Ask for Guidance - Letter to Mayor and Council Members

Post date: Jul 28, 2010 4:30:59 PM

The Mordecai CAC sent the following letter to the Mayor and Council members regarding the proposed church development at the Blount Street Commons Development. As residents, we need to be involved and provide community input towards future changes to the Blount Street master plan. Second, analyze the potential impact to commercial revitalization of the Person Street business district.

On Wed, Jul 28, 2010, Reid Serozi wrote:
Dear Mayor Meeker and Council Members West, Baldwin, and Stephenson,
On behalf of the Mordecai Citizens Advisory Council Residents.
I would like to ask your guidance re: the Blount Street Commons Master
Plan and a church that is currently interested in buying a prime
commercial zoned location on Peace street.
While our CAC has not adopted an official position on the church, we
have met with the planning department, talked with a representative of
LNR, the developer, and are now contacting you for help in how to
properly handle this "switch" in the developer's original vision for
the property. Originally, the master plan envisioned this parcel to be
developed as a mixed-use commercial/residential tract with street
level retail stores fronting Peace Street and residential units above.
As stated in the N&O article referenced below: "A church is not part
of the current master plan for Blount Street Commons, which is
expected to include as much as 110,000 square feet of shops and up to
495 condominiums. The land Holy Trinity is buying, directly across
from Peace College, is designated as urban lofts on the project's
master plan."
In a recent meeting with Stacy Barbour, senior planner for the
Planning Dept.,he said that the masterplan's underlying commercial
zoning would indeed allow an institution such as a church even though
the Masterplan originally presented a different scenario. And now,
according to Barbour, because the masterplan has blanket approval, the
public will have no room for input!
We understand that the economic downturn has stalled the development
of Blount Street Commons, but we have been relying on this commercial
component of the Blount Street Commons along Peace Street as promised
to act as a catalyst for the commercial revitalization of the Person
Street business  district and our area North of downtown. Though the
church may proceed forward under the current zoning, we would like to
respectfully request that members of Council revisit the master plan
with planning staff to suggest ways that the commercial aspect of the
master plan for projects along Peace Street be preserved. We also ask
if there is a way that the public could be notified in a more timely
manner when changes in the master plan are being contemplated?
Information indicates that the church may close on the property as
early as August even though no formal design plans have been submitted
to the planning department.
Please see meeting notes posted to our CAC website and also an article
which appeared on July 8,2010:
Your guidance in this matter would be greatly appreciated,
Reid Serozi
Mordecai Citizens Advisory Council, Co-Chair

(919) 295-0135