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Thread: Redevelopment of large use

  1. #1
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Redevelopment of large use

    Not sure what to name this thread so mods please change if necessary!

    We are a small lower-income community with virtually no development or growth.

    We have a large institutional use (15 acres including parking) adjacent to our Historic District along a state highway that is leaving and tearing down all their buildings. This is fantastic opportunity for the community to create something special in a very distinct area. However, as a staff we are unsure how to go about making sure this large piece of land becomes something meaningful and adds value to our downtown district. Outside of rezoning it to a district that doesn't allow metal buildings and tons of parking up front is there another path we should follow? Like I mentioned, there is no growth and currently developers are trying to offload their properties on the cheap so forcing some grand mixed-use urban project isn't a possibility. We don't have money to hire a consultant to study the area and there are no grants for such studies available where we are. They are going to leave it parking and remove all of the building (foundations included) but we want to make sure something is in place before they can sell it to a used-car store or something.

    Any thoughts!?!

    Thanks.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Since I don't know much about anything you can ignore me or praise me for my brilliant advice that you already knew anyway.
    I'd start with the obvious, get a comp plan change to reflect the communities desires, loosely so any rezoning can be affected.
    You can zone it to AG or some other holding zone to prevent the wrong business and then look at projects as they come in.
    You can create a district specific to the property or area asking for what you want like proper street facing and other site design ideas. Done right this will discourage car dealerships and the wrong type of business.
    You can listen to all you NIMBYs and turn it into a park.

    I just like to have some kind of policy document in place to express the communities desires at a minimum. It might not stop the by right strip club, but it can affect the rezoning options.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    You can zone it to AG or some other holding zone to prevent the wrong business and then look at projects as they come in.
    That's a very aggressive downzoning IMO. There might be serious legal ramifications depending on local and state laws. The no growth may be a hidden blessing as it would give the community time to come up with a plan for the parcel. Good luck!
    The content contrarian

  4. #4
    I presume you are in touch with the owners.
    I presume the owners can provide you with documentation that the site has been tested for brownfields, and if necessary, appropriately remediated. And the owners can provide state documentation of such remediation.
    I presume you have asked the owners to donate to you or sell cheaply to you, considering it is a depressed real estate market.
    If any of my presumptions are wrong, fix them. NOW!
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    In the immediate term I would recommend looking for a way to gain control of the property. Short of that, pursue the route you are already taking to put some minimum safeguards in place so that it is not acquired for an inappropriate use, or held by a speculator with no plans to redevelop. In an ideal world you would be able to do some planning around the site. Start with a market analysis to determine potential uses and then select your preferred mix from among them. The market analysis not only lets you know what is feasible, but it can also be used as a marketing tool to recruit developers to the site. A design plan is far less important. You can provide guidelines in-house, and anyway, the design is going to be negotiated with the developer. It will be dictated by the market uses and the rent they are willing to pay, not by pretty pictures drawn by a landscape architect.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I advocate for a community engagement process to try and identify needs that could be served by this land. My job involves the redevelopment of 34 acres within the urban core for “permanently affordable” housing. This idea actually came form the local neighborhoods who worked for 20 years to get the City to acquire the vacant industrial land (which was a brownfield site that the City cleaned up). When they fought to clean the area up, they really didn’t have a clear idea of what would be a better use. But after many community meetings and digging deep into the values of the residents, they ultimately felt that providing affordable housing within the urban core would be a positive long term benefit for the city as a whole. This is an historically low income area prior to this move, so there was also interest in ensuring existing residents did not get pushed out and that kids and grandkids had the opportunity to live here if they wanted.

    Sometimes public meetings are dominated by the loudest complainers and NIMBY-ists. But sometimes the community surprises you with their maturity and foresight. If their ideas dovetail with things on the city's priority list, then you have a winner.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    advocate for a community engagement process to try and identify needs that could be served by this land.
    IMO the community probably knows what the need the most and what would be most beneficial to them ask them first before you take any major action.

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