Neighbors First for Bywater Board Meeting, February 20, 2019


Julie Jones, Stephen Haedicke, John Andrews, Tyler Harwood, Anthony Eschmann, Susan Korec, Steve Jacobs, Mark Gonzalez, Nancy Thacker, Brian Luckett. Held at Stephen Haedicke’s home.

Called to order 7:09 by Julie Jones, agenda distributed.

Mark gave an update from the Community-Based Mitigation Committee on the long running “Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock Replacement Project.”

We reviewed copies of the agenda, which took three meetings for them to cover. There was a long list of problems with sub-problems in each area. All in all it’s very confusing as to what actually has to happen before they start building. There is somewhere around ten million dollars in mitigation to be determined. There would be a problem with only mitigating the near neighborhoods, as the impact reaches beyond those nearest this problematic project. Mark will continue to keep up with the developments and follow up with Rep. C Richmond, as this is a federal project. It’s going to be a long slow road.

Brian then addressed “movie money.” We have learned it is customary to make a donation to the neighborhood association when a production is filming in the neighborhood. Julie followed up with some production companies and got $500 from NCIS and another $500 from a movie (“Tall Girls”). As this is seen as an “inconvenience fee”, there isn’t any liability in accepting these donations. However, everyone agreed to come up with a list of possible places to pass a significant portion of these donations along to the community since the productions effect everyone.

Next up was the Riverfront Overlay – Councilmember Palmer introduced a motion for a study to re-insert the affordable housing requirement in the riverfront overlay, which would require 10% of units to be affordable housing to get the height and density bonus. This had unfortunately and surprisingly been pulled at the last minute when the overlay was reinstated in the CZO after a judge ruled that the council violated state law in approving it the first time. Ms. Palmer also wants to expand the overlay to include the two square blocks (Chartres to Dauphine, Montegut to Press) where Sean Cummings plans to build the “Via Latrobe” apartments. It wouldn’t affect his height limit, though, because he already got that through the variance process.  He could take advantage of the density bonus aspect of the overlay to increase his square footage, but he could already get the same additional square footage through the Affordable Housing Density Bonus, but that would require 15% affordable units rather than the 10% under the overlay. NFB has always supported affordable housing in Bywater, but this would set a dangerous precedent of extending the overlay to the lakeside of Chartres Street. Brian suggests we are better off not supporting this extension of the overlay, but encourages the board and members to support the inclusion of the affordable housing requirement in the overlay.

Arrive Hotel (a.k.a. “Poshtel”): Brian has talked to a lawyer familiar with the overlay who is willing to do some pre-case consulting. We may have a case in that there was a change of use. He will follow up. Carolyn is working with the near neighbors from Sun Yard to help with any other angles that might protect the neighbors as well as try and help make Arrive a good neighbor should it be built.

This was followed by a discussion of the HANO project and the meeting with the Architectural Review Committee on Tuesday. The ARC didn’t seem happy about the project. Both Julie and Mark shared that we should address mass and scale. The ARC technically has no authority as this is apparently a federal project. ITEX, a private company based in Texas, is paying HANO for use of the lot. In questions of the ARC and the HDLC, the scale needs to be addressed as opposed to the density, even though this would be the densest HANO project in the city. Does HUD/HANO understand how much better it would be at the old NSA? Is there a way for us to effectively communicate this? It is uncertain if the question of hands off comes because it’s a federal project (is it?) or because it’s a HANO project.

Final Item – The next general meeting is on Ash Wednesday. For the meeting we plan to focus on how to help near neighbors get organized to oppose oversized, intrusive developments. Julie will ask Megan from the Sun Yard opposition if she can speak. It would be good to get some flyers out to the neighborhood. Nancy, Susan and Mark say they will distribute them. We will offer Virgin (and not so Virgin) Mary’s(?). Mark will bring mix, John will bring vodka, Tyler will bring garnishes, Julie will pick up pizzas, and Steve J will bring water. Mark also has plates and cups.

Meeting adjourned 8:31 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Thacker & Tyler Harwood, co-secretaries

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