Questions from Woodland Drives Resident

From the Woodland Drives FB page…

from:Tedder, Wayne
to: <Woodland Drives Resident>
date: Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 2:56 PM
subject: Re: Development of Myers Park Property

First, why would city staff use tax dollars to develop a detailed plan for residential development of city-owned property given the following (where quoted text is taken from your response)?

Response: The cost of a 30′ wall for a small portion of the property has been estimated to cost $500,000. This estimate is preliminary and a final cost can not be determined until a final design is completed. The concept that was provided serves to suggest that development could achieve the same benefits of the wall without any expense to the taxpayers.

Second, and even more baffling, why would city staff propose a plan that calls for razing existing office buildings on the upper part of the property and developing of the entire property at a much higher density (11-16 residential units per acre) than that of the surrounding neighborhoods—especially, given the following?

Response: Of particular importance is that the property is considered a contributing property within the Myers Park Historic Preservation Overlay. The HPO designation has criteria that should address compatibility with and integration of any type of development on the property. This HPO could also serve to limit certain types of uses and intensities. An evaluation of the utilization and conditions of the existing structures on the site will be reviewed during this process.

Third, to satisfy commissioners’ request, why wasn’t consideration of future development limited to just the lower part of the property, and why need it be so densely residential or even residential at all? Just one row of three story attached town houses along the railroad tracks (with ground floor parking) could seemingly replace the proposed 30 ft. wall. Or, perhaps even better, some future redevelopment of the “industrial part” could be done that would benefit all city residents and enhance the Myers Park neighborhoods. How about the future site of a performance arts center?

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Response: These comments are exactly the type of input that will be considered throughout the process.

Lastly, if you must build a 30 ft. wall, why not build it inside the curve of the tracks on the side closest to the amphitheater? It would essentially block (or replace) the ugly electrical poles and wires and involve no Myers Park property. It could be of less length for the same coverage. If it extended far enough to the north, it would even give my home on Merritt Dr. some relief! It would be more effective for its height given that it’s closer to the stage. And finally, the sound of a train would not echo off of it into the amphitheater but instead be blocked.

Response: Staff reviewed placing the wall on the amphitheater side of the railroad track between the tracks and Suwannee Street. Construction is significantly limited between the street and railroad right of way. As indicated in the photo below, the fence is the delineator between the City’s property and the railroad right of way. The cost of relocating overhead and underground utilities would substantially increase the cost necessary to mitigate any sounds from the amphitheater.

Thanks again for sending your questions and comments.

Sincerely,

Wayne Tedder
City of Tallahassee
Assistant City Manager
Development Services and Economic Vitality
(850)891-8328

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from: <Woodlands Drives Resident>
to: Wayne Tedder, Assistant City Manager
date: Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 7:50 PM
subject: Re: Development of Myers Park Property

I appreciate your timely response to my questions; however, I feel your answers failed to address their thrust. The words that I had specifically emphasized in my questions seemed to be ignored.

Based on your comments, the objective was to figure out if and how a “30 high wall” could be integrated into some future redevelopment. However, the proposed plan seems to go well beyond this objective and assumes only one alternative. Rather than identify all possibilities as to how development near the railroad tracks—i.e., private or public, residential or non-residential—could mitigate noise from the amphitheater, TAX DOLLARS were used to develop a DETAILED plan for RESIDENTIAL redevelopment of the ENTIRE PROPERTY at a MUCH HIGHER DENSITY than is currently allowed. Note the emphases! The plan ignores zoning, Comp Plan, and likely HRD restrictions and calls for selling the property and destroying the city offices/community center located on the upper portion. Very questionable is how such wholesale destruction and the high-density mitigate amphitheater noise. To me, the plan appears just like one that would be done by a private developer, a potential buyer who is hoping to make as much profit off the property as possible.

I don’t believe that your explanations so far have allayed the fears of Myers Park area residents that there’s a hidden agenda here.

Regards, <Woodland Drives Resident>

P.S. Actually, I think that addressing amphitheater noise by a 30 ft. wall or its equivalent, especially when placed on the opposite side of the railroad tracks, is dubious at best—expensive and perhaps unsightly with very little benefit. The best solution should be for everybody to just admit that the original aim of the amphitheater—both directional and economical—was mistaken. Our local government should stop sinking tax dollars into the thing and get out of the concert business—i.e., stop subsidizing performances, guaranteeing gate receipts, and paying Scott Carswell for management and promotion. Allow only use of a limited number of smaller amp’ed speakers or the installed sound system. Let the nosier, touring groups, who generally expect larger audiences and require guarantees, perform at the Tallahassee Centre or the Tucker Civil Center. Our hotels and restaurants will still profit from out-of-town visitors.

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