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The challenge was made to a conditional use amendment presented by the city occurring in Midtown District. Bear in mind, this specific amendment was originally included last September among a host of refinements the city presented to the Planning Board that was passed. Due to an advertizement snafu, this specific request needed to be submitted separately for a public hearing.
I hope the Planning Board looks on this day as an important reminder that rezoning or conditional use amendments should be reviewed with extreme reluctance and caution.
Time for the Planning Board to herald a discerning tone when reviewing zoning or conditional use changes.
I for one was aghast at the density transfer amendment of 2011 allowing higher densities beyond the 26 units allowed in mixed use zoning to entice hotel development in Midtown.
If its about more tax revenue, then disregard zoning and simply give the bidder looking to change zoning to lower his/her cost to the detriment of residents and/or other commercial property owners that bought into a set of conditions established by zoning.
It was refreshing to hear references to the city's Comprehensive Plan to actually support opposition of the city's endorsement of this conditional use amendment. It is time the city follow the course it laid out and refrain from making city endorsements that are the request of a single petitioner seeking a variance.
I understand the city believed this was a good idea that should be applied to all C-4 zoning, but the opposition was clear in showing why it was NOT!
I thank the Planning Board with its overwhelming 7-0 vote. It offers hope and serves the city a valuable lesson: if you wish to tinker with the Midtown District it must be fair and equitable, NOT because someone comes knocking on your door with a new proposal to revitalize a plan. This city is very young and the original layout is far from obsolete. Given this plan, I believe most changes, especially wholesale changes require a high hurdle supported with an overwhelming preponderance of evidence.
Lesson Learned: The city should not make endorsements of conditional use amendments based on a single petitioner.
And this was reintroduced due to a public advertizement snafu, and now to be defeated in part because of another pseudo advertizement snafu: the lack of disclosure.
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