Monday, July 25, 2011

City Council, July 25th - New Mixed Use Zone and Drive-Throughs

Four things on the Council agenda touch on biking and transportation. Though two of them are hearings, at this point they've been on the radar long enough that there shouldn't be surprises.

Before formal Council session, there will be another worksession on the Sustainable Cities Initiative. This one will touch on bikes!
Sustainable Cities Initiative Projects – Downtown Parks Connectivity; Bike Planning; Downtown Traffic Circulation; Transportation Safety; Stormwater Code
The final reports for the parks connectivity and bike planning are not yet posted. The Circulation and Transportation Safety are here, and a critique here.

The Neighborhood Center Mixed Use Zone is up for a public hearing. Staff report is here (196pp!). This is intended, as I understand it, for new developments of three to 15 acres, so it will affect new development on the periphery of the city rather than redevelopment and in-fill. Developments also need to be "within one-eight of a mile of a major intersection." The concept is intended to have:
  • Sense of place
  • Compact urban form
  • Neighborhood vitality
  • Innovative design
  • Pedestrian orientation
  • Transit accessibility
Mostly it seems like a very good thing, but informally some have suggested that it could use some course-correction in another iteration. Perhaps a reader who has followed the project will have a better sense for its strengths and weaknesses?

More on Bank Drive-throughs. See the July 11th notes for map and discussion. At the Council meeting of the 11th, staff had recommended that the drive-throughs be allowed as a "conditional use," and Council asked whether they should go through a "variance" or "conditional use" process. (This is all clear as mud, and inquiries into the city just got more planner-speak! I'll update in a comment below if I can get more. The chief thing is whether from a applicant's standpoint, getting a variance requires that you meet a higher standard - is it more difficult? I think this is the case, but I can't get it in plain English! If you understand, chime in please.) What is clear is that staff have returned with a recommendation and affirmed that the drive-throughs should through the "conditional use" process rather than the "variance" process.

Cherriots is asking the City for a letter to support grant applications for the Biodiesel Bus Acquisition Project and the Regional Transit Center Development Project.

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