Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One "no" for the Muinzer Plan

While I admit that Mark Muinzer has made life interesting here in Tippecanoe County over the past few months, I am opposed to the Muinzer project.

I support the APC professional staff's recommendation of denial.

I believe the comparisons made with Big Ten schools by staff in their 12/14/11 Memorandum are accurate and appropriate.

I believe staff's criticisms of Muinzer's data in their 12/15/11 Memorandum are valid.

I have no doubt the block will be developed by Mark, if not today and in this form, then tomorrow with an altered, better plan.

I have no doubt that if Marc quits the property, he will leave having made a profit.

I have no doubt the block will then be developed by someone else, if not tomorrow, then the day after tomorrow.

They too will profit. As will the city in any case.

I hope the block will be developed, but:

AFTER the pending land use plan for the neighborhood is completed. Only after the pending land use plan for the neighborhood is completed. Carl Griffin and I began work on the New Chauncey land use plan in 2009. (Jay McCann and I still work at representing you in a planning group weighted toward commercial interests.)

AFTER the Chauncey-Stadium Historic Preservation District and the Chauncey Square parking experiment, which are also still pending, are in place or completed.

AFTER the city FINALLY joins PRF in beginning a study of the scope and efficacy of the redevelopment entity described in the settlement with PRF made in exchange for the Wang Hall rezone.

Unlike Wang, no voter has offered any support for this project. None. Not one. Criticism begins with the parking issue; the gateway to all other neighborhood concerns. They find the title "Landmark" humorous; suggesting it be called instead "Just Another One of Those". This project is hardly unique in West Lafayette.

Their opposition turns to anger when they learn of the 818 Northwestern apartment project now in the planning stages on land recently sold by PRF. Anger at the developer, at what they see as the naivete their city council members for past compromises, anger at the city for its failure to confront redevelopment directly, anger at what they see as a betrayal by PRF.

I like the name "Landmark". Hopefully it will be a "Landmark" in our discussion of development along the Fowler/Northwestern corridor. Hopefully it will move the New Chauncey land use discussion forward.

But to approve this plan now would also represent a "landmark" failure in urban planning. A "landmark" failure by all of us in public service who seem to have lacked either the will or the skill to address near campus urban development co-operatively, while the residents who are Purdue’s neighbors wonder if there is anyone who still represents the interests of voters and home owners.

Finally, a personal note. I have been disappointed by the “cyber attacks” of “Landmark’s” backers on the character and integrity of the APC professional staff. Even those of us who have opposed past decisions made by the APC staff, have never once doubted their professionalism or their interest in our common good.

A copy of the APC report on the Landmark project appears above at right.

1 comment:

Jason Dufair said...

Peter - let's say the three "AFTER"s happen this afternoon. Then what is your opinion of the Landmark? In terms of the merits of the development itself? I like the idea of it taking pressure off the slum rentals in the neighborhood. Could we not redevelop some of those properties back to single-family?