Development Proposal Background

From Facebook post by Linc Clay – 10/29/16

Good Morning Myers Park,

I have been impressed by the amount of interest and number of folks willing to help our collective efforts to preserve and protect our neighborhood. One of the positives that may stem from this situation is increased community participation. Heather mentioned the notes taped to mailboxes. That was an MPNA board idea delivered by two of our neighbors who regularly walk. On their walks, they have been sticking notes to mailboxes.

I want to provide a bit of background information that may be useful as we organize ourselves. (This account is based on the best of my memory of the last 5 years. I may get some specifics wrong and I invite those who participated to correct me.)

Since the inception of Cascades Park, several of our neighbors have been engaged and working with City staff. After the amphitheater idea morphed from a “Shakespeare in the Park” venue for 1500 to a “ticketed event” venue for 3500, a more formal arrangement between Myers Park, Woodland Drives and the City was formed. The City was represented by Recreation and Parks and Blueprint 2000 staff. The neighborhoods each had three representatives. This group become known as the Cascades Park Work Group (CPWG) and met regularly throughout the construction of the amphitheater. The procedures used by the Park (hours of operation, noise, traffic, road closures, cleanup and event notification) were a result of the work of this group. Overall this was a successful and productive effort (although there is still a significant noise problem affecting some properties-this was to be mitigated by the wall).

The noise ordinance that was used last night to respond to the music from Adams Street was an outgrowth of the efforts to manage the noise from events in the park. The CPWG working with acoustical engineers learned enough about the behavior of sound to help address the broader city-wide noise issue. At that point the City had been working on an ordinance for some time but was meeting significant opposition to the idea as well as encountering legal hurdles. The CPWG, joining with several other neighborhood groups, City staff, and business interests met for several months to craft an agreement that ultimately became the noise ordinance. (City staff had done a lot of work toward a noise ordinance prior to this effort and of course created the final legal document.)

At the CPWG meeting in February, the City passed out the map that Mr. Tedder proposed as a “model” for the Parks office rezoning and development. At that time it was passed off as “just some ideas, that may be better than a wall, being kicked around”. At the June Blueprint 2000 Intergovernmental Agency (IA, composed of the City and County Commissions) meeting the sound wall work was suspended and it became apparent to the CPWG that the rezoning/development idea of the Parks office was being offered in lieu of the sound wall. (Prior to June we had been given assurances that the sound wall was proceeding.) As a result of this turn of events the Woodland Drives and Myers Park Boards of Directors began to engage to reinforce the CPWG. The position statements these boards provided on the noise wall and the rezoning/development issue were a result of the boards’ engagement. Representatives from both boards provided testimony at the Blueprint IA September meeting and City Commission October meeting where the rezoning/development issue was discussed. Others also provided testimony at both these of meetings. A significant number of neighbors attended the meeting in support of the boards as well.

The position statements submitted by the Myers Park Neighborhood Association board can be read at the links below.

MPNA Position Statement on the Development Parcel (8/27/16)
MPNA Position Statement on Noise Abatement (8/27/16)

Right now, both boards and the CPWG are gathering information and working on strategies to respond to this threat. We expect to be publishing the ideas next week. At that point we all can review, comment, provide additional ideas, and organize our efforts. There will be much work to be done and a lot of help will be needed.

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