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Archive for the ‘Main Gate UOD’ Category

Arizona Court of Appeals hearing on the City of Tucson’s rejection of citizens petitions to repeal the Main Gate Overlay  View also a written summary in Court of Appeals : WUNA (pdf)     

June 22nd update –  The Court of appeals ruled against the appeal.  The Supreme Court has been asked to review this ruling.  The submittal by West University’s attorney can be viewed here:   Petition For Review

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In a scathing article , Randy Serraglio of  the Tucson Weekly grilles the City in  Controversy in the downtown/UA area.   A big chunk of the controversy centers around urban overlay districts and the RTA.  The Main Gate Overlay is one such project that has been disputed by West University Neighborhood.  While WUNA continues to challenge the overlay through through court action, the City of Tucson issued a permit to start building the first 14 story building to benefit from the overlay on May 1st.   You can view approved plans for the foundation work here: MAP Pro  One thing is that is obviously missing from the overlay mechanism is that it is entirely one sided.  It has no means of balancing out negative impact that can lead to divestment of R1 and R2 uses in impacted downtown/UA neighborhoods. 

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In August of 2010, the City of Tucson adopted the Urban Overlay District (UOD) enabling ordinance which allows the City to initiate re-zonings for districts where transit oriented development is desired.  The intent is to enable streamlined re-zoning.  New UODs will be coming fast and will cover a lot of ground along the warehouse district, the boundaries of the U of A,  Grant Road, Broadway Boulevard,  22nd Street, the Modern Street Car route, Fourth Avenue and many other transit designated areas in the near future.  The first tentatively adopted UOD is the Main Gate District, currently stalled with a legal challenge by West University Neighborhood Association.   As an example of one single UOD, there are 17 parcels that stand to receive added value by the stroke of a pen.  There is little going into surrounding neighborhoods but a promise for trickle down benefits.  UODs typically border and impact established neighborhoods along selected transit routes.  Although U of A neighborhoods managed to curb mis-use of R1 and R2 uses after a decade of illegally permitted student group homes by the City of Tucson,  residents  continue to feel divestment, stress and disrespect.  Campus Acquisitions plans to spend 70 million dollars on two 14 story high rises.  Most of the height is added value.  If 2/3’s was added value, then 3% would be 1.4 million dollars, but don’t count on it benefiting impacted neighborhoods as the overlay has no link to any kind of neighborhood impact fee structure.  That’s a lost opportunity.  Neighborhoods need to be asking for the UOD enabling ordinance to be re-written to insure mutuality in benefits to protect neighborhoods.

What will turn around divestment of R1 and R2 uses around the U of  A and downtown is not solely fussing building heights, but channeling funds into our neighborhoods through UOD neighborhood reinvestment / impact  fees that are solely an opt in mechanism.  Call them NRIFS if you want.  Matching up reinvestment districts with  H.U.D. community / neighborhood empowerment programs,   Ground Work USA, and possible fee waivers, could be an enormous boom to residential resurgence in these impact districts.   R1 and R2 uses around UODs could see a increase in value and demand.  U of A neighborhoods, currently under fire have to  ask for this while the opportunities are here.

Here is an interesting May 27th, Sunday Star article; New developments with top-flight amenities expected to draw students nearer to UA, which neglects to discuss the impact of dense housing development along the edges of  U of A neighborhoods many of which will be enabled by UODs. 

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As the saga of Tucson’s first adopted overlay continues, Tim Vanderpool, writer for the Tucson Weekly summarizes in Underlying the Overlays  Also view council’s comments following the May 8th City Hall meeting.   Council newsletter excerpts (PDF)  On May 15th, the contested overlay petitions relating to the repeal of the Main Gate Overlay goes to Arizona Supreme Court to be heard a second time.   It would follow that West University’s efforts to repeal the overlay are being heard by Mayor and council as they inch closer to giving West University what they want. 

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View a PDF copy of Judge Richard Gordon’s April 27th ruling for the City on their  rejection of West University’s petitions to repeal the Main Gate UOD  –  RULING

An appeal was filed April 30th, 2012 in the Court of Appeals.  The case is heading to the Arizona Supreme Court

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As West University and the City of Tucson fight their first court battle over the validity of petition signatures,  planning officials are hearing a quick redo of the northwest corner of the Main Gate Urban Overlay District (UOD) at council chambers on April 25th, 6:30PM.   A verdict on West University’s court case is also due on the 25th.   View the PDF file of  West University’s update by Ford Burkhart:  Referendum Court Case    

In parallel efforts, the Broadway Coalition is battling the 71 million dollar RTA funded Broadway Corridor.  Rincon Heights, Sam Hughes, El Encanto and other neighborhoods impacted by widening have been fighting its costly and destructive impact.  View a PDF copy of the Broadway Coalition’s Statement.   View also Steve Kozachik’s Press Conference Statement,  and attend on April 30th @ 6Pm @ the First Assembly of God Church – Broadway and Campbell.   Public Invited.  Another RTA funded project; the Grant Road Widening between Oracle and Swan has a UOD component to deal with re-zoning.  Jefferson Park is opting out of the UOD because of a lack of the right planning.  Others will follow.

A theme with residents is a demand for more than a name on sign-in sheets.  They want real input and major neighborhood focus.   Maybe Tucson could look at Jaime Lerner, former 12 year mayor of Curitiba who turned the Brazilian City around to become emblematic of real “best practice urban design”.  Lerner says 3 driving factors for success is mobility, sustainability and identity; things that Tucson struggles with.  Curitiba worked because of the vision and commitment that Lerner was able to give.  How does Tucson do this?  How does Tucson find a balance with its neighborhoods.

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Developer Lists $21 Million Possible Damages From Zoning Delay in Posner’s Block Hi-Rise.   Ford Burkhart  Download PDF for article here   CA Damages

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