Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Funny Lot with Walls on Second and Patterson NW to Become Sports Rehab Clinic

The City's posted a Hearing Notice for a proposed sports medicine rehab clinic on the funny walled lot on Second and Patterson.

From this...via Streetview

To this! via Public Hearing Notice
Mostly it looks pretty great, but you know, could we just arrange a swap so that Xicha gets this spot, and the clinic goes to the more hidden, industrial park site? (I know, I know.)

Right on the edge between the two new zones
Between the new Edgewater/Second Street Mixed-Use Zone and the way we would like Second Street to connect with path to the Union Street Railroad Bridge along the old rail alignment, our hopes are to make this a walkable, almost "main street" area.

The proposed design, as well as some additional conditions suggested in the Staff Report, move a little towards this, but broadly speaking there is a mismatch between the site plan and our hopes. Maybe most significantly, the mismatch is the clinic itself.

People rehabbing are not going to be walking or biking to the facility in meaningful numbers. They'll be driving.

And it's not something that will utilize random foot traffic, like a cafe, pub, or retail store. There's nothing here for people out on a stroll. It's a drive-to destination only.

Sports Rehab Clinic proposed for Second & Patterson NW
Even with some nice touches on the sidewalk, landscaping, and alley, this is a single-story, autoist clinic oriented to the parking lot.

Zeroing in on some of the requirements of the new Edgewater Mixed-Use Zone, a citizen submitted some detailed criticism and comment, and maybe later this week or over the weekend there will be more to say about that. This is an interesting transitional case between older and newer zoning, it's a wonderful thing to see the empty lot being redeveloped, but maybe also it's a comment that medical clinics and nursing homes seem to be the land use of first resort as we redevelop things. There is a developing cluster here of clinics, and as incipient monoculture that's not exactly what the doctor ordered.

Addendum, September 1st

It's hard to be very critical about the proposal, because it redevelops a long-vacant empty lot, and because it's not terrible overall. It could be better, but you know, it doesn't suck.

In an environment where there was lots of redevelopment and another project might quickly swoop in if this was didn't go forward, staff should have good reason for a narrower and stricter interpretation of the new zoning regulations and their intent.

As it is, maybe we are lucky there is this proposal, and staff might have reason to have a rather loose and generous interpretation of some of the regulations.

As I read it, the citizen criticism is grounded in many cases, but staff's vagueness in interpretation and generosity to the development team is defensible.

So this is a boring "both sides are right" reading of things, and it does not seem worthwhile to work through a closer analysis of the Staff Report's recommendations.

Two of the adjustments are notable here:
  • Adjustment 1: To provide a maximum setback of approximately 25 feet from Patterson Street NW and 2nd Street NW where a maximum setback of 10 feet is allowed
  • Adjustment 2: To place the building along approximately 38% of the frontage on 2nd Street NW where a minimum of 50% is required
The retreat from the sidewalk for a very large "bark mulch setback" and the lack of building frontage on Second Street both hinder the development of walkability along Second Street and keep the building in a suburban rather than fully urban idiom. It's a little strange that the smallest setback is on the alley rather than the street.

The reasons for the adjustments aren't very detailed or supported very well, and staff could push back and say, "no, you should give us more reason."

But the Staff Report accepts a lot of the reasons and argument with hand-waving and vague assurances that this meets the intent of the code...and so on and so forth.

Is this the right project for a battle?

Probably not.

That's how it seems from here, anyway.


Jim Scheppke said...

I'm pondering a Sports Rehab Clinic. The need for "sports rehab" — I will add to my long list of "First World Problems." Historians in the future may look back at the affluence of the US in the early 21st century and marvel that there was such a thing. Also at the fact that many in the US could not afford to see a doctor, but the privileged could get their sports rehab.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(Added new notes on two of the adjustments and the Staff Report's analysis.)