Two different sources tell me that two Planning Commission members are, well, behaving badly. One, it seems, took it on him or herself to remove signs they felt were illegally placed. Come to find out, the signs were completely legal and placed in the right-of-way by city workers… The second commissioner cranked things up a few dozens notches, apparently dislodging a bench cemented into a Division Street sidewalk and moving to another location down the street.
The letter from Chamber Board of Directors contains five broad points that are not specific but contain content that the Commission should be able to respond to. These five broad points can be summarized as follows:
1. Land Development Code needs more flexibility for commercial areas to allow for business diversity.
2. The Code needs to identify areas for industrial development, specifically the proposed Business Park.
3. Restrictions on college owned property undermines their ability to effectively utilize their property.
4. Residential zoned areas need more flexibility so property owners can build what customers want to live in.
5. The LDC should include a statement that contains a streamlined process to change the LDC.
The Chamber of Commerce also stressed that specific comments from builders and developers be viewed as comment from the Chamber as well. The comments from the builder/developers are much more specific and contain 18 comments in total, 13 comments relate to commercial regulations, and five comments relate to residential regulations.
The letter from the Chamber starts on page 37 of the packet.
Update 4/6: I’ve added the photo on the right, as a new sign was put up that says “Heritage Aparments” with an opening scheduled for fall, 2009. It also says that these are luxury apartments, and that the building will include underground parking and an elevator.
This development could be called the first one developed under the still not quite adopted Comp Plan (Public hearing at the Planning Commission Tuesday – almost there!). The Jasnochs should get a round of applause for agreeing to work with the new plan even though it isn’t yet the law of the city.
Under the new form-based, mixed use principles of the new plan, parking is distributed in smaller lots, apartment entrances face the street rather than parking, and the entire site is envisioned as mixed use with commercial as well as residential development. I’d like to see this succeed. The Planning Commission struggled mightily trying to arrive at a definition of “mixed use” under the old comp plan back in 2002 or 2003 and failed. The new Comp Plan and supporting regulations are much clearer about how to do this.
As Sean points out, apartment living is more efficient. Thinking slightly larger but still compactly, by providing housing and a small commercial center around the Heritage/Jefferson Road intersection, Northfield could create another walkable area for the folks in the surrounding apartments and the single family homes up behind Target.