Monday, October 06, 2008

Blog # 28 Notes from Special Council Meeting on the Mixed Use Overlay Ordinance


Round Table 1
Facilitator: Mayor Mary Ann Maggiore

Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· Implement affordable housing
· Create housing and commercial corridor that will improve aesthetic with more reclined cooridors
· Encourage innovative building around transportation hubs and encourage more pedestrian and less automobile interaction in the town
· Density of 20 dwelling units per acre – Albertson’s – “no less than 25”
· 50% commercial in any structure built
· At least 20% of all building must be affordable
· 1 person household = $24-$79K
· 4 person household = $33-$114K
· Green building, bike friendly, preserve Town character
· If we don’t build are we still eligible for grants and tax benefits?
· How will we have pedestrian pathways and not disrupt traffic and not disturb flow? (safe guard character of town and use of paths without encouraging?)
· How will pedestrians be safe with so much new movement/construction/traffic? Traffic is already is brutal. It is both unsafe and unpractical – more people means more traffic, more construction can mean more limitations on pedestrians, bike and car movement
· What is a unit? 500 to 1200 sq. ft, 1.5 spaces for parking for anything above 1 bedroom.
· Is there enough water and sewage? (infrastructure impact)
(MMWDS@2 – we have less than 380 sq. ft. available)
· Comment – If we do nothing we leave ourselves open to trouble. Well design, small dwellings, edible landscaping, parks, stages, plenty of funk, links to Broadway and enhances, let us not do nothing, it’s dangerous
· Competition that is too stiff or maybe will prove unnecessary to new biz will fail
· Look at San Anselmo – new plan will mean new competition
· Mortgages – failures?
· Let us not turn downtown into San Rafael
· What about state mandate to build affordable housing?
· EIR – Town has said mitigation negative declaration, that impact will be minimal. How do we avoid 300 units? What about rental vs. ownership?
· What is the residential mix?
· About 14 per acre?
· Kellie – We are a canyon – likely not familiars out of hillsides.
· What about looking at MTCC? – solve some of the problem? Burke Jones, ballot measure?
· This must be written.
· We can now build 65 units in Town without mixed use overlay – why don’t we do it?
· There is potential of upwards 264 units – why not specify that we are not doing this?
· Make housing money even more affordable
· ABAG breakouts of “affordable” definition – needs to be reexamined
· Traffic mitigated by streets – one way
· Why not legalize second units – Mill Valley model
· Engage designers/architects to stipulate height and parameters
· Strong elements for green elements
· Parking is 1.5.
· What does .5 mean?
· Look at Gainesville, 2 stories and parking garage, non-starter Durke Jones
· This is the gateway to our Town, visual corridors, Ryan O’Neill
· Requirements for parking, landscaping and setbacks brings down Town acreage of how many dwellings can be built
· Town needs to do feasibility study to analyze
· But people taking public transport during the day usually have cars at night.
· Pedestrian and bus – protect spaces
· More commercial means less parking, less traffic at night
· What happens if we don’t do any affordable housing? Julie Aronson
· Do we need to change the zoning to build affordable housing with the ordinances we have?
· Who builds most affordable housing? Study this.
· Ordinance permits more possibility but the ratio should be 50 to 100% affordable – instead of 40% (Peter Jacques), unless we do a high % will not be worth it – grants available, to get funding we should use non-profit proportions
· The MXO is a requirement of general plan (state requirement?)
· The work shows state does not approve what doing with affordable under 50%
· What are the consequences of not doing the state requirements?
· What we are missing here is an understanding of private developer, 40% is too much without a third story and we need to cultivate a non-profit.
· Roger Smith – developers cannot afford within 35 feet to 40% affordable housing, ABAG increasing power will have more influence
· There have been no consequences but Corte Madera – sued because they had no affordable housing.
· We need a housing inventory, income abilities of who is here.
· Set up a task force first.
· Instead of working toward others’ requirements let us determine what we want.
· What about people with lower incomes being able to live here?
· Start with: redefine these discussions, involve green building ordinance
· Why change ordinance?
· Affordable definition doesn’t give value to property.
· Other properties for AFH – affordable housing

Round Table 2
Facilitator: Ann Welsh, Planning and Building Services Director

Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· Parking concerns – Will they park on street?
· Need low cost housing, i.e. Rite Aid employee
· Green building – reduce greenhouse gas
· Ballot initiative – to change zoning
· Grant eligibility – Prop 1C, can’t apply now
· Design – How to maintain character with density increase – Design Guidelines
· 2 stories – height limit- view corridors must be preserved
· Social gathering space needed
· Scenic vistas – retain view shed
· Grants – eligibility?
· Scenic units – grants to encourage
· Reduce fees for 2nd unit
· Mixed use – reduces greenhouse gas
· Finance – have you done the math?
· Are we being held to a higher standard?
· How many other Town’s have complied?
· Why allow more commercial if there are vacant commercial properties?

Round Table 3
MIXED USE OVERLAY: Traffic Mitigation
Facilitator: Council Member Lew Tremaine

Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· How many homes? State – 65 afford
· What can state do? (not much) (state wants more)
· Is Albertsons only place for housing? (no)
· More density from transit? (light rail)
· Open to 360?? – no
· Why need to change zoning? Leave as is.
· Ambiguous wording – open to additional
· Additional renters – voters will change
· Present zoning would spread housing
· More affordable housing – less traffic
· Possible trolley lines – less traffic
· Try to get affordable housing through commercial development
· Better housing along transit route (spread)
· Not enough parking in town (now)
· Change zoning – more density
· Density needed for transit (in Fairfax 75% shoppers solo driver)
· Impact of overnight parking
· “Low income” households own cars
· Number units: acreage – setback reduces density
· O.S. Committee – bad traffic in Town Center now conflict with O.S. Committee at Fair Anselm
· Lew sentiment to reject 3 stories
· Possibly build parking garage?
· Good public transportation does not exist.
· Keep parking out of negotiations
· Commercial will generate traffic
· Money coming to reduce greenhouse gas
· Find money to build affordable housing
· Get good data on traffic modeling
· Look at Alexandria, VA’s limitations
· Enforce current parking laws
· Do an EIR report
· Why commercial? Just do affordable housing
· Local shuttle every 15 minutes to San Rafael
· Get rid of free parking?
· Move Java Hut
· Aging population needs to drive
· Limitations on cars
· Friedman property is used now for event parking
· Pedestrian improvements across Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
· Low income families need cars
· Underground the Parkade?

Round Table 4
MIXED USE OVERLAY: Design and Local Character

Facilitator: Council Member Larry Bragman

Public Comments, Questions and Concerns:

· Cost of report
· Scope
· Traffic Impact
· Decision to adopt
· Quality of life
· Freedom to control
· Fairfax’s development (Jane Jacobs)
· Changes to character in Fairfax
· Low income housing
· Parking
· Local business loss
· Environmental impact
· Greenhouse gas
· Traffic
· Diversity/aging
· Housing prices, 2000: 250-300; 2008: ?
· Affordable low income (range of income)
· State density bonus – on top of ordinance?
· Albertson’s/Fair Anselm height – “Spot Zoning”?
· Empty stores
· Vision
· Parking
· Scale