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Neighborly Negotiations
Anthony Corso | Stratford Court

 

The City Council is moving forward to make a two-year trial program that gives residents more opportunity to provide input on new development in their neighborhoods, permanent.

Two years ago then-Design Review Board (DRB) Chair Lee Haydu proposed a change in the review process to get residents involved earlier, before proposals were submitted to the City. At the time she noted that without prior dialogue and discussion DRB meetings were often lengthy and acrimonious. She also noted that applicants who had interacted cooperatively with neighbors prior to DRB review got through the process with minimal objection, but there was no formal requirement to do so.

Her suggestion resulted in a two-year trial program, the “Citizen Participation Program (CPP),” that temporarily established a neighborhood outreach requirement for applicants of residential projects. Under the program applicants had to schedule and notify neighbors within 300 feet of a proposed development of an opportunity to meet with them, at a convenient location, to review and provide input on the design. Thirteen projects went through the process.
Current Design Review Board members are unanimously positive about program results (more than half of the projects were approved on consent or at the first public hearing) and recommend that it be continued. They suggested a few procedural modifications including a 14-day notice of the required neighborhood meeting, and that a written summary of the meeting go back to the attendees for review.

The Planning staff also supports continuation of the Program and a clarification of the following: which projects require the implementation of a CPP, evidence required to document that the neighborhood outreach occurred, a written report describing what was accomplished, names of attendees, points that were raised and revisions, if any, that were made.

 

 

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