Monday, May 30, 2005

"Rally in the Alley" ...Sal Panto

The Strausser Enterprises presentation before the Joint Meeting of the PC & BoS on Tuesday, May 24th was attended by a SRO (standing room only) audience of concerned residents. Joe Nixon (Morning Call 5/25/05) wrote an excellent piece describing the mixed reactions of all present as well as the scope of the proposed project.

Sal Panto, the Strausser representative who did the "show and tell" for the proposed Village Center Zoning Ordinance, explained that they (Strausser Enterprises) met with the Township staff (Kline, Kichline, Hay, and Weis) to come up with project changes that might be more amenable to the Township. He described the golf course history and said that there's a bear that makes monthly visits and that they are trying to make it "even more of a natural habitat than when the farmers were growing corn..." He asserted that the Village at Riverview was planned 6-1/2 years ago and because they didn't own the land then, it wasn't included in the original PRD (Planned Residential Development). He said that if they had owned the land then, it would have been approved by the Board at that time. He touted the benefits of adding a commercial center in the middle of the Riverview residential area.

PC Chairman, Vito Tamborrino, asked Panto to explain the proposed zoning ordinance. Panto replied that it was taken from ordinances in other communities and that it follows the "State ordinances." Panto said that they did not ask for an "overlay" because in the future others would come in and want to use it (the overlay) in areas where it wouldn't be compatible. Panto confirmed that they wanted not to change the Zoning Ordinance but to change the zoning map. The project would involve 68,000-70,000 square feet of commercial space and 215 dwelling units. Supervisor Bonnie Nicholas commented that that would mean 500 extra cars and asked about the "open space." Panto said there would be a lot (of open space) if the parking is included. He speculated that "open space" would probably be around 25% with the PRIVATE 4-1/2 acres of Recreation Center. Planning Commissioner Jim Wideman pointed out that the Recreation Center is a subdivision and that the entire project density is a quite a bit more than the CR district would allow. CR would allow only 80 houses. Panto offered to leave some of the parking as green space until it's needed as parking and then it will be paved. Planning Commissioner Dean Turner noted that we have a struggling Town Center district and that this might compete with it. Turner said that this project would be good in the Town Center district but not out in the countryside. Planning Commissioner Erik Chuss stated that the density is unbelievable and that it appeared to be trying to turn a suburban area INTO an urban area. Both Nicholas (BoS) and Les Ottenwalder (PC) noted that they would support the plan if it was all on one side of Winchester Drive. Various audience members presented comments both for and against.

A vote, taken to recommend or not recommend to the Board that this project go forward, ended in a 3:3 tie. No recommendation will be made to the Board by the Planning Commission.


Rufus Leakin said...

Smart growth, new urbanism-smoke and mirrors;all the talk is about some cityslicker trying to snooker us township folk into believing a "U" shaped two-story STRIP MALL with GABLED CONDOS above it is the new replacement for sliced bread.The stores(quaint shoppes) would be just the right size for TATTOO PARLORS and NOVELTY STORES(wink wink).HIP HOP(rap) concerts on the GREEN? BOOM BOX CARS!! Seniors crossing a busy street. You may think this to be an exaggeration but local municipalities around us CAN NOT LEGISLATE successfully against these BLIGHTS. THEY WILL COME when the touted respectable shops FAIL. TELL your SUPERVISOR and PLANNERS NOW that you came to Forks for raise your family without urbanization. Tell them this plan is not welcome in YOUR TOWNSHIP !!

Townshipper said...

You know what I can't understand? I can't understand the "live-work" side of this whole shootin' match, can you? Let's see, 6000 square feet rents for $12/per that's $72 thousand a year... $6000 a month. Then there's the rent upstairs. So, say I'm running a bait and tackle shop... nope, that won't work... worms are too cheap. Say it's a bakery... that's a lot of doughnuts! Maybe a "Condoms Galore?" That could work... enough volume there. Oh, that's right, the upstairs units are not apartments anymore, they're CONDOMINIUMS. Heck, mortgage payments! Wait, mortgage payments on the second floor but rent on the first. Holy cow, just like NYC. Looks like a slum in the making to me. Ever see/read "A Clockwork Orange?" (Anthony Burgess) Extreme you say? Maybe. Maybe not. "Leave It To Beaver" it is not.