Monday, March 3, 2008
We've Already Got One! (An Urban Zoning That Is...)
We may have won the war - but we did lose the battle...or did we?
Last Thursday, the Planning Commission overwhelmingly opposed the Specific Plan bill (SP-MU) that is currently in Metro Council and awaiting second reading this Tuesday. The public hearing was attended by both the community and of course the congregation, and both sides got to air grievances over the future of the property that is gaining more and more attention. I was not in attendance, but from what I've heard from friends who did make it, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to disapprove this bill. Some comments were made by those on the Commission that "they could not in good conscience vote any other way". No doubt they were swayed by the congregation's continuing diatribe that this is an attack on Faith/Christianity/God's will/God's plan. The fact that the congregation continues to demonize the community is appalling.
The Planning Commission's vote is a bit disheartening, but it seems that a lot of this work wasn't necessary after all. Metro Legal stepped in and informed the parties involved that the property in question (and the entire area that encompasses the DCDP) is already part of the Urban Zoning Overlay that was established in 2000. This zoning has similar requirements for new development that the community wishes to see occur at the corner (building set back, parking location, etc). Details of the zoning can be viewed here and here.
NOM made it official that Rite Aid is in fact backing out of the deal (due to market conditions, not necessarily the community backlash - but of course the congregation blames the community). So what does the future hold for the property? Will a developer step forward that has the clout to get something done on that corner that makes both the community and the congregation happy? At least now we know that requirements are already in place for whoever decides to preserve/develop the property. We will have to wait and see.