Thursday, March 22, 2007

Planning Commission Unanimously Bucks Planning Department and Salem Gardens Partners in Favor of Single-Family Homes

With its members referring to Salemtown as a "special place" and calling for the need for balance in types of residences offered, the Planning Commission turned aside the Salem Gardens Partnership's request to go back to a zoning that would allow them to put six duplexes on what are currently five properties at the corner of 6th Avenue and Garfield Street. Instead the Commission recommended that three of the five properties be zoned for single-family homes.

Currently the Salem Gardens properties are zoned for mixed-use (MUN) and high-density residential (RM15). When the partnership judged the stormwater run-off requirements too expensive they filed the current request to return to the previous zoning (R6), which would allow them to build duplexes instead of retail and residential. The Planning Department even recommended the return to R6 to the Commission, saying it was consistent with the neighborhood plan.

Instead, the Commission went in another direction based on their feeling that more single-family home options should be offered for the sake of balance. Hearing that one property should be reserved for a single-family household would have satisfied me. Hearing that two should be so reserved would have been icing. But, lo and behold, the Commission agreed that three of the properties should be re-zoned RS7.5, which is intended for single family-homes! The two remaining properties would retain their mixed-use status (I don't know whether that means that duplexes can be built there or whether the Commission intended for retail/residential absent the stormwater requirements to go in on those properties. I'll contact Planning in the morning for an answer).

This was just a tremendous turnaround for Salemtown's neighborhood leadership who have been fighting for balancing housing types in our growth. To tell you the truth, if the Salem Gardens Partnership had thrown us a bone, perhaps by promising to build one single-family home and four or five duplexes at 6th and Garfield, I probably would not have protested loud and long to Planning about their request. But now I'm glad that they didn't try to appease those of us who care as much about the long-term development of Salemtown as they do about their short-term profits.

But the battle at the Planning Commission is just the first round in this "war of the duplexes." Now focus shifts to the Metro Council. I have no doubt that what was the Salem Gardens Partnership (and what I call the "Duplex Kings") has been in contact with Ludye Wallace and our five at-Large Members. Taurus McCain and Steve Yokley have probably starting looking for Salemtown residents to sign a petition to back their request instead of the Planning Commission's recommendation when it comes to Metro Council.

Those of us who want to insure that the housing stock in Salemtown remains diversified rather than hyper-duplexified should contact our Council Members and tell them to support the Planning Commission's (NOT the Planning Department's) 2007Z-049U-08 recommendation to rezone properties at 6th and Garfield for 3 single-family homes. Council Members to contact are:

1 comment:

  1. I'm not clear how much time we have before this hits the council. If we do have time, a petition would be a great idea.