RE: Rochester Planning & Policy Initiative: Funding the Urban New Normal (F.U.N.N.)
Over the past year, our staff has addressed the needs, inputs, and process for a review of local policies that impact land use and transportation patterns. As mentioned in staff presentations at separate meetings of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Rochester Olmsted Council of Governments in January, the demographic and fiscal changes affecting our community necessitate a new approach to development and redevelopment. Assessing our policies and their impact on the future of Rochester is an essential step in updating, or developing, local land use and transportation plans and policies. Expected growth provides great opportunity, but unless we plan – and plan to succeed –the City could fail to capture the best of the opportunities that lie ahead and could jeopardize the long term financial sustainability of the City. Read the rest of this entry »
A little plug for County Planner Phil Wheeler: He saw this coming years ago.
USA today on the changing makeup of communities: USA Today
This is part of the reason why many of the downtown or close in developments like Orchard Hills Villas, The Hamilton, Cascade Creek have been successful while places like Pebble Creek in distant sprawled out areas have been failures. It is also the reason Mac Hamilton’s new building and Metropolitan Market Place will be coming online (and there are more coming…)
From a policy standpoint I think it is crazy that we continue to heavily subsidize sprawl instead of make the users bear the full cost. I opposed the rate increases to the Sewer fund because that in and of itself was a $60 million development subsidy.
Young Millennials and older Baby Boomers are rejecting traditional suburban lifestyles in favor of urban living and shorter commutes. Many want to live near city centers so they can walk to work, shops and restaurants or take public transportation. They also prefer smaller homes because they’re single or have no kids and don’t want to spend their free me maintaining their homes.
“It’s the kids (ages 18 to 32), the empty nesters (Baby Boomers with no kids at home),” says Chris Leinberger, president of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS (Latin for “place”), a national coalition of real estate developers and investors who support urban developments that encourage walking over driving. “These two generations combined are more than half of the American population.”
The housing bust of the last five years hit hardest in subdivisions in remote suburbs, drying up financing for such development. At the same time, gas prices soared and so did environmental consciousness, giving consumers pause about living in distant suburbs away from services, jobs and entertainment.
We have definitely found that there is a sewer issue at Orchard Hills Villas with the existing sewer line. The issue is that previous work on Fox Chase Rd. sewer was not done correctly. The city council has been asked to have the taxpayers fix this. While I am very supportive of Orchard Hills Villas and think it is a great project, I am not willing to put additional taxpayer subsidies into the area. Here is the staff note from Doug Nelson: Read the rest of this entry »
More information continues to come forward about our development process. I believe that there are improvements to be made, but the Dorfman report remains an absolute joke. It was a good move by our permitting task force to immediate throw it out. Here was a note we received.
Dear Task Force Members-
I wanted to take this opportunity to offer my insight in working with city staff on development projects related to the University of Minnesota. Read the rest of this entry »