VOTE NO to REZONING CRESCENT AVE to 4-STORY / 32,000 SQFT
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A rezoning petition (#2017-050) was filed in February 2017 by Circa Investments, LLC to redevelop 3 historic bungalows into a 4-story 32,000 square foot mixed use building with office/retail/residential. The parcels total 0.77 acres and span from Crescent Avenue to Laurel Avenue (behind the Ben & Jerry's building). The request is to rezone from B-1 and O-2 to NS (Neighborhood Services).
The City's Planning Department decided they will not support this project in their Staff Analysis that was released (link: http://ww.charmeck.org/Planning/Rezoning/2017/045-060/2017-050%20staff%20analysis.pdf ). Here are excerpts from the Staff Analysis:
Existing Use: 160 trips per day (based on 8,644 square feet of office/warehouse uses).
Entitlement: 1,110 trips per day (based on 8,750 square feet of retail/ office uses).
Proposed Zoning: 2,290 trips per day (based on 16,880 square feet of retail uses and six
"... the scale of the proposed structure is inconsistent with the area plan recommendation calling for low scale buildings compatible with existing buildings. Specifically, the proposed 50-foot building height is incompatible, as most of the nearby structures are 40 feet or less in height."
"CDOT has safety and operational concerns with the proximity of the current driveway location to Providence Road."
According to multiple City documents that dictate the guidelines for development in Crescent Heights (Elizabeth Area Plan, and Centers, Corridors and Wedges Growth Framework), this proposal does not meet key criteria. For example, page 8 of the Elizabeth Area Plan (link: http://ww.charmeck.org/Planning/Land%20Use%20Planning/ElizabethAreaPlan/AdoptedPlan/ElizabethAreaPlanAdopted.pdf ) says that Wedge Areas (which Crescent Heights is defined to be) should "continue the current land use pattern of predominantly low density residential uses, with limited moderate density multifamily" and should "ensure that non-residential uses along the edges do not encroach further into the residential area." Additionally, the Elizabeth Area Plan addresses the future use for the specific parcel in question on the Laurel side (a bungalow) and recommends the scale/size of the building to be maintained (p. 35, L-31):
"These three locations are small-scale office uses, often in former residential buildings. The existing building scale and size of these office uses should be maintained, and these non-residential uses should not encroach further into the existing residential areas adjacent to these parcels."
Another document, the Charlotte Centers, Corridors and Wedges Growth Framework (link: http://ww.charmeck.org/Planning/Land%20Use%20Planning/CentersCorridorsWedges/CentersCorridorsWedges(Adopted).pdf ) states that the expectation for Wedges such as Crescent Heights in the future is for:
"existing neighborhoods to be preserved and enhanced; ...
neighborhood-scale commercial and civic uses located to serve the immediate area; ...
greater emphasis on safe, convenient and comfortable pedestrian and bicycle facilities;"
We do not believe a large 4-story building is "neighborhood scale" in the context of Crescent Heights, and it does not accomplish any of the above three above goals.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Crescent Ave., it is largely a residential street with many homes dating back to the early 1900s. Crescent Heights was one of the first neighborhoods developed in the area, predating our neighbors Eastover and Myers Park. We are a small neighborhood fighting to keep the historic character and charm of our street and to prevent a massive and out of place mixed use development from ruining it!
The neighborhood has voiced our disapproval of the size of this building height. The petitioner has been unwilling to meaningfully adjust the height/size of the building and over the past few months has only made minor design changes to the building. Additionally, the parking lot exits onto Laurel Ave. across the street from Laurel Market, which will create unsafe traffic conditions and further backups/congestion in the area.
The Planning Department's decision does not mean this will be voted down by City Council, as it is only one factor they look at. This is why we are asking you to please sign this petition in support of City Council voting NO to this rezoning, in line with the findings of the City's own Planning Department.
Link to Rezoning Plan: http://ww.charmeck.org/Planning/Rezoning/2017/045-060/2017-050%20site%20plan%202nd%20rev.pdf
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