Concerns

The developer has issued a concept plan as the basis for its discussion in the citizen participation meeting on January 19. That drawing is attached to the Document page. The plan is somewhat similar to the 42 North plan, except that it now involves 13 buildings instead of 6. One possible reason for the increased number of buildings may be found in the new Area, Height and Placement regulations, which limit the setback between the property lines and the closest building.

The concept for this development renews our previous concerns:

1. Water supply. Remember when we went to City Council about the first iteration of 42 North and complained about the water pressure problems in our area of the City? We were assured that the City was planning to install a new water tower in our area in the near future. Well, that was 2007 and here it is 2012 and we have no water tower.

2. Storm water/wetland mitigation/watershed quality. Our previous research found that the surrounding neighborhoods already suffer from groundwater problems. In recent years we have seen repeated "100 year" rains. While developers and the planning staff assure us that these developments improve storm water handling, we know from the recent West Park storm water system failure that engineered systems are prone to failure. Our watersheds are at or above capacity and additional roofs and parking spaces will only tax them more. This project appears to displace all of the naturally occurring wetlands, much like the 42 North plans did. The City code does not allow placement of wetland mitigation on property other than the project site unless the other property is publicly owned. Additionally, the wetland mitigation site must be within the same watershed as the wetland that is being destroyed.

3. Traffic. The plans call for 224 apartments, each with 2 or 3 bedrooms and parking for each tenant. The developer said the project will have a total of 600 bedrooms and 600 parking spaces. The 600 tenants commuting to and from school, social activities and retail outlets will burden our area with significantly increased traffic. Recall that the traffic study submitted by the previous developer was fundamentally flawed.

4. Crime. The developer's other apartment complexes are marketed to students. We know from our research on 42 North that a concentrated population of students attracts crime. Since the first 42 North project was proposed, the City has made significant cuts to police staffing. Increased crime with insufficient police protection spells trouble for our peaceful neighborhoods.

5. Fire protection. Like police staffing, the City has made significant cuts to its fire staffing. We know that response times have increased and believe that this should be considered when reviewing a large project like this that is so far from the downtown station (the closest station is on Jackson near Maple, but to have sufficient initial fire response, a truck must also come from downtown).

The City code requires the Council to make an explicit determination that a site plan will not "cause a public or private nuisance and would not have a detrimental effect on the public health, safety or welfare.” [Chapter 57 section 5:122(6)]. We fear that the listed factors, unless fully addressed, would prevent such a finding.

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