Thursday, March 29, 2007

Midtown neighborhoods strive for bigger say on infill

[Source: Andrea Kelly, Daily Star] -- Some Midtown neighborhoods are pushing for a process would give them, and the City Council, more clout in battles over what kind of development should be allowed in their area.
The proposed Neighborhood Preservation Zone has its roots in some neighborhoods near the University of Arizona that want to block further "mini-dorm" developments. This type of development happens when a house is replaced with another that is usually larger, often taller and has more bedrooms. It is intended for a higher number of rental residents.
That means more people, more cars and more noise for neighbors because the tenants are often college students who keep later hours than a typical family in a nearby residence.

Neighborhoods that adopt the proposed preservation zoning overlay would have more control over what types of infill projects crop up. As proposed, a zoning overlay would be initiated if more than 25 percent of the property owners in a neighborhood petition for it. That starts a public process that includes several public hearings. The neighborhood has to justify why it wants certain requirements, such as height restrictions. Someone wishing to develop property also has a chance to oppose the proposed zoning overlay. It's then up to the City Council to decide whether to impose the enhanced development restrictions. One developer ran several full-page advertisements in the Arizona Daily Star over the weekend, urging people to call council members and tell them to vote "no" on the proposal because it would limit property owners' rights too much. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]