UH ZONING COMMISSION REPORT TO UH CITY UH Zoning...UH ZONING COMMISSION REPORT TO UH CITY COUNCIL...
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UH ZONING COMMISSION REPORT TO UH CITY COUNCILRECOMMENDING DISAPPROVAL OF REZONING APPLICATION
CONCERNING 901, 905, AND 909 MELROSE AVENUE
This report consists of transcriptions of two segments of the audio recording of theZoning Commissions meeting of August 1, 2017. The day before the Chair provided thefollowing explanation of these segments in an email sent to the other four commissioners:
Subject: Explanation of Some Segments of Tomorrow Nights Agenda
* * *[S]o as to provide residents with a final opportunity to address any newlyadvanced consideration that might be materially influencing how any of us maybe thinking of voting at the end of tomorrow nights meeting, Ive inserted fifteenminutes for concluding public input between Initial Commissioner Explanations of Considerations and Concerns and Determination of Substance & Format of Zoning Commission Recommendations & Report to City Council on RezoningApplication.
As I mentioned when we initially were getting into this, I think that someexplanation of the reasons for our voting the way that we end up doing might behelpful in providing residents with some indication that regardless of outcome theviews they expressed received some consideration. Such explanations can beshort and simple or long and complicated, and I believe each of us should feelcomfortable speaking our mind and/or heart as we see fit.
Our neighbors hearing us share our thinking with each other neednt entail eitherdebate between commissioners or debate between commissioners and residents,and I will try my best to articulate that thought at the outset of tomorrowsmeeting and as chair to keep things within those guidelines as the eveningunfolds.
The short interval between tomorrow nights Zoning Commission meeting andnext Tuesdays City Council meeting probably will prevent a detailed writtenreport of what may turn out to be different reasons behind our votes, and onepossibility could be a combination of (1) excerpts from the audio recording of ourmeeting and (2) as many of us as are able to do so being at next Tuesdayscouncil meeting to answer any questions councilors might wish to ask us.
* * *
The full audio recording of the entire audio recording will be available on the citywebsites ULP Development Project webpage,
but the following transcriptions have been prepared in lieu of audio excerpts of the referencedsegments of such recording.
INITIAL COMMISSIONER EXPLANATIONS OF CONSIDERATIONS AND CONCERNS
[@ audio recording time stamps 1:48-2:22 ]
Commissioner Stepheny Gahn:
I'm a member of the Zoning Commission, but I also live at 62 Highland Drive. Pat hasasked that we speak from the heart and I've been fairly quiet and observant, taking in all of theperspectives and emails and listening to speakers, keeping an open mind like he has asked untilthe final moments here to make my final decision.
I have many personal reasons as well as trying to represent what the city's best interestsare. I'll start off with saying that one of my personal reasons is that I personally doctor at theMayo Clinic and have for over two decades. I've experienced the need and also the satisfactionof having a hotel near where you're doctoring. I know there are many families that would benefitfrom a hotel in this particular area. I think there's a need for it, a demand for it, I don't think it'smet yet.
I also I have a six year old, a three year old, and a nine month old at home that arealways on my mind, they are my priority in my life. Their future is always what is driving mydecisions. The future of University Heights is what I am thinking about right now and I knowsomething that Jim Lane said has been kind of referenced already once, that he said right now weare surviving and we are surviving day at a time, day by day, not being able to plan for futureopportunities, like purchasing the Swisher property which is going to be coming up for purchase,the Visioning program, maintaining streets, sidewalks, parks, etc. We're surviving right now butwe're not thriving and I want to be part of a community that thrives, that is growing.
I want to thank Kent and Emily and your team for your report that you got out so quickly. We didn't give you very much time to do it and I feel that they did a fantastic job. I feelconfident that the traffic's not going to be an issue. I feel like this is a great opportunity becausethere is no TIF, I think we're going to be making money, the city will be making money rightaway. We don't have to wait for a TIF like this project, the building we're in. And then l also likethe fact that the developers are local, they're kind of down-to-earth guys that have been ownersand developers for years. They have a vested interest in the community, are not outsidegentlemen from some other town coming in and then just trying to make money because there isan opportunity. I just really don't think we can afford to miss out on this opportunity for ourcommunity and I plead with the rest of the commissioners to vote yes.
Commissioner Stuart Rosebrook:
My name is Stuart Rosebrook and I live at 426 Ridgeview Avenue and I believe we'velived here since June 2011
Just a little background about myself. Outside of living in a rural boarding schoolbasically 35 miles from a city in central Arizona, I've lived most of my life in what I define assuburban America but many of you might define as urban America. I lived in Phoenix, Arizona,
North Holland, California, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Tempe, Arizona which has the mostparallel to living in a university town that has grown exponentially.
One of my great interests in University Heights is its role not only as a community untoitself but as we review this rezoning, is what our position is in the greater community. I greatlyappreciate the report from Johnson County and I think it's very important that we keep our earsopen to what is happening from the university. As someone who is a Tempe/ASU graduate, assomeone who lived in Tempe for many years, I am very aware of the strength and power ofuniversities and how they can directly or indirectly dominate a community and its residentialpatterns, as well as its rentals and in high rise developments. The one thing that we always talkabout is our relationship with our cities, Iowa City and Coralville, we are neighbors of those, but I would challenge my fellow members of the zoning commission as well as the city council andour residents to realize that the fourth entity is the university, that they act in their own interests. They have to work with the city but because they have the nonprofit status, there is the long termfinancial issues, just as we have here at One University Place, they are in a position to be theunnamed municipality that surrounds us and can dominate our area.
And so I have not made the final decision. I am very concerned that University Heightsreceives development opportunities like this that could benefit us in the long run in many waysfinancially. How it changes us, and as someone who has lived in urban/suburban neighborhoodswith multiple zoning areas within it like in Phoenix if anyone here has visited Phoenix, Arizona,the zoning was very ragged over many many decades and so you can be in a nice neighborhood,have a church across the street, a school, and trailers in a park. We owned a home in centralPhoenix at one point and zoning was a mish-mash. My central concern is that we as a city arenot working toward long term vision in concert with our neighbors. We can look across therailroad track and see a large parking lot and open area, and I think that we are operating withinthis bubble of University Heights and we have a development project like this and now we arehearing that the university may be building its own conference center and its own hotel center.
I think there may be too many unanswered questions yet for the zoning commission toapprove this rezoning at this time. Again I have not made my decision but I wanted to makethose ideas of mine and my own personal experiences that I believe are relevant. I have listenedvery carefully to everybody's passions for what we're going forward on in this community.
Commissioner Alice Haugen:
I live at 1483 Grand Avenue. It seems to me that we have actually two questions in frontof us tonight. One, whether the property should be rezoned to be commercial instead ofresidential and the second is if this a very good project for a commercial area.
In favor of the project, I'll take as reasons the rezoning should happen a number ofreasons that have been given in its favor. One is the convenience of hospital visitors, second isincome to the city, the third is that there is no TIF that is going to be requested. Two minorbenefits include improvements to the path and the availability of a caf. I think I'll come backand give my weight to those positives after I discuss some of the negatives.
Against this project we have to weigh in the loss of the most historic house in University
Heights (122 years old), the loss of large number of mature trees and green space, intrusion of amajor large commercial activity into a residential neighborhood. The scale of the project iswrong for the site. Eighty-five percent of the surface area will be given over to the project.Some questions have been raised for which we have no strong answers at the moment but that Ithink are important to consider are the possibility of it lowering the values of the propertiesadjacent to it. Some speak very confidently that there won't be an impact but others certainly areconcerned about it. The exact impact on traffic is hard to know at the moment as we have notyet fully loaded One Uni