July 2017

Minutes Date: 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Full Text: 

Announcements

Lot split proposed in Barrio Viejo

Zoning public hearing on August 3rd for Speedway and 5th Ave

Library Events:

  • Thursday – 10 signs of Alzheimers
  • Saturday the 22nd – Edible Desert
  • Saturday the 29th – Climate Change event and discussion

Jennifer Thompson offers free yoga on Sundays 5-6pm at Milo Crossfit. The class is open to neighbors, friends, and family.

Arizona Ground Game is a nonprofit focused on getting to know your neighbors and encouraging them to get to the polls.

There is a one seed Tucson program at the library, encouraging everyone to plant cow peas, grow them, and bring them back to the seed library. These plants are in season now until mid-August.

Treasurer’s Report

Same amount as always in account: $1446.01

Discussion

Community police officer

Karen asked Officer Jocelyn Avilez to present about recent robberies. On the Dunbar Spring website, in the resources section, there is a link to police activity in the neighborhood. The police are present frequently in the neighborhood. Sky cited other smaller robberies around the same time.

Officer Avilez explained that the majority of neighborhood calls are larceny from vehicles. Theft is defined as anything robbed not from within the house structure. There are new community services officers who have obtained DNA swabs from places where houses were broken into. The crime labs are processing the information.

At Esteban Park and Salvation Army, there are a lot of welfare check calls as people pass out from alcohol-related heat issues. Natasha asked about the impact of the bathrooms at Esteban Park. Officer Avilez said she passes by around 10pm and gives an initial warning to people camping the in park and then cites for subsequent infractions.

Officer Avilez says unfortunately there hasn’t been an increase in Tucson Police Department staffing. The patrol continues to be short-staffed. That is why it takes a few hours to get to calls. Response times are determined on a 1-9 scale. Levels 1 and 2 are violent crimes with aggressor still around. Level 3 is welfare check. Level 4 is burglary but the robber is not present. If an officer is in route to these calls, he or she might get diverted. This year more community service officers will be hired to handle the level 4 calls. Level 7 is an alarm activated. Levels 8 and 9 are traffic stops.

Natasha pointed out that neighbors to Esteban Park have noted an increase in the number of people in the area. Officer Avilez also expressed that the department is open to community project ideas. For example, more targeted enforcement on a particular issue in each community. The idea of these projects is to address issues jointly with the community.

Sky brought up the issue of people sleeping in the community garden. Natasha added that there has been vandalism. Officer Avilez clarified that the hours are posted and it is a secured area. She said she would pass along the word to the other officers.

The Next Door website gives information from different neighborhoods. Ezra added it is possible to edit settings to reduce the number of emails you receive. Officer Avilez says she is not sure whether or not the Tucson Police Department monitors the Next Door notifications.

El Presidio

Tad Pace, co-president in El Presidio, gave an update on the platform site at El Presidio. There are several parcels that could potentially be developed in the neighborhood. There is a large, vacant, city-owned lot south of 6th St and west of Stone. There have been many different attempts to develop the lot. Nimbus was the first attempt, and then Town West made a second attempt. There was an impasse between Town West and the city where the city did not fulfill part of its responsibility, which meant that the agreement did not sunset during the recession delay.

Town West has returned to propose another project, partnered with Tom Warn, who did Main Gate Geronimo Plaza project. Tom has been in charge of outreach. The dialogue started in October 2016. The neighborhood developed a position paper about respecting history, appropriate density and massing, and other considerations. The first proposal from Town West in January 2017 did not take into consideration any of the suggestions or recommendations. It would have severely impacted traffic flow. They presented a generic big building site plan. The proposal would include the parcels south of the Steinfield Warehouse. The building would not have tied in with the Warehouse District.

The first proposal did not specify type of use. The neighborhood was strongly opposed to student housing. The neighborhood is now on the fourth version of the site plan. The massing on the platform site is now further toward the railroad tracks. One of the buildings is proposed as 14 stories, but the neighborhood has set a limit at 12 stories and required that it step down toward other buildings. Moving to the west, the fourth version has reduced the massing to two story townhouses. It now connects better to the neighborhood and doesn’t overwhelm the small house along Church. There will be around 400 parking spaces – two or three stories of parking and residential on top. Traffic would be sent up Church toward Downtown Links or to Stone.

The neighborhood was very hesitant and suspicious about Town West disregarding local partners and a lack of creativity. The Presidio neighborhood wanted iconic architecture on the site as a gateway to downtown. At the moment the discussion is ongoing. Tad expressed support for massing when appropriate downtown, such as the platform site. However, there is a concern that the discussion could turn quickly. The neighborhood has retained professional counsel to review communications.

Ezra asked about whether there will be connectivity down 9th Ave. Tad clarified that by that point in the project it will be in stage 3 of Downtown Links and there will be a bicycle and pedestrian deck. Bike and pedestrian flow would be largely unimpeded, except for cars going to the Steinfield Warehouse parking, which is concerning. Natasha asked about 9th Ave parking. Tad confirmed there would still be diagonal spots along 9th Ave. The architecture firm is a respected local urban planner. Frank Mascia is the principal of the firm.

The project will be isolated from Dunbar Spring by Downtown Links, but will impact the feel of the deck park. Karen asked whether or not Dunbar Spring has to approve the plans. Tad confirmed that the neighborhood has talked to Tom Warn and encouraged him to speak with Dunbar Spring. If El Presidio does not like how the project is developing, the mayor and city council have pledged to back the neighborhood. Tom is a good diplomat, which is why Town West hired him. Ezra asked if Tad could share contact info or whether representatives from Dunbar Spring can sit in on the next conversation. The infill committee of El Presidio considers proposals before sending to the full neighborhood association. WAMO (Warehouse Arts) has also been reviewing site plans and not raised major objections.

There have been a year and a half of meetings about the site across from El Charro in a Request for Proposal process. The El Presidio neighborhood was involved in negotiations and selections. Corky Poster was the local person working on it, but the developers could not meet the original vision so there will be a new RFP process in the future. The maximum height was 8 stories for that project, but stepping down. El Presidio was happy with the massing in general, but some did not like the 7 stories. When the county bond referendum failed and tax credits were uncertain, the original plan of affordable housing there was no longer viable. The Presidio neighborhood was opposed to affordable housing in any case.

Verizon update

Ezra, Natasha, Sky, and Gail were all in attendance at the June meeting on the Verizon project. Karen spoke with Michelle before the meeting and she promised to email the documents and notes, but has not. Karen emailed her again to request.

Verizon will be replacing a wood TEP pole with a metal pole. Ezra pressed them on the accuracy of the renderings, and they did not respond. Verizon said that they reviewed other options but this proposal was the most viable. The prior proposal was another site. Neighbors spoke up about their ongoing objections and asked for concessions. Verizon did not respond to any concessions, such as a mural on the outside of the canister. Verizon was concerned about maintenance of the mural. Peter McLaughlin is the city contact so comments should go to him: peter.mclaughlin@tucsonaz.gov. There is a 300-foot notification process for the meeting. Natasha asked about poles south of University, they promised to send a map of the requested area but have not. Ezra asked him to explain the documents.

Karen contacted West University and Feldman to see if they would join onto the request letter. West University wrote a letter in agreement. A representative from Feldman was at the meeting but has not written a letter. Karen proposed sending a letter to Ward 1 and an in-person meeting with Councilwoman Regina Romero.

Karen proposed a vote on sending a letter to Ward 1. Natasha asked about whether they need Ward 1 and Council approval for the special exception. The zoning examiner collects the comments and sends a recommendation to the council. Those who live within 300 feet should put down their address when submitting comments since feedback from those who live closer have more of an impact. Ezra confirmed that Ward 1 could support the neighborhood but still get outvoted by the council. The issue would be discussed at the open council meeting. The zoning examiner will take 30 days in an internal process, but will consider comments.

There were concerns raised about the lack of care or responsiveness to the neighborhood. Those comments in the public meeting seemed to have little impact on Verizon.

M(Sky)/S(Ezra)/A. Motion to send a letter to Ward 1 about opposition to Verizon canister and if possible to have a meeting. Motion passed with 11 votes in favor, 1 abstention.

It was proposed to put a mural on the canister as a concession. The board will work on the letter together.

Walking Tour

Karen proposed a walking tour guide to Dunbar Spring, inspired by her experience in Portland. Karen raised the idea at the DNARC meeting. Some people were strongly in favor and a few were opposed. The decision was that neighborhoods could opt in. The idea is not a group walking tour, just a written guide that each individual could follow. Gail asked about whether the neighborhood did a similar activity. Karen said there was a bike tour but no one attended. Ezra said Brad did a guided tour a few years ago during the mesquite milling and porch fest. Ezra recommended drawing on that information. There is a bike tour guide who always stops at Jim’s Market and Susan’s murals.

Seasonal Pest

There was discussion on the listserv about the emergence of cockroaches seasonally. Likely mosquitos will start to emerge, so be aware of standing water. Standing pots that collect water do breed mosquitos.

There was a question about the green rocks on Main. It was pale green and then it bled into the asphalt. It seems that it was a weed treatment.

Outreach/Engagement

Amanda had an idea of house parties to celebrate the centennial of houses in the neighborhood. The houses that aren’t turning 100 could put up their age. Karen planned to send letters to housing that are supporting structures in the historic district. She is compiling a list. There is a triplex on Perry built in 1911. If anyone wants to support, can sign up for a street. Ezra suggested using “Map Tucson” and turning on the filter for historic properties.

Committee Reports

- DNARC – Hotel will open September 1st. There will be a vintage arcade and bar in the old Junxion space. There are two gyms going in: a Nerd Gym and Let’s Sweat. The lofts at 2 E Congress above the Chase building are $1100 a month for 496 square feet. On south Stone across from the police station, one to two bedroom apartments are 1100 square feet for $1500 a month. The Marist at cathedral square will have a community center and apartments for low-income seniors. There will be 50 affordable housing units on 7th Ave. 10 E Broadway will have 50 apartments for seniors and veterans. On Congress between Scott and Stone will be a five story building with an office space, bowling alley, and food court. There will be streetscape improvements on Scott Ave, including bike/ped accessibility. There will not be any work north of Pennington. There will be home buyer fairs in the fall.

- Downtown Links – Only one building left to demolish: the most historic part of Benjamin Plumbing.

- WAMO – No update.

- Neighborhood Garden – No update.

- Dunbar Coalition – Lisa is out of town and will give double report next time.

- Speedway/Stone – No update. Karen will ask for an introduction to the real estate division.

-11th Ave Parcel – Glenn was going to attend tonight but did not. Ezra sent a revised RFP. Glenn said there was a lot to discuss in the proposal. Karen will ask him to come to the August meeting. Ezra will remind the neighborhood.

- Walkability – No update.

- Neighborhood Foresters – No update.

June Minutes

M (Sky)/S (Gail)/A Motion to approve the June minutes with the amendment of “on King” rather than “in King.”

Motion passed by unanimous assent (12-0).