Archive for June, 2011

On June 21st, Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association (JPNA)  succeeded in becoming Tucson’s 2nd pilot Neighborhood Preservation Zone (NPZ) by adoption of the Jefferson Park Design Manual (JPDM) You can view in PDF by clicking here.   Council members Uhlich, Scott and Romero argued effectively to protect core neighborhoods and pass the manual, while Council member Kozachik and Mayor Walkup showed  remorse over the JPDM’s omission of a density strategy along arterial edges.  Considering both good and bad, the vote was unanimous.  While, we are a step closer to saving the heart of  residential zoning uses around the university, planners and stakeholders have a mandate to come up with the right answer for edge density and diversity.  In the coming weeks, this issue will get hotter, as a key vote by the board of adjustment will reverberate through out core neighborhoods.  The ruling to enforce proper residential uses is under appeal and is scheduled to be publicly heard by the Board of Adjustment  If the ruling survives, neighborhoods will still need targeted incentives and policies that will assure stable investment in their university homes.  In fact, several JPNA residents stated they were holding off on property improvements until passage of the JPDM.   Now, more than ever,  neighborhood representatives and developers would like to see a comprehensive housing vision with a clear edge strategy.  Councilman Kozachik stated after the adoption of the JPDM, regarding mixed uses and targeted zoning density along major roadways, that “…this is critical to protecting the interiors of our neighborhoods from non-conforming and incompatible building…”  One could say that implies a pro-active city government that can play a lead in the mandate for  a cohesive venture between the University, the City of Tucson, the Core Community and developers to save what is left of our core neighborhoods.  Please click on Arizona Daily Star’s editorial.

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Imagine a Greater Tucson (IGT)  is a envisioning process, whereby the public inputs how they see regional growth.  After  a series of community introductions the process took on community level, hands on exercises, in which  public meetings were divided into small groups.  Each group has an opportunity to create a planning scenario for Greater Tucson by placing high, medium, or low density paper chips on a large map and labeling future transit, pedestrian/bicycle and private vehicular arterials throughout the region.  Several hundred people have participated in the workshops, producing more than 100 maps.  The end product will be a consensus.  Participants range from very concerned and focused individuals to a bit oblivious to the bigger problems we face growing to over 2 million population.  Lets hope the public has the right foresight.  Lets hope the IGT findings are embedded into the  General Plan or “Plan Tucson”,  scheduled for voter ratification sometime after 2011.  With so much of a up-zoning component, this is critical for its success.

So what does it mean for downtown and the U of A.  Most of us know one not so good example of an urban area that impacts us all.  That is downtown Tucson.  Stakeholders including the U of A see a more positive future.   Can this help set a tone for the IGT goals?  One common theme seen in the IGT exercises is more density and urban edge expression along key transit routes all through out the region including downtown designations in outlying charter centers.  The end product will be interesting.  Closer to downtown Tucson, we have an example in the works; the 4 mile stretch of the modern street car route linking downtown with the U OF A and the adjacent aviation corridor connection through the warehouse district.  See downtownLINKS.  One of Tucson’s more fiscally conservative republican councilman, Steve Kozachik,  is itching to tackle the up zoning and development strategies along this small 4 mile streetcar corridor to make it a worth while investment.  Is this a  model for the larger task of playing out the goals of the IGT process?  Stay tuned.

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