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Archive for August 26th, 2012

Overlays are not a new term.  Tucson has a dozen major overlay designations including sub-districts.  Recent use of opt-in rezoning overlays are a new phenomena and the Main Gate UOD (Urban Overlay District) is the first of its kind.  Unlike our protective other overlays, UOD’S have rapid and significant impact to existing zoning.  The urban overlay enabling ordinance was set up in 2010 and allowed the Main Gate District to be streamlined.  That flew in the face of public process.  The biggest omission was a plan with community acceptance.  Under pressure to justify the the modern street car, the City did retain a consultant for a specific plan for this UOD.  Although, rejected by core neighborhoods, the plan was adopted under protest.  Public Process was a casualty and the district’s first highrise building permit was issued while being legally challenged.  See Arizona Court of Appeals.

Amidst the fallout of the August 7th amendment, frustration was evident in Councilman Kozachik’s ward 6 newsletter article, Issue of Trust.pdf   Misconceptions persisted with Wards two, four and five, representing a minority of registered Tucson neighborhoods. See also the  Main Gate Overlay and Public ProcessThe August 7th amendment was intended to repair process and restore community trust by pulling out a small corner of the UOD for reconsideration of heights and historic preservation.  Any community consensus that emerged from that effort was effectively destroyed by 4 of the 7 votes in favor of adding three more stories to two privately owned lots.  West University filed a complaint with the State Attorney General over the open meeting law.  See KGUN News coverage  The Main Gate is now a lesson in community relations of what not to do, leaving many asking what a better process will look like.

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