Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Latest Fairview Project at Planning Commission Tonight - updated

The Planning Commission meets tonight and they have 311 units of housing on the agenda. It's a substantial meeting.

A 20-unit project on Portland Road and a 111 unit project on Wiltsey Road seemed fairly ordinary, and I did not look at them closely. We need housing, and these are chunks of housing. (Maybe you will know more about them and discern reasons they are not ordinary.)

Typical three-story walkup proposed for Fairview
The project of real interest has been the 180 unit project at Fairview.

There were many adjustments and exceptions requested, and the Staff report is 200+ pages.

At this point, though, it does not seem worthwhile to dive in to detail.

Summary of changes
The project has changed a lot.

The summary says the revised plan has
an increase of 80 apartments, a decrease of 65 residential condo/townhouses, a decrease of 3,000 square feet of office, and a decrease of 3,000 square feet of retail.
This current proposal in a large portion of the former "village center" and mixed-use area will instead be a car-oriented cookie-cutter apartment complex. That's a little disappointing, of course.

The "open space" plan shows parking lot, lawns, and building footprint.

"Open space"
Many of the adjustments involved setbacks, and you can see in the staff report how the word "majority" is doing lots of the work. Several of the streets are "private," but really just driveways, and this also allows the staff report to fudge that buildings are sited "close" to "a street." This is interpretive generosity, not strict interpretation!

Fudge factor
But in the end, we need housing, the whole Fairview concept has been very slow to develop, and if parts of it revert to more conventional cookie-cutter forms, isn't it better to have construction and housing than an open field or piles of garbage?

Garbage at Strong and Reed Roads
(April 2018)
At the moment it seems better not to wait around for a visionary development, but instead to accept more ordinary forms of development. You might have a different conclusion, of course. (See previous note on the Hearing Notice here, and all previous notes on this portion of the development here.)

Update, January 5th, 2019

The Hearing was continued to January 8th. One reason is that the Staff Report was not published in a timely fashion, and the City was bound to extend the comment period if requested, and some did request this.

The supplemental Staff Report suggests that Pringle Creek Community will have additional comments, though they have not been published yet.

Over at Hinessight, they have an overview of comments and link to the letter from the Heritage School (which also has not yet been published by the City).

Heritage School: Incompatible with Fairview Master Plan
The school asserts that the overall concept for the project is not consistent with the goals in the Fairview Master Plan.

At the same time, the Morningside Neighborhood Association look at it and concluded "looks great to me!"

We have different notions of "comfortable access"
The board of the neighborhood association has seemed very autoist and do not themselves walk or bike very much, and some have been outright hostile to walking and biking, so the conclusion that "pedestrian and bike traffic allow comfortable access" should probably be read as "pedestrian and bike traffic allow comfortable access [for those of us in cars] to the development." It is unlikely that anyone who pays close attention to walking and biking informed their sentiment with meaningful analysis.

In any case, there may be more to say as more comment is published, and it seems likely now the matter will be appealed to or get called up by City Council.

(Also, and this isn't really relevant here, so it's a parenthesis, in the materials is reference to a March 2018 refinement plan for the Fairview Addition that has not been made public.

"Fairview Woods Addendum" or in another place
"Fairview Woods Refinement Plan"
I will have to look into this, but I don't remember seeing anything at the Planning Commission or at City Council on this, and so it seems to be an Administrative Approval that generated no publication of the resulting plan. It's a little strange.)

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with info on the continuation of the Hearing for the Fairview project and with comments from Heritage School.