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    Published on 21 Dec 2011 8:00 AM
    Categories:
    1. Transportation
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    WSU MUP Student writes:

    For the past few years there has been a lot of effort and resources put into the development of a light rail system for the City of Detroit. About a year or so ago (I cannot recall exactly when), the various plans began to coalesce and a final plan was released which would be a line running up and down the center of Woodward Avenue (the Main Street for Detroit and its northern suburbs) from just outside of downtown eventually to 8 Mile Road (the northern city limit). Once downtown, the line would make a bit of a loop through the central area. The rail line was going to be paid for through a combination of federal and private grants, city and state funding, and a small coalition of wealthy private donors. ...
    Published on 20 Dec 2011 8:00 AM
    Categories:
    1. Economic Development
    2. Land Use and Zoning

    Richmond Jake writes:

    I was talking to a contractor last week and he was telling me about a new product Walmart is developing. He called them "mini-Walmarts" and told me up to 400 of these were planned in the southeast. Larger than a 7-11 but smaller than a typical grocery store. Basically, he told me the new focus is rural and small town communities and targeting the success of Dollar Generals and their ilk. I know there are areas in my county where they would thrive. A quick Google search uncovered this article: Walmart Planning Hundreds of Mini Shops ...
    Published on 19 Dec 2011 8:00 AM
    Categories:
    1. Housing
    2. Urban Design
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    UrbaneSprawler writes:

    I'm curious to get opinions on this. In the sketch below it shows a multifamily development where the units on the bottom front (with a 30' setback) an arterial street with traffic in the range of 30,000 vpd. Above these units are parking, followed by garages, and then an internal street system. My opinion would be that this south half of the photo would be better off "flipped" with the bottom units fronting the internal street and the parking lot and garages face the arterial. The planners around the office have dismissed this concept. I suspect it's due to wanting to avoid showcasing the back of garages and parking along the arterial street and perhaps making the arterial street feel more pedestrian friendly as a result (though it may be fenced anyway and then no longer visible). In my non-planner view, the units would benefit noise-wise from being further setback from a busy roadway and the units would help better "frame" the internal street system, which without units on both sides of the internal street, loses an opportunity to create a more vibrant internal street system and internal neighborhood as a whole. What am I not getting I guess in having my opinion? ...
    Published on 16 Dec 2011 8:00 AM
    Categories:
    1. Economic Development
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    TerraSapient writes:

    As planners, we probably see the "economic development" carrot being dangled in the face of our communities to justify community-opposed land development more than most other members of society. This issue has always irked me.

    I am sure we all have examples of this in our hometowns. One current development that is underway locally here in Hawaii that has received monumental community resistance is the development and opening of a 130,000 square foot Target in Kailua. For information, refer to this brief article that adequately explains the situation http://honoluluweekly.com/cover/2011/01/off-target/. What I find particularly interesting about this case is that the community isn't interested in the carrot. They consistently and adamantly reject the carrot and want Target to stay away, but Target just keeps dangling it and using the creation of 250 jobs in the area as justification for going against the community's wishes and has even gone so far as to threaten litigation against the chair of the local neighborhood board for stating that he does not support the development because it goes against the area's sustainable communities plan (which, unfortunately, has no teeth).
    ...
    Published on 14 Dec 2011 8:00 AM
    Categories:
    1. Land Use and Zoning
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    Fringe writes:

    An area realtor put a query about "free-range" chicken processing. A vacant sewing plant adjacent to mostly residential areas with 24,000'2 (2,200m2) has his interest. Clients want to set up to process birds from small producers whose birds "run free" and roost in wheeled "coops" that are closed and hauled to processor when birds are grown. Subject parcel's zone category includes "materials" processing, but don't think animals are implied. ...
    Published on 13 Dec 2011 8:00 AM
    Categories:
    1. Economic Development
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    Cardinal writes:

    Sears is threatening to leave its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago. At the time it left the Sears Tower, the company received incentives from the state to remain in Illinois, and built a sprawling office complex that was, in suburban fashion, as the iconic tower it abandoned in 1993. Now Sears is playing the "move" game again, seeking generous payouts from states to relocate its operations. ...
    Published on 08 Dec 2011 8:00 AM
    Categories:
    1. Planning Practice

    Mechanical commercial, feelgood planning, Godatorium, and institutional creep. These are among the terms that regular planners have added to the planning lexicon. Check them out, and feel free to join in the discussion and add your own!



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