Planning Commission’s Study Session on the 8th and 9th St. Neighborhood

The Planning Commission's study session last week seemed to go well. More than 20 folks from the neighborhood attended, and the PC folks I spoke with seemed pretty interested in moving ahead.

After the meeting ended I asked everyone I could if they thought there was enough energy in the neighborhood to follow through with a neighborhood planning process. Everyone I talked seemed to think it made sense, and my feeling is that enough folks are energized enough that it's worth making it happen. My advice to the Planning Commission has been to set up a clear process with a well-defined timeframe and explicit expectations of folks in the neighborhood who want to be involved so that everyone knows going in what to expect and what the process will look like. My biggest concern is that it happen in a way that is involved enough that we get a good product but not so lengthy and cumbersome that too few neighborhood folks participate. Of course it would be pretty easy to run a process with just a few folks – as someone who lives in the neighborhood I have my own views as well – but this only works, to my mind, if we can run a genuine neighborhood process that produces a neighborhood plan about which most folks can mostly agree.

In other words, I will facilitate and encourage and participate, but I think this will only work if folks in the 8th and 9th St. neighborhood are energized enough to follow it through.

I should also mention that the idea of an infill ordinance was among the options discussed. I think an ordinance that specifically addresses (and better defines) how we deal with infill would probably be helpful, but because it would presumably apply city-wide and only apply to questions about infill, I don't see it as a substitute for a solid neighborhood plan – driven by that neighborhood – that addresses density, traffic, parking, and pedestrian friendliness.

Planning Commission promised to compile the comments they recieved and offer their thoughts on how to make this work. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.  In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about the meeting or about what the process should look like, you can post them here.


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