NFB Board Meeting – September 12, 2018

{note: the September General meeting was cancelled due to weather – Stallings Center was closed}

NFB Board Meeting 9/12/18

Held at John & Beverly Andrews home

Present: John Andrews, Michael Owings, Anthony Eschmann, Rhonda Findley, Brian Luckett, Nancy Thacker, Tyler Harwood, Julie Jones, Steve Jacobs

Called to order at 7:10

For the next general meeting, some possibilities were discussed, including the HDLC, who have generously offered to attend. Julie will follow up on that. Steven J offered to bring food. Tyler will bring water.

There were questions about the Tricentennial Celebration – with no clear answers since our last general meeting was cancelled due to weather. Mark was unable to attend, and has taken the lead on this event.

Folwell Dunbar would like to speak on graffiti abatement.

We talked briefly about a neighbor that contacted us regarding blighted property next to his home (the old Euclid records location at Desire and Chartres), and if we could help in any way. It was agreed the best thing for them to do is contact Safety and Permits. If they are unresponsive for some reason we can follow up.

Ron Loesel from Webre Consulting (representing HANO) was in attendance, and when Tiffany Bradley from councilwoman Palmer’s office arrived Ron shared current thoughts and plans concerning HANO sites around our area of the city. He told us about dates of future Stakeholder’s Meetings. One is September 15th at Holy Angels and another will be October 9th at Stallings Center. 5 market rate and 5 affordable houses are planned for smaller lots and look good conceptually as they are reflective of the neighborhood with camel backs, front porches, and space around the buildings. All of the homes look similar from the outside.

A very large development is being proposed at Mazant and Royal. 51 1-bedroom, 78 2-bedroom, and 21 3-bedroom apartments are planned. 62 will be “market rate”, 87 “affordable”, and 38 project based vouchers (Lower income through HANO). There would be one parking space per apartment. 150 of those would be off street with the remaining 8 on street. There was some concern about street parking as the majority of units are more than one bedroom, so will likely bring more than one car. If the hotel is built across the street it could get pretty crowded.

This project would be a major density change, is severely out of scale, and does not reflect the surrounding neighborhood. In addition to the questionable economic feasibility of such a huge building in the current market many other concerns came up. Traffic would be an issue. With only one tree being ‘retained’ there is no green space, and really no place for kids to play. The building goes curb to curb, with parking in the interior. A ‘playground’ on a roof top space may well be facing the roof top pool/bar planned for the large Hostel/Entertainment complex across the street. 

We all agreed the design does not compliment or improve the neighborhood. One member commented that it more resembles a correctional facility. The project seems to all of us to be out of character and out of scope. It is very tall, at 5 floors and 55 feet. The developers are seeking a zoning change to allow for the added height. It is currently split zoned HMC-2 and HMR-3, and they want it to all be changed to HMMV. The side of the building facing Royal is lower in height, with an undefined large commercial space (3300 sq. ft, which is over the current FQ limit by 1000sqft). 

It was noted that the lot would hold about 60 units in “normal” Bywater homes. Why not build those instead, much like the other proposed lots? This would not lower the value of adjacent homes or negatively impact the quality of life for near neighbors. It would be welcomed!

Concerns with infrastructure were noted, as currently the system is pushed to the max in that area as evidenced by ongoing problems and breaks. Specifically referenced were the sewer lines that empty on the other side of Claiborne.

There were questions raised about how the project is being financed. If they get a zoning change / conditional use and the project falls through we may get something worse and be powerless to fight it. [A recurring issue these days]

The property originally being donated for public benefit was pointed out, as quality of life is part of public benefit. The lot has been green space for many years now and that end of the neighborhood loves it. The park on the other side of the levee is not really accessible, and certainly not visible. After the historical orphanage there was poorly managed and eventually destroyed it was suggested that we push for the right thing to be done in the area, not a “for profit mega development”. This specific property has also been seen as being important for public safety as it is a water shed. Storm water management needs to be addressed prior to development. Land trust did a study on this property and we plan to investigate their findings and discuss how to incorporate these aspects to maximize public benefit.

Adjourned 8:05

respectfully submitted by co-secretary Thacker.

This entry was posted in Minutes. Bookmark the permalink.