Monday, April 17, 2006

Community Consensus is Possible

Yesterday there was an article by Kevin McQuaid in the SHT that told the story of a developer working to win approval for a 39 unit project on Hyde Park near the hospital.

The initial plans got the neighborhood upset for a variety of reasons. Apparently the developer (Kalu Watanabe) listened. From the article:

Faced with the protests -- and the prospect that the city might reject a setback waiver request the developer needed to move forward -- Watanabe's Rand Hillview LLC went back to the drawing board.

The developers told architect James Soller, of Venice, to make numerous changes. Soller lengthened the distance of a proposed setback and slanted the Residences' three buildings on the site to make sight lines more pleasing.

He found a way to mask the trash Dumpsters, striking a balance between the city's need for access and residents' desire that they be invisible.

Soller's revamped drawings saved the massive [oak] tree, too.

Rand Hillview also pledged to install lighting and construct 8-foot-wide public sidewalks on Hyde Park, adding 3 feet of width. Its changes will also reduce storm-water runoff onto East Avenue by half.

When developers and neighborhoods listen and work together common ground can be found. When this happens everyone is happy.

A couple years ago Henry Rodriguez listened to the residents in Osprey and the result was community welcoming of a WalMart.

Residents that live in a community know their community. Developers that work with residents find that their proposals quite often are improved and are met with approval.

At this point the community is still divided over the downtown density bonus issue.

[Joe Moraca comments on this on his blog. The proposal is in Arlington Park, Joe's neighborhood.]

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