Seven Issues in Seven Days: Next Public Comments on September 29th

One More Day Until next Public Comment session at Planning Board. 7:30pm, Tuesday night, Town Hall. For many, the Station House development on Dunnell Road was a surprise, and disappointment. The final design differs substantially from what was reviewed during public meetings, and now most people feel more should have been done to blend the structure into the Memorial Park setting.
The JMF proposal for the Village requires over 20 variances, many of which have to do with the structure’s appearance. This is not something to be rushed through Committee–the Planning Board members are empowered to review the requests in their totality, negotiate changes, and individually cast their votes when negotiations are complete. AND they can take steps to insure that if approved, the project is built exactly as described. Public comments continue Tuesday night–please join us!

Two days til the next Public Comment Session! When we wrote the Redevelopment Plan in 2012 the opportunity was to work with 33,000 square feet from Ricalton Square to Village Coffee to create an innovative design. Today we are looking at a building that is in the same location as the existing building, and is about the same footprint. Yet, JMF still proposes to remove all the existing vegetation AND the four trees at the south end of Ricalton Square, AND the tree next to Village Coffee.

The urban sensibility JMF boasts about isn’t being well managed on this topic either. Our “urban” values do not include thought-less removal of old-growth trees. Shouldn’t we re-visit this now that the proposal only impacts one-third the area originally envisioned?

 Three days til the next Public Comment Session for JMF Proposal! Seeing a trailer back into the Kings driveway is street entertainment Maplewood style–and a feat of uncommon skill. The newest JMF plan requires trucks to back over the proposed sidewalk in front of the new building to enter the Kings driveway. Public comments at the last meeting also showed that trucks for all local businesses routinely double-park in various ways while waiting for their turn:

ohno60.info/planning-board-hearings/  

JMF proposes narrower roads, making all this more complicated. Is that taking us in the right direction? JMF boasts contemporary urban sensibilities in his design—aspects like this look more like the in-sensibilities we’ve come to Maplewood to avoid. Should we approve a design that worsens congestion?

12032014_399027963622991_495995762068442162_n

Four days until the next Public Comment period at the Planning Board! As shown in the original 1958 construction drawings, aesthetic upgrades to this area, and re-creating the connection from here to Ricalton Square would achieve all the popular goals for improving pedestrian connections. This is an exciting part of the Redevelopment Plan–but do you think demolishing the current structure is the only way to meet it?

Attend the meeting September 29th, and help the Planning Board evaluate all the public benefits of the JMF’s proposal. Development must enhance our neighborhoods and our strengths throughout Maplewood–these meetings are the way to make that–and not something else–happen!

The “viewshed” from the tunnel can be seen at http://ohno60.info/planning-board-hearings/.11200897_398854030307051_3912287293822261180_n

5 Days to the next Public Comment period at the Planning Board. Parking is being discussed, in depth. Let’s spell it together: A-R-C-A-N-E! The bottom line: will it be easier or harder to park in this vicinity with the JMF proposal?

The zoning requires that JMF add 24 public spaces to handle the 5 big retail stores and/or 9400 sq feet of retail retail. In the plan, 6 spaces are being added near the proposal, and the remainder will be “added to” distant streets or in the Woodland lot. Six instead of 24: that means customers going to the new businesses, Kings, the movie theater, and other stores will spend longer looking for parking than they do today!

Parking is always a challenge–and is only solved when there is a long-term plan. We need those plans addressed before we build-out Maplewood with new developments.

12036777_398561713669616_4160796955532170135_n

 

6 Days til the Next Public Comment Session! So how will JMF’s proposal feel as we walk around it? We’ve seen renderings, balloons, and massing photos and yet the answer isn’t clear. (http://ohno60.info/building-proposal-renderings/ and http://ohno60.info/planning-board-hearings/ ). We’ve also seen shadow studies that confirm the shadows cast will be larger than any other structure in town–similar to Village Coffee, but 3 times as wide (available from Planning Board secretary). The eastern morning sun washing down Maplewood Avenue may be no longer.

The applicant is seeking 7 variances related to building size, 4 related to facade design, and at least 3 related to landscaping, sidewalks, and surrounding areas.

This site is important in many ways, and it is a taxpayer asset potentially worth several million dollars. The important decisions have yet to be made, and our input is essential. There are challenging projects like this planned in many neighborhoods across Maplewood–please join us in influencing this one today!

12038524_398307190361735_676443164741066048_n

Tuesday 9/29–only 7 days left before the next public comment session at Planning Board. 7 issues in 7 days–then there will be over another dozen more after that! For today: there are unanswered questions regarding deliveries to existing businesses, the new ones, and the new tenants. Is tractor-trailer use of the proposed sidewalk safe? Where will delivery trucks wait before making deliveries? Which parking spaces will be obstructed while trucks are waiting? Will trailers leave the Kings’ driveway using the proposed narrow road into Ricalton Square? On which residential streets will the trailers drive after leaving? Will these new arrangements reduce congestion, or worsen it? As we add projects across town–some with over 100 apartments each–residents of all neighborhoods need speak up on how these challenges are addressed at the Post Office site. That new proposal down your street must meet your needs and expectations, not only those of developers and their investors!

The public comment period will continue at the September 29th meeting, 8pm, Town Hall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s