Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Muinzer Project Prelude

New Chauncey needs to make new friends.

A dozen years ago the city, under Sonya Margerum, had a plan for New Chauncey.

Downzone. Then downzone again. With NUZO (New Unified Zoning Ordinance 1997), the number of R-1/R-1U properties was expanded with the addition of Lutz St. Then create a new zone. In 2002, t
he 600-home New Chauncey Neighborhood become a National Register (Department of the Interior) Historic District .

Use CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds to create
(1998/99) New Chauncey Housing Inc. Federal dollars would be used to support home rehabilitation for low and moderate income persons.

Encourage higher-end redevelopment.
Beginning in 2001 Deann Baker created and managed the private New Chauncey Foundation ($500,000) to mitigate the loss of single family homes in West Lafayette.

Increase enforcement of housing codes. The city won two landmark prosecutions of its over-occupancy ordinance; in 1998 (Benjamin) and in 2008 (Weida).

Deny rental certificates to scoff-law landlords. The "Good Neighbor Ordinance" was proposed during the last days of the Mills administration (2007).

Times have changed.

Down zoning did not work. Realtors "red lined" us. "Kiddie Condos" surprised us. Landlords became rental corporations. Historic preservation has received luke-warm support from this Republican administration.

New Chauncey Housing will see its Federal funding dwindle. The city's management of its CDBG funds has become the subject of council debate. NCHI's political adventures have proven inopportune.

"Mailcode" (the Baker business) is gone and so The New Chauncey Foundation is gone. It has become another rental corporation.

While the city housing ordinance has been strengthened by council action, enforcement has lagged. The focus of the well received Neighborhood Resource Team is on the cosmetic.

We look with envy across the river where Mayor Roswarski has demonstrated strong leadership in support of the Centennial Neighborhood. Here Ann Hunt, Carl Griffin and I have labored to negotiate with the Purdue Research Foundation and private developers on behalf of the neighborhood. The Land Use Plan currently underway is also the result of work we began in 2009.

In a better world we would not need to trade six story buildings for redevelopment entities or cash. But we need new partners. New stakeholders.

New Chauncey needs new friends.

No comments: