To help voters understand my position on overdevelopment issues, I am including my comments to the City Council on July 19, 2016 regarding the plan to rezone 3.3 acres at Bastanchury and Morelia using the new Planned Residential Development – Infill (PRD-I) zoning tool that had been approved by City Council on May 3, 2016 (moved by Mayor Fitzgerald and seconded by Council Member Flory).

This process has been painful and clearly unsatisfactory for the neighborhood that will be most greatly impacted by this project:
  • from the insult of the original proposal for 40-some units on 3.3 acres abutting their R1:20 neighborhood,
  • to the measly reduction in density when instructed to do so previously by Planning Commission,
  • to the surprise project study session in which not even the key neighborhood activists were notified,
  • to the expectation that an out-of-town developer can tell Fullerton what their land use policy should be.
The City’s General Plan (AKA the Fullerton Plan) laid the groundwork for potential revitalization of this property as well as many other properties in focus areas throughout the city. But it did not guarantee the right for a developer to expect a rezone from commercial/office to residential at this site.
The PRD-I was approved at Planning Commission (PC) and by Council with no discussion. It was assumed to be innocuous. But we learned otherwise at the last PC meeting at which this project was approved.
At that meeting we learned that the PRD-I, which evolved from the failed DCCSP, was the zoning tool that streamlined the process and cleared the way for this developer to apply for approval of this project.
But the PRD-I doesn’t give the developer the right to a rezone any more than the General Plan does according to the city planning staff. Therefore, your decision tonight is fully at your discretion.

With your (City Council’s) hands untied by any preconceived expectations, what should guide your decision tonight?

  1. Is it your responsibility to maximize profits for an out of town developer or
  2. is it your responsibility to listen to the residents who find not only this process, but this plan to be unsatisfactory?
I recommend listening to your constituents and denying this project.
Send the developer back to the drawing board, the same as you did two years ago when developers brought the Laurel / Lark Ellen project before you asking for a rezone for a project that was too dense and inconsistent with their neighborhood.

Following the public hearing the City Council postponed their decision until the September 20, 2016 City Council Meeting.