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Archive for the ‘Main Gate UOD’ Category

Click here to read:  Neighborhood association ought to back Main Gate project, by Robert Lanning, Architect.   Published by the Daily Star.   Here are some other points to consider:  An edge / transition strategy is necessary.  It is missing.  One way it can happen is with a sub-regional downtown / U of A master plan that outlines what is coming so neighborhoods know what kind of final input they need to be prepared to engage in.  The MGD skirts this.  It is a fast track style re-zoning which is developer driven.  If the project is like the $35 million dollar“Vue on Apache” in Tempe, Neighborhoods might have reservations.  Not only is neighborhood input necessary in driving our best urban planning but to imply neighborhoods can not be part of a plan omits a key part of the picture.  Watching the frustration of developers and neighborhoods year after year speaks for itself.  Many agree that the transition is or should be the stretch of property just east of Euclid, but what does it look like?   Are there plazas, hard-scape, sidewalks, trees and base development of low masses, including some of the fine historic structures creating the idea of being walkable and pedestrian friendly.   A good transition insures this and when you look at historical structures that might be part of this, you have to see beyond the weeds.  Map courtesty of WUNA.

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The April 1st Sunday Star features a key moment in a referendum initiative by West University Neighborhood.  After celebrating in front of City Hall, the initiative ran into an anticipated brick wall at the clerks office as this citizen’s tool for process was not very well received by the City Attorney’s office.  View  Josh Brodesky: Opposition by 12,000 underlies the overlay.   Since Josh wrote this update,  roughly 6,000 of the signatures were disqualified on a very minor clerical technicality which had no bearing on the quality and intent of the signatures, as West University painstakingly followed every rule. Photo shows clerk rejecting petitions.  Stay tuned for whats next.  Here are some recent updates from April 2nd:    Josh Brodesky, Daily Star    →    Fox 11 News

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The Arizona Daily Star published a piece by the Dean of the College of Architecture, Janice Cervilli.   The Dean sees this as positive for not only development,  but for the community.  What do neighborhoods think?   Check out the Dean’s point of view on a dicey subject in the Modern Streetcar, Intelligent Infill can Make Tucson a More Livable City.

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An Open Letter to Mayor Jonathan Rothschild Regarding the Overlay Ordinance (Tucson Weekly Article) “As I read through the new ordinance, it struck me that it could easily have been written by developers”…Click on title for rest of this telling piece  by Cathleen Shirley.

Many core neighborhoods are on fire to see West University Neighborhood succeed in their petition drive to repeal what they see as a dangerous precedent for the debut of UOD re-zoning in Tucson.    An understanding is setting in as to why the current public process hasn’t worked.   The Main Gate UOD is Tucson’s debut for what is essentially a new tool for planners to  insert large tracts of re-zoning along main roads and within targeted or “blighted” areas.   This inaugural effort gives away the farm for a corporate plan.   Several other UOD’s are lined up at the gate to also be adopted.   Tucson needs to get this one right.   Sending Tucson’s first UOD to ballot box is a citizen process.  It is a difficult and challenging way to exercise a voice, but necessary if we want this to be for Tucson.   Let’s hope the Mayor and Council appreciate its constituents for taking the heat off of  them and asking the questions they couldn’t.

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Overlay Approved by the Tucson Weekly  is a  short piece on the flawed adoption of the Main Gate Urban Overlay District (UOD).  It could spark real debate over public process.   West University neighborhood launched referendum petition, that could send the plan to City voters and challenge the status quo.   Molly McKasson wrote a companion about another problem; 12 years of ignoring the illegal permitting of group homes in residential R-1 and R-2 neighborhoods.  That ended in a guarded  victory for neighborhoods.   Molly calls all of this one step forward and one step back.   The city added language to enforce existing Land Use Code rules that were being overlooked.  Mayor and council also used that issue to help justify the Main Gate UOD claiming that they are steering unwanted development out of  U of A neighborhoods.  Do you think they have it right?

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The Official Website for the Main Gate Overlay District re-zoning   The following are PDF links that can be clicked on and downloaded.  This will cover information about this rezoning that is  helpful for citizens to understand it:

“The City’s Plan”     WUNA’s Plan, a Visual    →   Rezoning Map   →   City Manager’s Letter (Descriptive)  →    Adoption Letter  

For information regarding opposition to the overlay and citizen view-points, please view WUNA’s official website and facebook sites:    westuniversityneighborhood.org,   facebook.com/nowayoverlay.   Send inquiries to WUNA’s official email address for the referendum action:  nowayoverlay@gmail.com

Opinion:  Ordinance # 10968, Main Gate District Optional Urban Overlay excludes substantive citizen involvement.  It was adopted through quick a 90 day re-zoning.  Now, with citizens initiating a referendum petition to overturn the re-zoning, it looks larger in public scope than a re-zoning process can handle.  The re-zoning adopted on February 28th, is described by proponents as a good thing for business as Mayor Rothschild proclaims “Tucson is open for Business”.  It addresses  shortcomings in infill and growth along transit, namely the modern street car route.  The City of Tucson had a comparable alternative that contained real elements of public inclusion and met criteria for density.  Mayor and Council chose staff’s plan that favors the immediate probability of issuing  building permits.  See Campus Acquisitions  In the larger picture, this rezoning action sets a precedent for more overlays done in a manner that continues to limit substantive citizen input.   A citizen based sub-regional master plan would be a clearing and could pave a smoother road for approvals of future overlays.  As Tucson digs out of its recession, more overlays will be coming.   Citizens need input on these.   UUI

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Neighbors band to block high-rises west of UA.

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