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Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:15 am

Stu Levitan wrote:Approved, 15-3.

Ald. Rhodes-Conway with an epic takedown of planning director Steve Cover. Never seen anything like it.

I really respect Steve Cover but I was stunned at how he pooh-poohed the Downtown Plan, disavowed the staff report prepared by his own staff and threw his support behind the project.

Rhodes-Conway's indignation was appropriately righteous. Really excellent.

Unsurprising was Maniaci's usual: "my constituents don't want this but I know what's good for them oh me oh my it pains me to vote this way but I'm going to do it."
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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby snoqueen » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:37 am

All I can say is this is how they turn out repeatedly. Developer presents something way out of line with neighborhood (downtown) plan, neighbors resist, developer presents his second plan (something closer to neighborhood plan though not necessarily conforming with it), second version gets through committees and the council approves.

I wish the neighborhoods could have more confidence the downtown plan would be respected. Lots and lots of people-hours and earnest work go into those things and they're not worth the paper they're printed on. They function as a bargaining chip. In response to the way developers use their first pie-in-the-sky iteration as a bargaining chip, I suggest in the future neighborhoods draw up these plans as idealistically as possible, to move their own starting point for the ensuing bargaining into stronger position.

City staff get respect from me -- they actually try to interpret and follow what the neighborhoods have expressed as their formal, written intent. They are a totally disinterested party to this show, doing the job they're paid to do and doing it apparently unaffected by the politics surrounding the matter. You've got to admit they're in a better position to be objective about the proposals and written plans than anybody else. Unfortunately nobody pays attention, but there it is on the record: somebody tried.

I wish we had a wider array of candidates for Maniaci's seat this time but we saw how that got screwed up. (I don't think it's a conspiracy, but it's a disappointment.) Whoever said earlier that one election, one seat, and even one vote can make a big difference wasn't joking.

I hope the new building looks like it fits as well as the new drawings show, but I'll be surprised if it actually does. I'll wait and see. I agree with whoever wrote earlier about how the area looks decayed now. I believe this is our usual strategic benign neglect at work.

This is a glass half-full, half-empty situation for me. We are getting a more efficient, up to date, and safer building with more living units and no surface parking, and those are genuinely meaningful improvements. Are they still fixing up the boxy building on the lakeshore lot at the same time, or did that little sweetener get lost in the switching-around?
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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby gargantua » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:15 am

In my experience in government, most "plans" turn out to just be exercises that no one pays more than lip service to when something comes up later. After all, when "later" comes, we have more information and are wiser than the poor saps who spent all that time and effort on the plan.

So, I'm not surprised, ever, when a plan is dismissed or altered. If it functions as a bargaining chip, at least it serves a function. Think of how much worse things might have been if there were no bargaining chip.
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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:34 am

snoqueen wrote:developer presents his second plan (something closer to neighborhood plan though not necessarily conforming with it), second version gets through committees and the council approves.


And isn't that why we vote in our elected officials, to make those decisions. The developer presented a plan that was out of line with the neighborhood plan, they made a compromise, the council liked it and it got passed(By the way, it was a substantial vote in favor)

I think folks in the neighborhood should have a say in what goes on around them, but projects like this can benefit more than just that particular neighborhood. That's why I believe the council weighed the views of the neighborhood along with the benefits of the city. Hence a 15-3 approval.
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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:05 pm

Stebben84 wrote:Hence a 15-3 approval.

I would love to ask each of those fifteen alders if they voted for this because they really thought it conformed to the Downtown Plan or if they simply don't think the Downtown Plan matters that much.
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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby Detritus » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:40 pm

Stebben84 wrote:And isn't that why we vote in our elected officials, to make those decisions.

I was under the impression we vote in elected officials to represent us in making those decisions. I think that's the issue--not whether they voted, but whether they voted with their constituents in mind.
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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby Cooltapes » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:13 am

Wow, check it out, this made the print version of the Isthmus. Not just the Week in Review section for Tuesday 2.5 under the item about the city's new golf course fees ($5 a day or $40 a season) but under the Fortunes section! Who knew a little project downtown on the isthmus would generate that kind of publicity?
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Re: Don't Demolish. Rehab! Iota Ct/Henry St Redevelopment?

Postby Cooltapes » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:53 pm

Isthmus=fishwrap
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