Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Conversations’ Category

Interviews

What You Thought 5 Years Ago.

In January of 2010 I asked If Tucson needed a U of A / Downtown Planning Interface effort with Neighborhoods.  Since then we spent a billion dollars a street car, private student dorms and new commercial starts between downtown and the university.  During that time we have also experienced a net loss of homeowners.   I know you care and you do great things.  I think you might be interested to ponder your response in 2010 to what this means in 2015.  Are winning the battle to maintain home ownership here?  The comments are paraphrased from memory.

  • Chuck Albanese, Architect and former dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, CALA – Embraces the idea. Would like to see the architectural community involved. It is a good time for discussion
  • Gal Witmer, Architect, Member of WUNA long term university area resident and representative. She supports supports embracing these sensitive issues
  • Robert Vint, Architect, Preservationist and president of Vint Associates – Thinks it is a great idea and a good time for it.
  • Jim Mazzocco, Senior City Planner. Something like this is needed. Nothing specific addresses this issue. The City would have to manage the creation of any new plan for it to functional work and be administered. The City of Tucson’s budgets are too impacted to embrace a major effort.
  • Bob Smith, Architect, AIA. 15 year UA Campus Planning Director, President of the AIA, embraces the idea. The U of A has been working through a history of issues with neighborhoods. The 2003 plan begins to address what the 2009 update embraces in working with neighborhoods and sharing their needs. The U of A works with the CCRC (Campus Community Relations Committee) and the CPAC (Campus Project Advisory Committee) The U of A avoids a politically charged or a unilateral approach. They will be part of a popular collaborative base where they can contribute technical planning expertise. They highly support the downtown streetcar link and developing a downtown campus extension as expansion venues like Rita Ranch are less favorable. The downtown option works! Growth goals are at least 50,000 students; maybe more. Currently, the U of A is building 1100 beds and would like to meet housing needs for 1st year student “on campus” Meeting the needs of remaining student housing is question. The U of A supports “planned” housing. The U of A would like to be involved in a public/private approach to meeting off-campus housing solutions by providing site selection recommendations, design participation and student referral.
  • Bob Schlanger, Neighborhood spokesman and resident of Jefferson Park Neighborhood Assoc. Bob embraces the idea. Would like to see perimeter development on appropriate sites the reduces the demand for negative infill development.
  • Holly Lachowicz, Council aide to Karin Uhlich, Ward 3, She want to know what the City of Tucson is already doing for University and neighborhood planning concerns. Thinks it is a good idea. She would like to be involved and hear more.  “…You certainly have identified an important issue!”
  • Steve Kozachik, Council Member, Ward 6 and Donovan Durban, Council Aide – They are both very supportive. Offered his office for meetings and facilitation. Steve strongly supports development of edges of historic neighborhoods and agrees that the current infill housing in neighborhood interiors is not a long term preference to meeting housing demands. A planning effort that outlines way that attention can be diverted to edges and more appropriate sites is a good idea. He understands that it would be best if this was not unilaterally driven by the City of Tucson planning department and that U of A input and community leadership is key.
  • Jim Gresham, Architect and principal of Gresham and Beach Architects, Architectural consultant for Tucson, NPZ submittals. He thinks it is a good idea. Has concerns about his involvement as City of Tucson NPZ Architect. It needs U of A support on quite a few levels. The U of A has however expressed support of the street car link and well planned university housing, downtown development/expansion, which does set the state for increasing land values. We talked about a precedent setting multi-story housing proposal at the edge of WUNA designed by Vint and Associates. The project is a statement for transitional edge development.
  • Mike Finklestein, Tucson Developer, Owner of Quatrovest – Great idea! City has no money and is falling short on a mandatory general plan update for 2011. NPZ is not a good approach. I added that the NPZ plans are putting many carts out there without a horse, i.e. ( no overall balanced plan ) How about a development authority with state approval to handle acquisitions. He thinks the U of A surrounding area is an asset of the University and the community. It is worth preserving from a standpoint of context of place and identity. Needs to be done carefully. Codes are ambiguous. He doesn’t agree with the hop scotching of mini dorms.
  • Cathy Rex, Architect, Tucson Planning Commission – Agrees with the need for a plan. Need alternatives. Land use planning needs to acknowledge housing and commercial infill at the right locations. She agrees this issue needs to input the General Plan.
  • JT Fey, University Campus Planner, former City of Tucson Historic Officer. He worked on the Conservation District 6 years ago ( pre prop.207) Sees a big disagreement between compatibility and development. Compromise is needed. Should not imitate the NPZ. of Tucson leadership is necessary. Need an objective that can lead to methodology and solutions.
  • Dick Eribes,PhD, AIS, Architect, former Dean and Professor at CALA. Wants to participate. Knows the image of the UA and what is needed today. He was formerly with university campus planning for one year.
  • Maria Gayosso, lead planner of the Tucson General Plan. Anticipates a delay on the dead line for the general plan update from 2011 to 2015 because of budget cuts. Pima County is already 2015. She welcomes any input from this effort. Sees a need.
  • Albert Elias Director of Tucson Urban Planning and Design – Definite need for this emphasis. In the wake of many struggling small plans; a larger broader focus makes sense. Downtown-UA connection good. Great for the General Plan. Sees 3 main tasks: Who participate? What is the format of discussion? What emerges and what are the goals and objectives? He is willing to participate
  • Mac Hudson council aide of Ward 1. Likes the urban emphasis and supports the effort. Mac wrote: Time for a New Urban Environment, guest editorial in the 2007 Star. From “intent” page: “the  intention of this website is to draw public attention and action to address the necessary  planning addenda, mechanisms, density strategies and urban neighborhood transitions that can do this.” “…Absolutely I couldn’t agree more! ”
  • Peter Dourlien, AIA, PDC Director at University of Arizona – Peter would like to be informed of future actions. Initially thought this effort could be a sub committee of the CCRC. The scope, however is too broad and focuses on entirely different things. He wants to be a part of the outreach.
  • Curtis Ench, Architect, Owner of Seventh Generation Studios. He supports the idea of dealing with the issues wants to be informed.
  • Adam Smith, Tucson City Planner, Land Use Code Committee. He would like to explore current assets that could enhance these efforts. Invited me to LUC committee presentation to see their work. The LUC committee added a brief study of the University Area Plan to their agenda within the last two sessions. Adam sees a few issues needing focus, including establishing a baseline of growth projections, identification of growth locations, assurances of architectural form, incentives for the right forms, current road blocks, and potential solutions.
  • Randi Dorman Indigo Modern, Developer Wants improvements in process regarding urban development. She thinks the many planning overlays are fragmented and ineffective. Thinks that the UA should have stronger involvement. Likes the focus on the area north of Toole and west of 6th Ave, but thinks its also fragmented. Restrictions, time and high fees are a dis-incentive to the infill plan. Process for residential cluster projects is difficult and a dis-incentive.
  • Corky Poster, Architect, President of Poster-Frost-Mirto, Its a good idea.  You should do it!  Corky worked on many plans that work off a new model of planning and suggested that a new COT area plan be constructed around this new model. His past efforts included optional overlays to avert conflict with prop. 207. Interested in Flagstaffs prop. 207 challenge. Corky’s Miles, Miramonte and Jefferson Park plans demonstrate the model he refers to as well as the www.downtownlinks.info project. The partnership objectives in the UA campus plan are a start.  Corky, says that ideas for luring good development is defining “single family” and providing development alternatives.
  • Janice Cerveli, Dean of CALA. She likes Corky Poster’s directive to the UA Campus plan; that the UA needs to look outside its boundaries for student housing alternatives. Agrees there is a gap in planning around the UA interface that needs strong definition. This was part of the 2009 update. “We need to create a private-public cooperation zone” . Likes the idea of the college engaging in the issue as a study. Need engagement. Need a rational Approach. Need a downtown presence. The UA should to examine a 15 year enrollment plan to define housing needs and examine its carrying capacity regarding expansion and relating to specific development along linkages to downtown, the street car link, and along its interface with the community. Need to know where housing will go. Janice was quoted in 2009 as saying that the University and the Community can partner with the City of Tucson to create a “Communiversity” after recalling how much of a positive growth difference this effort made between ASU and the City of Phoenix
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 12.46.50 PMJarrett Walker is an international consultant in public transit planning and policy, including the links between transit and all aspects of community planning and urban structure.  His clients include transit authorities, cities, developers, and non profits – anyone who wants to make better use of public transit as a tool to support resilient communities and social inclusion.  he will be speaking publicly on the 11th of July @ 5PM, 88 E. Broadway ( Unisource Building).  You can download a flyer here:  Jarrett Walker Flier

Read Full Post »

How America’s 4th largest city can abandon its addiction to cars – Salon.com.

Read Full Post »

Jarrett Walker Coming to TucsonScreen shot 2014-06-30 at 10.39.40 PM

Jarrett Walker, international consultant in public transit planning and policy and author of the highly recommended blog HumanTransit.org (and the 2011 book Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives) will speak in Tucson the evening of Friday, July 11.

Tucson Talks Transit: With Jarrett Walker
Friday July 11, 2014
5:00 reception, 6:00 presentation
TEP downtown HQ, 88 East Broadway

Read Full Post »

Talk upThe pursuit of happiness is an important right in the declaration of independence.  As it turns out,  there is more to it than just a  phrase in the 1776 document.  Now, that notion is a recognized measurable gauge of community and individual well-being.   How this relates to our pursuit of better process in planning Tucson’s core is the measure of social capital necessary for effective and harmonious  action.   Anita Fonte talks about that in her new book, Talk Up Tucson: An Exploration of Community Happiness and Prosperity,  The book focuses on an internationally known  concept that links levels of happiness and prosperity to our well being.  The book reflects on Anita’s  Tucson experience and the work of her company, Community Renaissance.   Following consulting work with Kimley-Horn and the RTA,  she decided to write.  From talking and meeting with community leaders and people in Tucson’s development world she published comments and conclusions that gauge our social capital in building a more inclusive process thereby, more “happiness” for everyone.   Her book is available at Antigone Books and Mostly Books

Read Full Post »

“Imagine Greater Tucson (IGT) released the results of its 2-year study, Looking Forward, A Vision for a Greater Tucson Region.   PlanTucson is winding up its citizen participation phase of the City’s writing of a new General Plan for the coming ten-year period.  I would expect that City staff will be looking at the IGT document as one source of data to consider.  One of IGT’s nine principles is Quality Neighborhoods.   On p. 19, eight values for them are listed.  The three I find most relevant to mid-town, and, therefore, most in need of specific clarification, are…” Ruth Beeker.    CLICK on Imagine Getting Compacted to read the rest of Ruth’s article.   Many believe that the IGT and Plan Tucson are generalized goals.  In the eyes of core neighborhood leaders, the correct vision has to emerge from their impacted communities. Pro Neighborhoods a long time Tucson  community foundation was victim of recent budget cuts.  It’s last funded project is a Neighborhood Symposium Project; presented by Jefferson Park Neighborhood.  It’s panel presentation is set for January 26th, 2013.  The focus is on neighborhoods and a strong voice of direction in their future.  The next planning meeting is on Monday, October 29th, 7pm, at the  International School of Tucson, 1701 E Seneca.

Read Full Post »

The August 23rd Overlay Seminar was a rundown of  bullet points outlining 6 overlay topics.   You can download the following power point pdf files by clicking on the titles:  1) Legal limitations 2)  Downtown Links  3) Grant Road  4) Main Gate District  5) Urban Overlay District and  6) Infill Incentive District.  Representatives from Pima County, Marana, Oro Valley and Suarita also summarized their experience with overlays.  Community acceptance to zoning overlays was acknowledged by City Planner, Jim Mazzocco as an area in need of serious work.  He stressed that streamlining the Main Gate Overlay was something he would not want to repeat and pointed to DowntownLINKS as a better model.  The Main Gate District worked for business interests but not local residents.  A poignant moment in the seminar was a partnered presentation by  Neighborhood leader Ruth Beeker and Developer Jim Campbell.  They spoke on the right planning,  failures in the Main Gate Overlay public process, and a need for plans that afford certainty and predictability to residents and developers.  The core of Tucson is under pressure and planning areas targeted for rezoning overlays is necessary whether it is a two year specific overlay district planning process or part of a broader master plan.  Either way, communities need to be deep in a process free of pressure.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »