Thank you, Planning Commission, for the time you took to read the letters and to listen to the folks who came out to explain why they felt the overly-bright LED sign would be dangerous. Your 4-1 vote to deny the waiver needed for the sign is much appreciated.
Developers who rely on development guidelines being enforced before . . . → Read More: Sign waiver denied
When it comes to approaching the Planning Commission about waiver requests, we hear a lot of conflicting messages about the role and power of the residents:
- The PC likes to hear from “just plain folks,” the kind who show up in their paint-spattered work clothes, heavy work boots, medical uniforms and office attire. Let’s call them the “JPF” for short.
- The more of these JPF, the more powerful the message.
- The PC cannot make decisions based on the popularity, or lack thereof, of a waiver request. So actually, numbers of JPF at the meetings can’t count.
- The JPF actually don’t understand all the legalities, so while their interest is much appreciated, it doesn’t stand a chance against a legal technicality.
- How the PC votes on a waiver request is very much affected by what the JPF say.
- If the JPF haven’t come in with new information for the PC to use in figuring out how to vote, or if their information is ill-informed, then the hours they spend at these meetings is all for naught.
Continue reading Done our homework
The sign being voted on at the Planning Commission meeting tonight (City Hall, 6:00 pm) is not, I repeat, is not the hold-up on the store opening.
Sean Kirst reported on this fact a month ago (Post-Standard, Friday, June 19, 2009 – bolding mine):
Continue reading The sign is not the hold-up
RE: Application No. AS-09-17, Sign Exception , Five Point Development
Dear Ms. Lamendola,
I am writing in regards to application number AS-09-17 submitted by Five Point Development. As an Upstate New York native and urban planner I strongly oppose a waiver for the projecting sign with LED sign. The design does not coincide with the pedestrian oriented design of Eastwood; it’s distracting for drivers and therefore dangerous. Further waivers to the James Street Overlay will weaken the ability to enforce guidelines in the future.
Continue reading My Letter to Zoning by Jessica Hemingway
Picture the driver navigating this intersection, kids being a distraction, cell phone ringing, a cup of coffee in one hand, and an LED sign brighter than everything else changing from one message to another:
How about at night? Remember: this sign is changing all the time:
Continue reading Those pesky – and dangerous – LED signs
I’m not the only one who hopes they get this exit straightened out before we have to read in the paper that a tragic “accident” has taken place at the intersection of James St. and Grant Blvd. Call it an accident and it seems the hand of God is in play. But even mere mortals can tell this exit at Walgreens isn’t going to work. Fact is, we knew it back on December 14, 2005, when I first put this on the Walkable Eastwood website:
Continue reading Egregious egress = tragic accident
Maybe it’s the developer who doesn’t want to work with the community. Look at these beautiful ways to have a Walgreens in your neighborhood! Don’t think for a minute that they did this because these neighborhoods are somehow more special than Eastwood. These neighborhoods are special only because they have design guidelines that prevent them from . . . → Read More: Walgreens will work with communities
A brief recap of the meeting tonight:
The developer showed the commission the newest version of the sign. It is 6 feet 10 inches tall and 11 feet wide. The animated part of the sign has not changed size in all the various permutations.
Those in favor of the developer’s proposal spoke. Those opposed spoke – roughtly twice . . . → Read More: Planning commission May 18: no decision
This was originally published on January 15, 2006, but it is just as important as it was then:
In Sean Kirst’s open letter to Walgreens, he says, in reference to the Drake University neighborhood’s design criteria worked out with Walgreens, “The neighbors made a stink, and your people sat down and worked it out. You moved the entrance of the store up to the street, so shoppers could walk in the front door. You selected a brick for the exterior that matched nicely with nearby college buildings. While many neighbors were opposed to a drive-through, you put it in the back, where it was out of sight.”
A walkable Rite-Aid:
Continue reading Walgreens works with those who persist
The other day I was driving behind a senior driver who was clearly not the sprightly driver he used to be. His driving was excessively slow and his positioning of the car in lanes was not accurate. As I waited behind him at an intersection, I watched him turn left in front of oncoming traffic. Thank goodness things were moving slowly and the driver of the other car was not distracted by unnecessary signage. There could have been an accident, and his wife, sitting in the passenger’s seat, would have been hit directly.
When the community met with Guy Hart, Jr. at the Palace (he’s the developer of the Walgreens), I had one point to make: older drivers are only increasing in number as boomers age. We need to keep our intersections as free of distractions as possible. It’s a safety issue.
Continue reading Design guidelines accommodate older drivers
Since the early 1980′s, our city forefathers in their flawed thinking have foregone long-term stable housing property tax revenue for larger, short-term tax revenue gains by approving franchise type drive-thru land uses (KFC, Burger King, Eckerds, Rite Aid, Jreck Subs, etc.) over the past ten to twenty years. What has resulted in places like Butternut St. is a high crime corridor and declining real property values. Was this trade-off worth it in the end?
Continue reading The true cost of big box/franchise retail
Any of this sound familiar?
From debates heard in the United Kingdom’s House of Commons:
3 Feb 2009 : Column 194WH
…over Fowgay hall—admittedly, it was an unlovely property—on the site of which now stand 14 flats. It is a 0.17 acre plot, every inch of which has been built on, with the car park having to go underground. It is so out of kilter with the area that it beggars belief that it was approved on appeal. Builders wear down local communities by persistently reapplying. They make an application knowing that it will not be accepted. They then re-submit and re-submit, causing tremendous stress and worry in local communities, and in the end they slip in just under the bar. And that is the end of a happy residential area and, often, of its character.
We need properly planned communities. The Government should consider strengthening legislation to facilitate a much more holistic approach to our planning system. As my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives said, local communities need a much greater say in decisions affecting the character of their area.
I have three suggestions that I hope the Government will consider. On the ability of developers to continue re-submitting applications, should we not have a “three strikes and you’re out” system to prevent the constant worry?
Mr. Hoyle: Two!
Continue reading We’re supposed to knuckle under
This is what happened at the April 27, 2009 Planning Commission meeting:
1. The Planning Commission just barely had a quorum. However, they said that they would act on right then on the submission of the modified ground sign (even though they had not had sufficient time to review it since it was just handed in today) if the applicant wanted, (which they did). Then, however, the PC decided that because it had been just handed in, they had not had time to review it and suggested that they close the hearing on the “old” application and resubmit an amended application. As a result, another public hearing will be noticed to the public and held on May 18, 2009 at 6:00 PM.
Continue reading What happened at April 27 PC meeting
Urban planner and former Eastwood resident Maureen Harding sends this in with permission to publish here:
The Planning Commission must find by the evidence on the record that the proposed action does not impair the public’s general health, safety and welfare. The burden of proof falls on the applicant to show that it does not.
Incompatible uses can impair the public’s general health, safety and welfare.
Here are principles of compatibility that will inform decision making:
Continue reading The burden of proof
Since March 30, 2009, I have been running a survey to gather public opinion on the Walgreens sign. Granted, “the public” is whoever views this site. But given that this site been mentioned on page 2 of the Sunday Post-Standard twice (now three times – 04/26/09), I think the public has had a good chance to weigh in.
So here are the results at a glance. The bold font is created by the survey software to indicate the choice getting the greatest number of votes.
Continue reading Walgreens sign survey results
Joe Nastri is a long-time Eastwood businessman who was involved in the original Eastwood Review Board that was disbanded by the City.
I too hope that the city does the right thing and upholds the zoning Overlay standards. Assertions have been made time and again that Eastwood looks the way it does because of neighbors and or the Zoning Overlay Guidelines. This is false. The reason why Eastwood has some problems with appearance is firstly because property owners, such as the owner of the old Steak and Sundae building and Byrne Dairy properties have made a conscious decision to allow these properties to fall into disrepair. The plan is for neighbors to get so fed up that we will accept what ever they decide is appropriate.
Continue reading Letter from Joe Nastri
For many years, Kathleen Joy has supported smart, sustainable development in Eastwood. She has been a tireless researcher, an effective communicator, and a source of information that might otherwise have been difficult for the average resident. Some time ago, she started her own blog. As is her habit, when she has something of import to let . . . → Read More: Post by Councilor Kathleen Joy
Last week I contacted every mayoral candidate via whatever means the public at large might do so: their published email addresses or, when that was not available, their contact forms in their mayoral candidate websites. I asked them to comment on any of the posts on this website and/or join the Walkable Eastwood email group to talk to Eastwood residents directly. Only Stephanie Miner responded, and she did so quickly, joining the group, introducing herself, and sending the following letter to the 100+ residents in that group. It is the letter she sent to members of the planning commission (bolding mine):
I am writing to respectfully request that the Planning Commission does not grant a waiver for the proposed Walgreens sign on James Street in Eastwood.
Continue reading Letter from Councilor Stephanie Miner
[Published with permission, bolding mine]
April 4, 2009
RE: Appl no. AS-08-33
City Planning Commission
201 East Washington Street
Syracuse, New York, 13202
Chairman Cowart and Members of the City Planning Commission,
My name is Lance Denno and I am the 5th District Councilor for the City of Syracuse. As such it is my duty to represent the interests and the will of the citizens of Eastwood. As their elected voice, I sincerely regret that due to other commitments I cannot personally appear before you to most forcefully express my objection to this application for a Sign Waiver.
Continue reading Letter from Councilor Lance Denno
I’ve been to a few planning commission meetings in the past at which developers arrived with a bunch of high-tech gear that made it easy to see pictures of what they were proposing to the commission. Well, as anyone reading this blog knows, I can put together an image or two as well. I think it’s helped people get a better grasp of just what it is we’re talking about.
Continue reading “A picture is worth 1000 words”