MKNA, City Land Use Plans

Issues and Concerns

 
As of today's date, we have had no formal written response to our constructive criticisms of specific features of the MKNA Land Use Plan.  We are advised by MKNA that discussion regarding the plan content is closed despite the fact that it has not been officially adopted by the City.

Simple changes to the MKNA land use plan could serve to clarify and substantially mitigate resident concerns allowing a more unified voice to development opportunities. 
 
Time is of the essence in resolving these matters due to the pressing and constrained decision-making timetables for public and private investment initiatives.
 
We hereby request of MKNA a formal, written response to our objections.  This request has also been otherwise placed. (see below for detailed objections submitted to MKNA December 4, 2015)
 
MKNA Plans - 
Summary:
  • Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association (MKNA) has submitted a draft plan to the Department of Metropolitan Development (currently awaiting adoption by the City) focusing on revisions in land use policy and concentrating its attention on "Transportation Oriented Development"  along the College Avenue Corridor. This is a plan designed in conjunction with City development officials and, we submit, does not accurately reflect the neighborhood's true preferences on issues of density, traffic and desirability of transforming College Avenue  into a dense "Transit Oriented" use. We disagree that a mandate exists for developments conforming to the MKNA plan.
 
 
We all agree that the City needs to be creative about developing tax base, but feel that checks and balances must be in place including a clear understanding of accepted development guidelines, criteria for receipt of public funding and TIF support, and a focus on development consistent with neighborhood needs.
 
  • The City and developer have limited to no risk - all of the risk of rise or fall of property values and any undesirable development consequences are borne by the neighborhood home owner and taxpayer.
 
We are concerned about some technical details of the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood (MKNA) Plan that, we believe, could allow developers to create developments that are overly dense, overly tall, create and worsen traffic conditions rather than reduce or eliminate them, and essentially change much of the character of the College Avenue neighborhood that we, as residents, currently enjoy. A rush to develop the corridor to gain tax base may destabilize the neighborhood and eliminate the quality of life which attracted residents in the first place.
 
Click here to see a copy of our letter to MKNA
 
Our primary concern is that the plan identifies high density (housing and mixed use) as a desireable goal for College Avenue, along with "Transit Oriented Development". Most of us have not considered such density as a value to be pursued, but do expect some additional density as vacant and underutilized sites are developed or redeveloped. The significant support for increased density in the plan could offer developers an inaccurate understanding of the neighborhood's true preferences, and perhaps lead to over-development such as what was presented in the TWG proposal. Reference to  Transit Oriented Development goals can be found in the City's Comprehensive Plan at:  plan2020.com/plans/lu/tod
 
We are advocating for the MKNA plan to be reopened to address specific technical issues that could help prevent overdevelopment and a deterioration of the quality of life currently enjoyed by the residents. The neighborhood concerns about the TWG plan could be overcome by addressing some specific technical matters found the the section referencing "Critical Area 1".
 
Below, we will identify some specific objections to the plan details. Be aware that most of these are technical in nature and, truthfully, pretty boring stuff.  but by amending some of these elements, we believe that we can support the plan with the peace of mind that our neighborhood will be developed thoughtfully and with the neighborhood in mind. 
 

EXAMPLE
Perhaps a developer builds a housing development on an old parking lot with a construction price tag of $12 million and paid $3 million for the land. The assessed value will go up by $12 million. However, due to extra traffic, disruption of current traffic flows, the visual impact of living next to a 55 ft. development, the 50 neighboring single-family houses lose $50,000 each in market value.

In the manner in which the TIF is currently set up, it bears all of the gain for the commercial development and takes non of the down-side of $2,500,000 of residential housing market decline. Proponents generally assert that these developments will benefit all property values. And while, it may not impact homes on the broad scale as described in the example, some parcels will likely be impacted. We hope to see the land use plan incorporate certain protections against over-development that can minimize or eliminate the down-side effects of development activity.