• 25Jan

    Here is a link to the revised DMC Design Guidelines. I expect that this version will go the advisory bodies and the council for approval. So make sure that you review this and send me any comments that you have. This is one of those major planning changes that is drawing to a conclusion.

  • 25Nov

    There has been an effort to sweep this report under the rug. I have no intention of letting that happen.

    If you have never heard of the Planning Administrative Services Committee (PASC), here is a crash course on who they are, what they do, and why they are the biggest contributor to the current disfunction in the Planning Department. Read more…

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  • 17Nov

    Bloom Capital Rendering photo Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 11.51.57 AM_zpsg9phsimg.png

    Here is an updated presentation on the Bloom Capital Project. I hope that we have an inclusionary zoning ordinance in place to ensure that all projects at this scale have an affordable component.

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  • 24Oct

    I did, Jesse Welsh did not. She certainly does not deserve the slander & threats that Javon is levying against her.

    Want to know why dark money and hidden contributions are pouring into at least 2 local races? Read on…

    I will share some information, while withholding discussion on how the project may or may not meet required criteria (the quasi-judicial part of this).

    In preparing for the discussion of the now continued project; I reached out to Fresh Thyme. Based on their corporate philosophy and previous developments, I was skeptical of some of the claims that Javon Bea had made. As it turns out Javon and his team made false statements to the neighborhood, community leaders, and Fresh Thyme. I have a world of respect for people like Nate Stencil who are interested in finding consensus with neighbors. While there were a number of false statements made; the most significant was placing the blame for the offset pedestrian intersection and poor design of 16th on Fresh Thyme. Not true, as with any competent firm putting active faces on multiple sides of buildings is not difficult.

    But it wasn’t just city leaders and neighbors that were being told false statements, Javon also failed to communicate neighborhoods concerns to Fresh Thyme. Fresh Thyme was of the impression that Javon had worked with the neighborhood and there were no concerns. I filled in the concerns that Javon left out. I also sent Javon’s correspondences with the neighborhood. I will also say Javon never mentioned that Fresh Thyme was the grocer, but smart people figured that out.

    I can say after speaking with Fresh Thyme I have a great deal of respect for their organization. They are small but growing and have some great people on their team. I suspect the neighborhood would welcome them with open arms into our community. They would be a great addition to Kutzky Park.

    I can also say everyone wanted to work together on the project to make it a success with just a few exceptions. Basically Javon, a city administrator, and some council members (he only talked with 5, deliberately excluding myself and Nick Campion from some discussion) that he thought he could force the project through without addressing reasonable concerns, despite the large concessions he was asking for. The irony is not lost that people who want to pretend to be consensus builders; made no attempt to work towards consensus.

    I am not sure why the hearing was continued only that it was done after one of Javon’s consultants spoke with a couple council members before the meeting.

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  • 22Sep

    Since the vote I have been contacted by 15 people in the Folwell neighborhood 7 in agreement with the decision, and 8 against. Only a couple people making personal attacks, but still disappointing. That kind of division lets me know this needs some more discussion. I would be lying if I said that every concern has been addressed, they haven’t. However infill projects seldom are perfect solutions. Community and neighborhood benefits and impacts certainly fall short of perfection, however I see them as being greater than both the status quo and other development in the area. In addition the project has the support of 3 neighborhood association presidents, Imagine Kutzky, CUDE, County Planning, City Engineering, and several (but admittedly a minority of) neighbors living in the neighborhood.

     photo Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 2.39.40 PM_zpsrmkvwgaf.png

    Final Decision:

    Approvals are (or should) always be based on whether evidence indicates the development meets the criteria for approval. Not everything was black & white but clearly the evidence in this case convinced the city council, staff, and long time neighborhood leaders that this project met all requirements. Read more…

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  • 25Jun

    Edit: Per the request of some citizens the Traffic Report Can be found here.

    On Monday I will participate on a panel that will discuss the proposed Alatus Development in the Folwell Neighborhood. There is a great deal of fear about this project, which is to be expected with any project this large. I will be a little limited as to what I can say as I am in a quasi-judicial capacity with the project likely coming to the council.

    As a restricted development, any approval must meet the requirements in 62.708 of our land development manual. I will bold the sections that are likely of particular interest to neighbors as I have received questions. The first time that this comes to us will be as a Preliminary Development Plan as such take a look at Subdivision 2. Subdivision 3 is applicable to a Final Development Plan.

    On all of these criteria, staff will prepare a report making recommendations, the Planning & Zoning Commission will then review it, and finally the council will make a decision. This is the case for both the Preliminary & Final Plans.

    62.708 Criteria for Type III Developments: Subdivision 1. The Commission and Council shall approve a type III incentive development plan if it determines the plan satisfies all of the Preliminary Development Plan findings provided in subdivision 2 and all of the Final Development Plan findings provided in subdivision 3.
    Subd 2. The findings for the approval of a Preliminary Type III Development Plan are as follows:

    A. Capacity of Public Facilities: The existing or future planned utilities in the area are adequate to serve the proposed development.

    B. Geologic Hazards: The existence of areas of natural or geologic hazard, such as unstable slopes, sinkholes, floodplain, etc., have been identified and the development of these areas has been taken into account or will be addressed in the Phase II plans.

    C. Natural Features: For developments involving new construction, the arrangement of buildings, paved areas and open space has, to the extent practical, utilized the existing topography and existing desirable vegetation of the site.

    D. Residential Traffic Impact: When located in a residential area, the proposed development:

    (1) Will not cause traffic volumes to exceed planned capacities on local residential streets;

    (2) Will not generate frequent truck traffic on local residential streets; and

    (3) Will not create additional traffic during evening and nighttime hours on local residential streets.

    E. Traffic Generation Impact: : Anticipated traffic generated by the development will not cause the capacity of adjacent streets to be exceeded, and conceptual improvements to reduce the impact of access points on the traffic flow of adjacent streets have been identified where needed..

    F. Height Impacts: For developments involving new construction, the heights and placement of proposed structures are compatible with the surrounding development. Factors to consider include:

    (1) Will the structure block sunlight from reaching adjacent properties during a majority of the day for over four months out of the year; and;

    (2) Will siting of the structure substantially block vistas from the primary exposures of adjacent residential dwellings created due to differences in elevation.

    G. Setbacks: For developments involving new construction, proposed setbacks are related to building height and bulk in a manner consistent with that required for permitted uses in the underlying zoning district.

    H. Internal Site Design: For developments involving new construction, the preliminary site layout indicates adequate building separation and desirable orientation of the buildings to open spaces, street frontages or other focal points.

    I. Screening and Buffering: The conceptual screening and bufferyards proposed are adequate to protect the privacy of residents in the development or surrounding residential areas from the impact of interior traffic circulation and parking areas, utility areas such as refuse storage, noise or glare exceeding permissible standards, potential safety hazards, unwanted pedestrian/bicycle access, or to subdue differences in architecture and bulk between adjacent land uses.

    J. Ordinance Requirements: The proposed development includes adequate amounts of off-street parking and loading areas and, in the case of new construction, there is adequate landscaped area to meet ordinance requirements.

    K. General Compatibility: The relationship of the actual appearance, general density and overall site design of the proposed development should be compared to the established pattern of zoning, the character of the surrounding neighborhood and the existing land forms of the area to determine the general compatibility of the development with its surroundings.

    L. Non-Vehicular and Alternate Modes of Travel: The proposed development incorporates pedestrian oriented-space, provides direct and convenient pedestrian access to the building entrance(s) from public trails, public sidewalks, and on or off-site parking areas, incorporates appropriated pedestrian safety features, provides convenient pedestrian access for transit patrons, or, if appropriate, access for transit vehicles, and provides adequate bicycle access. Consideration shall also be given, to providing designated motorized scooter parking if appropriate to the context of the development (the use, location, type of individuals served).

    Subd. 3. The findings for the approval of a Final Type III Development Plan are as follows:
    A. Public Facility Design: The design of private and public utility facilities meet the requirements and specifications which the applicable utility has adopted.

    B. Geologic Hazard: Engineering means to deal with areas of geologic hazard have been incorporated into the development plan or such areas have been set aside from development.
    Page 258 September 1, 2011

    C. Access Effect: Ingress and egress points have been designed and located so as to:

    (1) Provide adequate separation from existing street intersections and adjacent private driveways so that traffic circulation problems in public right-of-ways are minimized; and

    (2) Not adversely impact adjacent residential properties with factors such as noise from accelerating or idling vehicles or the glare of headlights from vehicles entering or leaving the site.

    In addition, where the preliminary development plan identified potential problems in the operation of access points, plans for private improvements or evidence of planned public improvements which will alleviate the problems have been provided.

    D. Pedestrian Circulation: The plan includes elements to assure that pedestrians can move safely both within the site and across the site between properties and activities within the neighborhood area, and, where appropriate, accommodations for transit access are provided.

    E. Foundation and Site Plantings: A landscape plan for the site has been prepared which indicates the finished site will be consistent with the landscape character of the surrounding area.

    F. Site Status: Adequate measures have been taken to insure the future maintenance and ownership pattern of the project, including common areas, the completion of any platting activities, and the provision of adequate assurance to guarantee the installation of required public improvements, screening and landscaping.

    G. Screening and Bufferyards: The final screening and bufferyard design contains earth forms, structures and plant materials which are adequate to satisfy the needs identified in preliminary development plan for the project.

    H. Final Building Design: The final building design is consistent with the principles identified in preliminary development plan relative to Height Impact, Setbacks, and Internal Site Design.

    I. Internal Circulation Areas: Plans for off-street parking and loading areas and circulation aisles to serve these areas meet ordinance requirements in terms of design.

    J. Ordinance Requirements: The proposed development is consistent with the requirements of the underlying zoning district for similar uses in regards to signage and other appearance controls, and with general standards such as traffic visibility and emergency access.

    K. Non-Vehicular and Alternate Travel Modes: The proposed development incorporates pedestrian oriented-space, provides direct and convenient pedestrian access to the building entrance(s) from public trails, public sidewalks, and on or off-site parking areas, incorporates appropriated pedestrian safety features, provides convenient pedestrian access for transit patrons, or, if appropriate, access for transit vehicles, and provides adequate bicycle access. Consideration shall also be given, to providing designated motorized scooter parking if appropriate to the context of the development (the use, location, type of individuals served).

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  • 06Feb

    I can’t begin to express how outstanding of an event Imagine Kutzky and neighbors put on at Forager Brewing around the topic of the St. Mary’s area.  I remain proud of my neighborhoods.

    Here is a link to the equally outstanding report.

    More than 100 people showed up, I would guess closer to 200 if you count the folks that came and decided it was too busy to stay. The comments were outstanding. Some of them conflict with each other, but in general people want a great neighborhood that prioritizes transit, pedestrians, and bikes. They want vibrant businesses and great public spaces. With the exception of 1 person (who I know) who wanted a 6 lane highway… I would personally lay down in front of the heavy equipment if that was happening.

    Also impressive was the community leaders that showed up. A majority of the city council showed up to listen. Attendees included myself, Mark Bilderback, Mark Hickey, and Nick Campion. In addition most of the DMC team also showed up to listen. I commend them on listening to what the neighborhood had to say. Leaders from the Kutzky Park, Folwell, and Historic Southwest Neighborhoods were also in attendance.

    City Administration, County Planning, and City Public works were not in attendance. A note I sent to meet with public works before the event was note returned.

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  • 10Sep

    Uptown photo IMG_9278_zps2j96ce0p.jpeg

    The changing nature of the Uptown area has created tremendous interest in the area. In addition to the project we approved last night, there is another large project in the works. The Grandville apartments that were valued at $25 million just sold for $56 million. Commercial valuations on that stretch are up more than 30% since the project started.  While we have seen this happening downtown its great to see the prosperity spread to a formerly blighted area.

    My hope is that we will continue to make these investments in key areas. I would love to transform North and South Broadway in much the same way.

    The total investment in public art in this area was just under 500k.

    Most importantly this area used to be unsafe for cars, transit, bikes and pedestrians. In not accommodates users of all modes, ages, and ability levels. Seniors at Shorewood can now walk to a restaurant. Daycares can now take kids to the park.

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  • 30Jul

    This is how you become THE Destination Medical Center. Just a brief reminder of how special Rochester is:

    My name is Jennifer [removed].  I just returned to Evansville Indiana from a trip to the Mayo Clinic where my daughter was seen and treated.  Before we left to come up there, all I heard from anyone was,  “You’re  going to have the best doctors in the world working on your daughter.”  I’ll be honest with you, I can’t recall ever hearing anything else about Rochester.  The Mayo Clinic was all I had ever heard about and that the doctors are the best in the world.  Nothing, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience.  From the minute we got out of our Jeep, we were greeted with nothing but kindness.  We stayed at the Kahler Inn and Suites for a week so on her good days, we were able to get out of the hotel and into the community a little.  We walked around the Mayo area and visited a music store, the University Shops, a small grocery, Carol’s Corn and other stores as well.  We also took the shuttle to the Apache Mall.  The 2nd good day she had was on Sunday and we drove out into the city.  We stopped to eat lunch at a Denny’s, shopped at a Koh’s and found a bowling alley that we were able to spend time relaxing and bowling a few games.  My point here is, we did NOT just spend our time at the hotel or the clinic.  We wanted to experience a little of the community even if the goal in the beginning was just to get my daughter’s mind off the fact that she was not feeling well and was there to be treated.

    God knows there is plenty of “bad” in the world that is constantly in our faces every day when we wake up and I believe that when someone does a good job, they should be thanked for it.  So, here it goes…THANK YOU, ROCHESTER!!!  Not just the doctors or the hotel employees or the pizza delivery but EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  I told a gentleman (employee) at one of the shops we visited, “This trip felt as if God had taken ALL of the nice people in the world and placed them in Rochester Minnesota.”  He told me, “Rochester makes a conscious effort to make everyone’s day. One minute you could be talking to a local, then someone who had broke a pinky, and then the next person might be someone who is dying from cancer.”  I had local people stop and ask if I needed help.  Maybe it was because I had a lost look on my face but the point is, they stopped.  Every single person we came in contact with was in my eyes “top notch.”  Rochester has set the bar extremely high when it comes to how their community treats people.  Be proud Rochester, you are the example this world needs when it comes to how people should treat each other.  I have nothing but good, no GREAT things to say about our visit to Rochester and the people of the community.  All of you made me feel as if my daughter and myself were important and that will be carried in my heart for the rest of my life.  I thank my God that I had the chance to experience this.  You reminded me of the type of individual that I want to be…the type of individual that everyone should strive to be.  The Mayo Clinic is a very important part of the world but in my eyes and my heart, I believe the community of Rochester is just as important.  Your efforts do not go unnoticed.  Be proud Rochester!  Hold your heads high!  You are the prime example of how every community should be.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You all made what could have been a very stressful visit, enjoyable.

    May God bless each and every one of you.

    Jennifer [removed]
    Evansville Indiana


  • 15Jul

    Hey Rochester Amateur / Pro Photographers! NLC is launching an Instagram account and I need you help with some pictures of Rochester. Please follow the link below to submit your work, or send me some to submit.

    Good news! We are launching our first NLC Instagram account, and we hope to fill it with photos highlighting the unique, beautiful, and diverse range of communities that create the National League of Cities. We’re launching this project with our special hashtag #MyCityMyHome, and we’ll be featuring all kinds of hometowns from across America. We want to know what makes you proud of the place where you live.

    We invite you to be a part of our new account by filling out this simple form by September 15th, showing and telling us what you love about your home. Your photos will be featured on both our Instagram account and our Facebook page. We can’t wait to show the America your city!


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