We had about 100 people show up for the December 15th Planning and Zoning Meeting to express our concerns about the proposed development on the old Sam’s site. Unfortunately, the Commission was advised by the City Attorney that by acting on an amendment to a motion they were in fact acting on the motion before them. This was wrong, so they have to have another meeting to reconsider the item that was on the agenda.
Sue Halpern brought this to the attention of the Chairman and to his credit they are going to take corrective action to get the motion done properly. However, there is no guarantee that the same motion that they brought forward on December 15th will come forward at their next meeting.
The motion on December 15th passed by a 4 to 3 vote to recommend the proposed plan forward to the City Council with a positive recommendation with the stipulation that any dental or medical offices would require a special use permit. There was also something about not taking down the screening wall until the town homes along Beltway were constructed and that the apartments couldn’t start construction until 50% of the town homes in the district were built. The amendment stipulated that the road access to Beltway Drive be changed from vehicular to pedestrian only.
Now, this vote is subject to reversal unless we show up again and show our opposition and concern. We have been told that they are not opening the public input part of the meeting again, but just the deliberation of the Commission and the vote. This makes it extremely important for us to contact the individual Commissioners to express our continued opposition and concerns about this plan which is really not mixed use, because it is 97% apartments and condos. The new Planning and Zoning meeting will probably occur the first week in January, because they are trying to get the City Council to act on January 12th at their regularly scheduled meeting. We will need to show up in force for the City Council Meeting on the 12th after the Planning and Zoning Meeting, but more on that after we see what P&Z does.
They are now saying the development could have up to 350 apartments, 180 townhomes and a 520 space parking facility. There is nothing on the south side of Beltline that is five or six stories tall from Midway all the way to Marsh, so this development is going to look totally out of place. The total number of parking spaces on the site will be over 1300 and, at some time, they will all be coming out on Beltway Drive. That isn’t counting the people that will cut through from Beltline to Beltway to go south to avoid the Beltline/Midway intersection.
Sam’s was actually a good neighbor for all these years, because we were successful in getting the wall erected, the green space as a buffer and there was no access to the store from Beltway, so we didn’t have big trucks making deliveries. This plan would change all of that. Besides the cut through traffic and the residents coming and going on and off the site, there will be all kinds of delivery vehicles accessing the site.
All the citizens that presented at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting were very professional in their interaction with the Commission and were well prepared in their remarks. This approach is the most difficult for elected and appointed officials to discount. We have very legitimate concerns that deserve to be addressed.
It is important that we continue to show up for meetings and we will keep you informed about the when and where of that once they are posted. In the mean time we need you to contact the Planning and Zoning Commission Members and ask them to oppose the cut through to Beltway and ideally to table this plan and to work with the citizens to come up with a better one. This plan does not represent mixed use development. It is a high density residential development that provides little benefit to the people that already live here.
We have to take responsibility for protecting our neighborhoods.
Planning and Zoning Commission
Chairman – Skip Robbins firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair – Jim Robinson email@example.com
Jason Ennis firstname.lastname@example.org
Stacey Griggs email@example.com
Debra Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Schaeffer email@example.com
Randy Smith firstname.lastname@example.org