[FoE-D] [FoE-M] [NLC] Important City meetings (and the mixed-use option)
jhofer at ipns.com
Tue May 4 13:40:33 PDT 2010
I agree that the framing is too narrow. I would like to see an option called:
"Growing to the Demographics"
As I understand it, studies taken to date ignore demographics. Yet the
fact is that by 2030 the entire Baby Boom generation will be over age 65.
How much current housing is suitable for retired folks?
How much more will have to be built? Where will retired folks most likely
live, not just the recently retired but also the elderly?
How much family housing will be freed up as retired folks move to other
types of housing?
How much new family housing will really be needed?
Expanding the UGB without taking demographics and changing patterns of
housing demand into consideration will almost certainly misrepresent the
market for the next 20 years and hence the appropriate UGB.
What is needed is a land use plan that reflects the changing face of
Eugene, not a simplistic expansion of the UGB.
> I appreciate this conversation because we have specifically tried not to
> set this discussion up to be as narrow as you describe. There are no
> preconceptions here. We still have council growth management goals to
> stay inside the UGB as long as possible and to prevent sprawl while
> protecting farm and forest land.
> We also have spent the last couple years working on infill compatability
> and opportunity siting and I hope we have learned a lot from that. Our
> inner core neighborhoods are valuable and we need to be careful with them.
> This should be a conversation about what we would like, not what we are
> afraid of ( although getting those on the table is helpful). As Kevin
> knows, if we can land on what we want to see, then we can figure out the
> best way to accomplish it.
> The point of Envision Eugene is to seize this as a much needed opportunity
> to plan for our future together. Please do participate.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kevin Matthews [mailto:matthews at artifice.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 10:07 AM
> To: Eugene Neighborhood Leaders Council (SMTP); Paul Conte
> Cc: SEN Members; FoE Members; *Eugene Mayor and City Council; GARDNER Lisa
> A; RUIZ Jon R; WEISS Carolyn J
> Subject: Re: [NLC] Important City meetings (and the mixed-use option)
> Dear Friends and Neighbors,
> Paul makes a very timely plea for participation in the Envision Eugene
> process. I couldn't agree more - this is important stuff!
> However, I think the framing of our choices in his note (below), while
> traditional and well-established, is simply too narrow. And, if
> unchallenged, this narrow view will set us up for a classic
> divide-and-fail scenario within Eugene's progressive community. That's
> good for no one.
> Paul says, in his message below, that our choice for growth boils down to
> these two options:
> - Increase residential density
> - Expand the UGB
> If those were the only options, then from a neighborhood and environmental
> perspective, it boils down to choosing between bad and worse.
> Fortunately, there is a third choice, just a little outside the box, which
> is actually a GOOD option:
> - Intensive mixed-use redevelopment in existing commercially-zoned areas
> How would this third option work? Why is it so fundamentally different?
> In the big picture, the two classic UGB options both tend to make Eugene
> worse as it grows, either by degrading our neighborhoods, or by gobbling
> up the surrounding countryside - or potentially both. Paul's strong
> concerns about the destabilizing impact of the traditional
> infill-infill-infill approach are very well founded.
> The mixed-use option, in contrast, can actually help Eugene get better as
> we grow up.
> Heresy? No, really, it's just good integrated planning, taking into
> account all our contemporary issues. Intensive mixed-use redevelopment is
> a way for us to grow "up-not-out", while still preserving our established
> The mixed-use option also helps preserve housing choices, by protecting
> the irreplaceable value of our beautiful and beloved established
> traditional neighborhoods - and by protecting our remaining natural areas,
> both inside and outside the UGB - while providing the increasing amount of
> high-quality multi-family housing, of various types, that our changing
> community demographics actually call for.
> Our existing commercially-zoned areas in Eugene are largely occupied by
> utilitarian single-story buildings surrounded by extensive surface parking
> - representing very low densities of use. As such, these core commercial
> areas represent the single largest land bank available, in the right
> places, to accommodate projected growth.
> Replacing a cheap building in a big parking lot, creating a new mixed-use
> building with ground floor commercial (offices, services, retail) and
> quality condominiums or apartments upstairs, tends to improve the
> livability of the surrounding area, in terms of walkability, support for
> neighborhood services, and even the visual image of the streetscape - at
> the same time as it dramatically increases density of use.
> It's really not rocket science. The idea is that Eugene could grow its
> core areas into a more European, naturally denser, more lively and
> economically robust community. Needing less driving, easier to get around
> with walking, transit, and bicycling, more efficient in our use of
> tax-payer provided infrastructure and services.
> Friends of Eugene released a white paper last year that goes into more
> detail on how the mixed-use option can work:
> Lots of details need to be done right, as in any growth scenario, for
> mixed-use redevelopment to work, and to work well. Protection of adjacent
> neighborhoods is fundamental and essential, as is beefed-up historic
> preservation, planning and development of additional parks to support
> additional density, and so on. The housing construction industry needs
> real help to adapt to these new community needs.
> But the basic thrust of the mixed-use growth option is positive, while the
> basic thrust of each of the two standard options is negative.
> The divergence between the options is especially clear in terms of
> combating climate change - in terms of integrated planning to reduce our
> community carbon footprint.
> Increasing residential density across the city simply packs in more people
> and houses, gradually adding traffic and congestion, without helping the
> basic outmoded structure of how we get from here to there, spread out and
> heavily dependent on private vehicles. This option would tend to
> gradually increase the transportation climate footprint of our community.
> Expanding the UGB is even worse, in terms of climate change. By adding our
> growth at the farthest distances from the urban core, this option would
> tend to sharply increase the transportation climate footprint of our
> community (see white paper for details).
> In terms of climate change, in other words, the traditional approach gives
> us two bad options.
> However, mixed-use redevelopment will help to gradually reduce the
> transportation climate footprint of our community, because our existing
> commercially-zoned areas are concentrated in the inner half of the UGB
> area, and even outside the core, generally along potential transit
> corridors. Concentrating our residential growth into these areas will
> tend to reduce car-dependency, enhancing walking, bicycling, and transit
> use (see white paper for more detail).
> The mixed-use option provides exactly the kind of positive climate
> solution we need!
> To Paul's credit, it appears that the City planning staff have been
> focusing in Envision Eugene to date on the traditional two option,
> bad-or-worse approach. The survey recently done by City staff on "land
> use efficiency measures," for instance, seemed to be stuck solidly inside
> that box. I'm not trying to beat up City staff, who are facing a tall
> challenge. I'm just trying to illustrate how the Eugene community needs
> to participate, and needs to help widen the conversation, to reach a wide
> enough scope that a win-win solution is actually possible.
> As a leader in our community around progressive planning, and in wider
> circles, around architecture and climate change, I see truly great
> potential (despite the harsh challenge of an absurdly short timeline) for
> the Envision Eugene process to help us get to a better place together.
> City staff and City Council alike need intelligent, active, critical, and
> supportive participation from each of us, to be able to get this worked
> out right.
> The future of Eugene is at stake.
> with all best wishes,
> Kevin Matthews
> Southeast Neighbors
> Friends of Eugene
> ----- Begin forwarded message -----
> From: Paul Conte <pconte at picante-soft.com>
> Date: Mon, 03 May 2010 22:36:37 -0700
> To: NLC <nlc at eugeneneighbors.org>
> Subject: [NLC] Important City meetings affecting our neighborhoods
> Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 4) the City will hold two-hour kickoff meetings for
> the "Envision Eugene" process. It's very important for neighborhood
> leaders and members to attend a kickoff meeting and express strong support
> for protecting and enhancing the stability and livability of all Eugene
> Location: Eugene Hilton, 66 E. 6th Ave.
> Time: There are two sessions (you can attend one or both): 4-6 p.m. and
> 7-9 p.m.
> More City info is available at: www.EnvisionEugene.org
> In a nutshell, the Envision Eugene process will lead to City Council
> taking one or both of the following actions to accommodate future
> anticipated residential, commercial and industrial growth:
> Adopting new development policies and zoning code that increase
> residential density inside the current Urban Growth Boundary (UGB),
> Adding additional land to the area encompassed by Eugene's UGB.
> The public process is happening on an extremely compressed time frame
> (several months) and with very limited City resources. It's critical that
> neighborhood advocates actively participate in the process to be sure our
> neighborhoods are well-served by the outcome.
> While this City process aspires to lofty goals, my experience as a member
> of the ECLA Community Advisory Committee leads me to believe that the time
> and resources allotted to Envision Eugene are frankly inadequate for the
> City to thoroughly inform residents and carefully craft recommendations
> for City Council on the broad range of issues involved.
> Consequently, unless all of us who are committed to the long term
> well-being and vitality of our neighborhoods speak up forcefully, there's
> a significant risk that the outcome could produce more of the disastrous
> zoning code changes that allowed the extensive incompatible and
> destabilizing infill that has occurred in the many neighborhoods over the
> past twenty years.
> Many of the issues are complex, and "solutions" are sometimes reduced to
> meaningless slogans, such as "grow up, not out." Despite these obstacles,
> I hope you will, in your own individual way, deliver this simple message
> to City staff and officials:
> A livable, sustainable city is built on great neighborhoods; and
> therefore, a core growth management policy must be that City Council takes
> no action to increase density that will harm or degrade established
> In my experience, most neighborhoods are willing and capable of welcoming
> many new residents to the JWN by encouraging compatible development in
> appropriate locations.
> However, we must not stand idly by and watch a repeat of recent history
> where neighborhoods have been sacrificed in thoughtless pursuit of
> numerical density goals.
> I'll see you at tomorrow's meetings!
> Paul Conte, Chair
> Jefferson Westside Neighbors
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