and 1 abstention.