ED & Planning Committee Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008 Page 1

ED & Planning Committee
Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 1
Mayor’s Youth Employment Program: Joblink
Consider Staff recommendation on creating a Summer Youth Joblink
North Tryon
Consider implementation alternatives for catalyst sites, and creation of
an adopted plan for North Tryon from Brookshire to Sugar Creek.
Building Permit/Plan Review Improvements
Review recommendations to improve the City’s plan review process,
and prepare for April 16th Budget Presentation to City Council.
Northlake Area Plan
Present information on the Northlake Area Plan and make a
recommendation to the City Council on adoption of the Plan.
Next Meeting Date
The next meeting date to be determined.
Council members John Lassiter, James Mitchell, Nancy Carter, Anthony Foxx
and Patsy Kinsey
12:00 noon – 2:15 p.m.
Draft proposal for a Youth Joblink Center
PowerPoint on North Tryon Redevelopment Study
Northlake Area Plan
I. Subject: Mayor’s Youth Employment Program: Joblink
John Lassiter, Chair: This is a follow-up on our discussions at our last meeting about the
Mayor’s Youth Employment Program.
Tom Flynn: Introduced Dawn Hill who is the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program Manager,
and said we are here to focus on just one piece of this and that is the pilot program for the
Mayor’s Youth Joblink Center that we are proposing to move out on and establish with the
Goodwill Industries over on Freedom Drive.
Dawn Hill: After your March 19th meeting, I went back and convened our partners and we
came up with a Youth JobLink proposal. This proposal would look at piloting the program in
the summer of 2008. It will be a partnership between Goodwill Industries of the Southern
Piedmont and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board and the City of
Charlotte. The objective is to provide a source of information, training, coaching and access to
the summer employment opportunities in the City of Charlotte through this Youth Employment
JobLink Center, and to gauge the demand and determine the best practices to establish a fullservice Youth JobLink Center in 2009. The location is proposed to be at the Goodwill Job
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 2
Connection that is already established on Freedom Drive. We would look at having a Youth
JobLink Manager at that site and that Manager’s position would be staffed by someone with
Goodwill Industries. We are looking at the pilot program to begin on May 1 – August 31,
2008. The hours of operation would be Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 3:00 p.m.
and 7:30 p.m. Goodwill already operates a Job Connection there and they are open daily
between 8:30 a.m. and 4.:30 p.m. After 2:00 p.m., their traffic slows down considerably so it
gives the JobLink Connection space an opportunity to come in. Our targeted participants
would be all Charlotte youth interested in summer employment, including youth that are ages
14 to 21 who are eligible for WIA (Workforce Investment Act) subsidized assistance. The
youth that are not eligible for the WIA assistance, but wanting help finding summer
We have a whole menu of services that we propose to provide, including job placement and
access to a community job listing system. The youth will be matched with employers who are
interested in hiring youth for temporary, summer or long-term positions and that includes the
year-round positions. The job leads will be generated by a full-time job developer, on staff of
Goodwill Industries with full access to the resources of Goodwill’s temporary staffing agency,
called GoodWorks. The Job Developer will also work in coordination with the WIA contractors
and with me at the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program. We are also looking at providing the
Job Readiness Assessment and that assessment will be delivered initially when the customers
are coming into the service center and the customers needs and desires will be serviced
through the JobLink Center and be determined by an orientation at the Center. The customers
will be youth and can request basic assessments for career/vocational interests, skills and
assistance in setting employment goals. The customers will also be able to access a variety of
self-assessment tools on line.
We talked at our last meeting about separating the traditional career-oriented
jobs and then finding a way to stimulate just having jobs available. Is the idea
that this is going to do just career-oriented jobs or it going to do both?
The latter. It would do more the non-career oriented jobs. We still have the
career oriented jobs through the regular Mayor’s Youth Program.
The rate of assessment is going to be more focused on basic skills and
completing applications, having your information available on how to go
through with an interview, those kinds of basic skills as opposed to
determining I want to be a Nuclear Physicist and here is what I need to study
in college to do that.
We will also provide education and training to the Youth JobLink Center, either
directly or with partners, and hold classes as necessary on topics such as
resume writing, job seeking skills, customer service training, and interpersonal
skills, etc.
Additionally, the Youth JobLink Center will be a source of
information on other training resources in the community. We will do Career
Information and guidance in addition to limited guidance and advising will be
provided as needed or requested to help youth explore career opportunities
and associated educational requirements. In-depth career development will be
offered through our Partner agencies. The will also be housed at the JobLink
Certainly if a young man or woman is 14, 15 or 16, they may be in a position
to need a similar opportunity the following summer or it may be a reason for
someone wanting to get information about them and their prior work history.
Do we have a system in place with this that will capture work performance,
availability, a job cannery bank that can be accessed in subsequent year,
either by future employers or to identify those youth again for potential
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
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opportunities in the summer of 2009?
That is a really good idea and we can certainly incorporate that into this. We
have been putting this together on the fly so that is a great thing and we will
incorporate that.
That is a very sharp question and I say that because I can give it an
affirmative response. We are prepared and have electronic data base and we
will maintain records and give them parental release as well.
We will do career fairs/business days possibly one per month, beginning in
June or July. Other services that are available will be job listings, self-help
resources at the JobLink Center.
If it is possible could you start earlier than June?
We are targeting May 1 which is four weeks out and we’ve got some hiring we
have to do so we are moving pretty quick here.
You heard June as a target date for training. She continued her presentation
on Outcome Measures and said we propose to measure the outcome by the
number of youth receiving the Job Readiness Training, by the number of youth
employed for the summer, by the number of host employer partnerships and
number of youth continuing employment into the school year. Our staffing
needs are proposed to be one JobLink Manager, one Intake Specialist, one Job
Developer and two Career Development Specialists Trainers. Our facility at
Goodwill is about 4,435 square feet. It comes equipped with a computer lab
and office space for the staff as well as training rooms.
Can you tell me how in your preparations you see this not being just a
neighborhood program, but a City-wide program, or is it the intent to focus on
a specific territory?
Part of it through the strategy involving our partners, involving the folks from
H.E.L.P. and through our marketing efforts. The marketing efforts are going
to be key to getting the word out and targeting the youth that need the
Is the marketing plan to meet with the partners and the partners to get the
word out or how do you envision that happening?
It is still developing, but part of that strategy that we have in place now is to
basically meet with the folks from H.E.L.P. and Goodwill and with the
community partners and make this available to them and they can in turn
make it available to their …
I think you’ve got a lot of good energy here with this proposal. One issue that
I see is the potential for this to turn into something that is focused on the
Freedom Drive dorridor, kids who are there gravitating to it, which is great,
but if you live on South Tryon Street or out in East Charlotte, this may be a
hard place to find and it may be hard for even our partners to find the kids to
go over there. I think the access issue needs to be addressed and it is not just
the marketing issue, it is also how do we physically get kids there.
At our last meeting we identified several locations as potential partners and
this is only one of them. This was the easiest one and we were already in
some conversation so it was the easiest one to get started as quickly as
identified and the Committee recommended a few others. We talked about
working with …, for example on West Boulevard, places that potentially had a
location and access to the potential candidates and trying to work with those
as well.
This is on the transit route and clearly we do have to come up with a
marketing plan for it. The banks and the Economic Development Office is
going to be working on that.
I did not understand that this was just one of perhaps other arrangements
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
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that we were contemplating. If that is in fact the case, I think we also need to
be thinking about whatever the budgetary impacts there are because if we are
going to do 10 of these, and I’m not opposed to doing 10 of them, but the
output is $40,000 each. I would like to know that as soon as possible and not
do it one group at a time.
For this summer, what we are proposing that we can do is one. We will pilot it
and see how it goes and build a model. We did have some conversations with
the Y and they said we were a little bit late, we want to make sure it is a
success so go off and pilot it and then talk to us about it.
Then my question is still the same question about access because that corridor
is one of the corridors that I would think of as one that this service would be
helpful for, but in your measurable, you are not looking at the geographical
diversity of the kids that are coming into the system.
We will add that to our measures. Given where we are and given that summer
is about to be upon us, we think we are really pushing to get this done. We
think this is going to be a good pilot and we’ve got some good partners, and
we’ve got some good outreach, communities and schools, Right Moves for
Youth. They serve a broader area than just this corridor so I think if they
aren’t going into our Mayor’s Youth Program that they work with, that is
clearly a natural feed and we want to talk to the churches out along Beatties
Ford Road. They’ve had some interest and we really need to market it.
I understand, I just want to put a fine point on this. There are some kids who
could profit from this program who might not have $1.60 to get on the bus so
I’m talking about the access issues, not just the marketing side of it, but
thinking through with our partners how you get a kid from one side of the City
to this place. That is as simple as I can make it.
In comment to that, that is where I think our partners should be able to come
in. The churches need to help these kids get there and they can afford to buy
bus tickets or use their vans or whatever.
We did that, and in some instances, we do have like Right Moves for Youth,
they have provided transportation and we did a job fair and some of our kids
attended that job fair and transportation was provided by a van from Right
Moves for Youth.
My real question was, of the staffing needs, how many of those positions are
brand new and how many do we already have there? What is it really going to
The staffing positions are listed on the handout are part-time positions, and
temporary positions. We are prepared at Goodwill to absorb some of those
positions, at least initially, if you need to look outside. It is not resolved at
this point and I might add that we are prepared to serve individual youths as
we do adults in the community. It is not just about them coming to us, it is
just as important that we go to them.
I just want to echo what my buddy Mr. Foxx said, I think we need to know
what it is going to cost because it is an impact on the budget and we need to
know ahead of time so we have to come at the last minute and take
something out.
At the bottom of the sheet we are estimating the total cost to be $84,000 of
which the City’s share would be $44,000 and we would fund that to
Development and Revitalization Fund dollars.
I guess I was thinking about longer term.
We will come back to you at the end of this and say here is our results, this is
what it will cost, are these good enough to replicate and if so here is what it
would cost to grow this.
I’m not sure that we will be as fortunate with getting other partners like
Goodwill so that may impact the budget going forward.
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
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Looking at partnerships, I hope you are considering HOW. This is an in house
partner that could contribute both personnel as well as … We are looking at …
and I think they can recommend some folks to us, Gang of One and I’m not
saying that children who are challenged to be our absolute target. I’m just
saying that they should be told … H.E.L.P. is offering assistance and I would
ask if they have a comment on what they could bring to the table.
It is integrated into the proposal, but feel free to ask the question.
Father Womack
H.E.L.P. Organization:
What we would be willing to do is set up a meeting with the partners to
strategize about some of the issues that have been raised here and then
maybe hold a press conference or other things.
We have 73 member
congregations so we see it within H.E.L.P. offering that sort of people power
with the relationships that we already have coming along with partners as you
suggested and then being able to go through that network and also do a press
conference to get the word out in a wider fashion.
I don’t want to over summarize where we are, but we have pressed staff
pretty hard to try to expand the program dramatically. I think what they have
told us is that we could this year roughly double our performance over
previous years and based upon how well we play this out in more lead time
can get to the numbers that we would like to see, which is trying to serve at
least 1,000 kids by the following summers so that we have capacity beyond
simply the current identified locations and partners that can help us both from
the job side, location access side and the pool of youth side. We did in our
last meeting talk about some of those budget issues and how to fund them. I
think the question was asked that if you were to have additional money, what
would you do with that and how would you spend it? I would hope that is in
the budget information that comes to us over the next month as we reflect on
that because that tells us what has to be plugged in particularly as part of
those requests that show here is what it costs to get additional site
coordination and here is what it costs to get additional people to help Dawn to
run this thing and here is the return on that. I think that is a positive question
we are trying to ask the Council.
I would also echo that comment about making sure that our budget process
gives us a forecast of where we are trying to take the program, but in addition
to that, I think we are leaving jobs on the table with some of the City’s
partners. We have any number of contractors and folks that are asking the
City constantly for public dollars and we go through an evaluation process of
how those dollars are spent sometimes it is a cost benefit and sometimes it is
based on the fact that we need something that is in high demand in the
community. I don’t think it would be a bad thing at all if we look favorably
upon companies or businesses that we do business with or even look at
incentive grants if they would provide a certain number of youth employment
positions. It is not to say that that ought to be the only factor, but it ought to
be a plus factor if companies are willing to do that. I would like for us to look
at that.
We have before us a recommendation from staff to approve and recommend
to Council the Youth JobLink Center which is a pilot program in partnership
with Goodwill Industries and collateral partner relationships with a number of
organizations, including H.E.L.P. and Communities in Schools.
Carter made the motion to recommend that Council accept Staff’s
recommendation on creating a Summer Youth JobLink Center. Mr. Foxx
seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous. Mr. Mitchell was absent for
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 6
the vote.
There was also discussion about some of the other partners who had asked to
be a part of this program or wanted to help with the program in the past like
the Friendship Development Corporation. Have we gotten a response on that?
We have not met back with them yet, but I will contact them.
That is another opportunity. They are going at it alone, but I think there is
synergy that we are not tapping in.
We have met with Mary on a couple of issues, but we need to go back on that
one. Unfortunately, Dawn has been out on medical leave and just came back
on Monday.
It made it difficult to get caught up and a lot had to be done in a short period
of time.
We appreciate Council members understanding that.
We’ve heard all the questions, we’ve written them down and we fully intend on
moving forward. Please understand this was an item that was referred to a
Committee. We didn’t want to get out in front of Council and we wanted to
make sure that we had a Committee recommendation to move forward and all
the things that you’ve said we are taking to heart and will embark upon. We
will load this item on for Council action hopefully for April 14th and then we will
have the full Council backing to put in the budget for next year the resources
that we need. We simply didn’t want to get out in front of the whole Council
while we were having the Committee discussions and framing all the issues.
We have to be very careful in that regard.
This is a movement that has been much appreciated. I have never seen an
issue move this fast.
Subject: North Tryon
John Lassiter, Chair: This is a follow-up conversation about catalyst locations, and Tom, you
are going to talk about some recommendations relative to sites.
Tom Warshauer introduced Jennifer Duru, Business Corridor Expediter, who started with
Economic Development on April 1.
Mr. Warshauer used PowerPoint for his presentation to the Committee
I thought about this yesterday as we were driving out Graham Street to go
look at foreclosure issues in neighborhoods not too far from the end of the
line. My assessment is that Graham Street is in much greater need of reviews
in some cases than perhaps North Tryon Street. There are large pieces of
property that affect these same neighborhoods, and I wonder to what extent
are we drawing a hard line at existing industrial and business commercial
zoning along Graham Street or are we seeing that Graham Street is going to
require an individual look at sometime once we conclude North Tryon Street.
Right now what we looked at is drawing the line at Graham Street. I can take
a look at whether or not we consider expanding the scope of this because of
the other side of Graham Street.
That width is fairly narrow and as you approach town you are not talking about
very much distance from North Tryon Street to Graham Street and the
relationship between the two as it relates certainly to the neighborhoods in
there and what you want to have happen. A lot of the uses, especially as you
are coming inside Sugar Creek, are all very, very similar. There are high
industrial and in many cases the retail that comes in is not the kind of retail
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 7
that you want to encourage as it relates to existing neighborhoods.
You will be looking at one side of Graham Street and we will be looking at the
retail area and that will be a part of what we are doing. We just had not
crossed the line, and we will be focusing more on North Tryon.
I just think their issues are very similar.
Are we considering this as a distressed business corridor or are we looking at
this as a transit corridor, economic development? What is the exact focus of
this study?
This is not a transit corridor or distressed business corridor. It is one of the
focuses of the corridor that you all said ….the transit component here is really
on the other side of the railroad tracks so we will not be looking at much in
that respect, although some of has an impact …
As we develop transit … as we have done in the South Corridor, we are going
to need more money for infrastructure, for improvements that will enhance the
walkability of the people who will be using transit for focusing on that transit
use development that is so important along the line. I just hope, perhaps by
extending this, that we might accomplish more. I am anticipating a lot of
private investment along the transit line. I don’t want to see us using money
when private investors … I understand the recommendations will be there, but
when we study in depth these functions ….
Tom, you may have already done this and I don’t have it, but can you get me
a large map? I can’t read this one. I apologize if you have already done it
and I looked at it and recycled it.
Warshauer continued his presentation
When the inter-model facility is built in Third Ward, that will serve the north
My recollection is that Amtrak ultimately relocates to that location and it would
seem that it may be a good time to begin to entertain conversations relative to
that location inasmuch as it is the same issue as we have on the rail line with
Norfolk-Southern and their inter-model currently between Graham Street and
Davidson Street and the redevelopment of that. I raise that as we go through
this conversation, we begin early, knowing how slow it is to negotiate with
We have talked with the Railroad about these sites and about what they
foresee in the future on when they see that becoming available and what their
uses are. We have been letting them know and keeping them informed about
what we are seeing as potential land uses and what we would like to do.
I know the President of the North Carolina Railroad relatively well and I also
know that the Governor serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina
Railroad Corporation. I think the degree to which we get out front and think
through that and bring that into our conversations is probably a good thing.
Warshauer continued his presentation
To that point Tom, if you draw a circle around that area, how big would the
circle be until you got to the next grocery store?
The two grocery stores that would be around here whether you would consider
them competition or not would be at Hutchinson and also there is a grocery
store and a combination of Asian stores at Sugar Creek and North Tryon.
Those are the only grocery stores that are in that area.
About how far away are those?
Hutchinson is probably about ½ mile and the other about 1½ miles.
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
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Having been up and down that area a good bit over the years, that seems to
be a need in that area where you’ve got a lot of people who are transit
dependent who live on the top half of that North Tryon Street side.
Absolutely. This is one of the reasons we are so excited about this site is that
grocery stores work … Prepared foods is one of the highest per square foot
sales in North Carolina. There is a growing market of people that would like
another alternative to the Food Lion in NoDa. We think there is a real interest
in a grocery store in this location in North Davidson and the other streets just
don’t have carrying capacity to be able handle that kind of shopping.
Is your thought on a site like this a CMDC kind of approach?
It could be. It can be a kind of methodology that we go out and find a property
to make it happen or we work to see what developers might be able to come
in with. We could do several different projects. We could do an office project
or do a retail and let people keep putting those projects together for us to
consider rather than us having to make a selection that we want this to be the
next big thing on North Tryon. We have some competition between the
property owners and the development community to bring their projects
forward and see what they’ve got. We do have a rezoning coming forward
where some land, taking from industrial to residential which is something that
we were really excited about because having this as a potential for a greenway
seems to really create the kind of momentum that we wanted to see of getting
that kind of development to support retail in that area.
I know there is an alternative alignment for the Northeast Corridor transit.
Would that go up North Tryon in this area?
In this area the rail line will … if not it will be down in here. … begins at Sugar
Creek where it would either leave or come in, but this area of North Tryon
definitely does not have any plans for rail.
Warshauer continued his presentation
On the broad RFP approach, would the Corridor funds be put in a pool and set
up so an economic development or equivalent of the Housing Trust Fund that
developers would compete for funding to help develop the site. Can you
explain that?
In the Housing Trust Fund they have a pool of money and people may have
locations … so we would have to decide to what extent do we want to offer
funds in a pool toward development for a cap. The million dollar kind of
project or the $500,000 one, so what is the probably gap that we are
interested in creating here or do we want to just accept proposals to see what
the gaps are and then evaluate it from that perspective. We have to really
fine tune what are the resources that we want to devote towards the project,
and at what time do we announce what those resources are.
Determining that strategy, setting up something in a trust fund or a pool of
money, does that determine the way we treat each corridor or could there be
variations for each corridor?
I think you would have variations within a corridor. We’ve done on Scaleybark
at South Boulevard, we did one philosophy of moving toward an identified site.
We can continue to work it that way. With Bryant Park we didn’t go out and
say here is the site, we really responded to the market place … and that
worked very well. It may be something that with the market that is already
active, the people are having specific problems. Doing this sort of RFP process
might be a good way of moving forward. Where there is absolutely no market
you’re going to probably take a lead. In different areas of town you might
have a different philosophy you’re going to have to take.
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Warshauer continued his presentation with Next Steps
I want to make sure I understand the question you are asking. Are you asking
us to approve these locations as catalyst sites or are you asking us to approve
the process you are going through for selection or asking us to make a
We are looking for input on that very question of the process – do we go out
and buy land or have a much broader RFP? We are looking for some sense of
where you are, then we will come back to you with a recommendation for the
Committee to take to the Council.
It looks to me like you are asking for some level of approval to use these kinds
of tools as it relates to catalytic sites along North Tryon Street and you are
looking for the Committee’s recommendation to say that is the right direction
and to further develop those tools as vehicles for these sites, arguably to keep
those tools for future redevelopment efforts in other corridors as well. It is a
sense that we need to make that recommendation back to Council for you to
take the next step or do you want to have support from the Committee today
that then allows you to refine those more before we take it back to Council?
The latter. We want to hear your discussion and your comments, what are
your issues that we need to address.
I think there is no need for action today. What I’m hearing is a reaction from
the Committee as to whether for the purpose of some kind of land purchase
strategy or some kind of RFP process that would result in the engagement of
future development activity.
Obviously, I am somewhat parochial in this discussion and I apologize, but I
think that is the responsibility of district representatives. I do recognize our
responsibility to the entire city. When you put a limited amount of funding
before a series of projects, my concern is how do you prioritize those projects
and I don’t know whether you set up a matrix, whether you go through crime,
whether you go through economic development potential, whether you go
through returns, whether you go through potential partners. I don’t know that
matrix and I don’t know whether we should establish one or not, but it might
be helpful to look at the projects that are coming down the line. There are a
lot of different ones that are on our horizon and will be competing for this
specified amount of money. I am concerned that we position ourselves … I
frankly don’t know the concept, I don’t know what works best. Is there a city
that has been analyzed that has a similar type of dollar? I’ve watched
Scaleybark and that whole process was very interesting. I’m confused and I
really don’t know the best process and I really need help.
Let me tell you where I think we are. We are on the cutting edge on this.
There are very few cities that are experimenting with the kinds of the things
we are doing. We are reporting new ground and some of the things we see
are derived from successes in other places or lessons learned. The fund that
is primarily being used does not have an allocation formula in it, but my
understanding in terms of what the City Manager wants to do is to keep that
fund replenished so that each budget cycle you have the same amount of
money there long-term so it is based upon identified need and opportunity,
not so much that X amount of share is distributed either based upon the
County’s seven votes or some particular says it is going to go X because the
crime is higher here. To me, I’m pretty comfortable with that as long as we
continue to have funds available as needed. What you have to be careful
about is you get what you ask for and that would mean that from your
perspective if what you are making sure the dollars are available on either
side, your money is about to be spent because acquisition of property at
Eastland will quickly … whatever share you could claim out of the fund source.
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Page 10
I would encourage you not to seek any kind of … because you may short sheet
It’s hard to really figure out which side of this … option you have given us to
take because on the one hand if we were to adopt a land purchase kind of
process there is still those market forces out there to deal with. Arguably, we
can cut down the cost of developing this property, or whatever property, by
eliminating some of the acquisition costs from the private sector, but the
private sector is still going to want to know how they are going to see the
return on the other end. If you take the Housing Trust Fund model, for lack of
a better phrase, and try to apply it to this, it allows you to be free from the
heavy investment in land, but you may find yourself with a pot of money and
no one to take it because of those same market forces. Part of what I keep
getting back to is that whatever tool we use, we still got to be in a position to
teach the market how to cease upon the opportunity in areas like this,
because a traditional analysis is never going to cut it. I will go back to the
example of that grocery store. Granted there is a grocery store about a ½
mile up the block, but if a grocery store is using a traditional median income
analysis, they may not decide to locate in that area, but there are other types
of analysis that could be applied that may make business sense for that
grocery store to come in there. If we are not giving those tools to the market
the market is not going to understand it. First of all, I would not send that off
that teaching the market piece from which ever way we go. Second, I do like
the trust fund type of model because it preserves our right to make choices. It
also doesn’t require heavy capital upfront costs with uncertain outcomes on
the back end. There is still that outside risk that we could put it together and
there wouldn’t be anybody on the other end to take advantage of it. I think I
would lean more toward moving more toward that side of things if worst to
choose. I don’t think we ought to do anything in terms of a tool box without
looking at all the corridors and adopting a process that could be applied to
each of them. I wouldn’t set up a special fund for North Tryon Street and I
don’t know that that was what you were suggesting, but it is coming in the
context of the North Corridor planning process. As long as we are clear on
that I would be fine with doing the Housing Trust Fund type process.
We wouldn’t set up a trust fund per se, but we are willing to dedicate $2
million of our business corridor funds to a project on here. We are willing to
consider a tax increment financing. We are willing to consider additional
amenities infrastructure or amenities around the project and those types of
Clearly, the City Manager who is not here today, has heard loud and clear the
priorities that the Council has set in the area of transportation, business
corridor revitalization and community safety, and he is working on his
recommended budget to you for next year and I can tell you that I know that
there is a replenishment of the Business Corridor funding that will be in the
mix and creating a pot of money, a reserve for ED initiatives that would be
most likely targeted to the area where the Council has said your priority is,
which distressed business corridors and we are not intending that we set up
separate pots of money for each corridor, but there will be a recommendation
by the Manager to put resources forward and then I think it is what you are
saying the prioritization for how you use those monies. It may be the cart is
before the horse and you may need the priorities before you need the money,
but I think they need to come forward together and that is what we are trying
to put together so that you will have your priority addressed which is
distressed business corridors.
Will that funding be replenished annually or every two years?
It is in a five-year CIP so what you get is the opportunity to see how it is being
ED & Planning Committee
Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 11
put out there in terms of the five-year window. I think that is the strategy we
are trying to use, put enough out there for forward thinking, not just on a year
to year basis, but on at least a five-year planning basis.
The Manager recommends that the Council decide?
The other piece of this is, and I know you know this, but I feel like I need to
say it. What really drives business interest are not just the private sector
notice, but whether we are doing our jobs well with public safety,
infrastructure, and some of the core services. I can’t emphasize it enough
how important it is for us to be able to deliver a higher level of those services
in these areas where crime is one of the biggest deterrents to businesses
coming in.
Thank you, and that is why I mentioned Transportation, Community Safety,
Economic Development all work together and they fit together to relieve the
stress that is on those business corridors. It is an integrated strategic
approach to boosting these corridors.
I just want to make sure that I understand what we are saying. We are going
to look at the land purchase and the broad RFP because one size doesn’t fit all.
On North Tryon we are looking at either/or.
I don’t think one size fits all along North Tryon.
You asked for input, and I think what you are hearing, and I only relate to
what Mr. Kimble said, the idea is that you want to expand your available tools
and evaluate them based upon individual needs of a catalytic site as opposed
to assuming that all of North Tryon has to be done through a developer driven
RFP or some other acquisition of land. I think what we want to do is to give
staff the flexibility to figure out which things work. In some cases, it might be
some form of tax increment financing. In some cases, it may be some kind of
land assemblage that results in flipping that property back. Other cases, it
may be a CMDC kind or Housing Trust Fund kind of operation where we are an
investor and then they are purchased and we walk back out. I don’t know the
answer to that. From my perspective, I would not want you to feel hamstrung
that all you could use was one particular tool because it be based upon the
market dynamic of a particular point of theses sites, one thing may fit better
or not fit better.
One of the nice outcomes of this study that we really wanted to have happen
when we do these studies that we dictate development and we have these
opportunities on North Tryon. That really happened as a result of this study.
People bought property, people sold property and people became much more
educated about opportunities that were there. People have been making
acquisitions at North Tryon. We would like to get people to move from making
acquisitions and investments to actually … raw property and holding it to the
next level. We are not sure who is right to come forth in that …, but we know
there are a lot of people taking positions in this area of town, kind of waiting
to see who is going to do what. That is what we wanted to do for three
different areas. We wanted to give people more land use certainty about
signing by moving forth with an adopted plan. We wanted to give them more
certainty about the City’s commitment to infrastructure and roads by moving
toward that component. We wanted to see to what extent are we willing to be
participants in gaps by looking at the catalyst sites so we can really get people
to go. We know this is a good area of town and we are hearing the positive
market changes that are happening there and we are really ready for full
circuit, so how can we get someone to come on out and begin to pull some …
out here as opposed to just investing for the future. Those are the three
things going hand in hand that we think will work, land use, infrastructure and
some gaps as they come on. We won’t be here forever giving you some gaps,
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 12
but whoever will come out first we might be willing to help you out. That is
kind of where we were going.
Have we looked at what the State offers with development zones to see if
what we are doing interfaces with their potential investment as well?
It is in the State Urban Progress Zone.
Is there a way that they represent going about business contracts so that we
can apply funding …?
The Urban Progress Zone is a tax credit. It is once they make an investment
and they hire a number of people, that is when they get a tax credit at the end
of that. There are no dollars up front to go with the Urban Progress Zone.
Do you have enough input?
Yes, we will be back with a recommendation.
Building Permit/Plan Review Improvements
John Lassiter, Chair: A number of us were at the NAIOP meeting about a week and a-half ago
and Ron Kimble and David Weekly are here to talk about the recommendations which we have
previously looked at. They were presented in detail and my assessment from being in the
audience was that they were very well received by the group that was there. Mr. … felt that
we were moving at a much more aggressive and customer service approach than the County.
It was also evident to me that there are some trust issues and that there is continued interest
in finding ways to consolidate City and County activity, which I think is the Committee’s and
Council’s direction as well. The challenge is how you do that based upon how we are
structured and their investment continues to be more off site. What is before us today is to
hear a final presentation on these major initiatives and answer any questions and if we are
comfortable recommending this back to Council so that we can begin a timetable to begin
From a process standpoint, we wanted to come today debriefed from the
meeting last week at NAIOP. John Silvia, Chairman of the Business Advisory
Committee, is here and they have been the recipient of two presentations from
us and they have some observations. John on behalf of the BAC wrote a
letter, a copy is included in your agenda materials. We plan on going forward
to the April 16th Budget Retreat which is two weeks from today, as part of that
Budget Retreat. We want to talk about commercial permitting process and
plan review because you as a Committee have heard a lot about this and spent
a lot of time, but the full Council hasn’t really weighed in and heard the
presentation, we want to give that to them because it is going to mean
resources in next year’s budget as well. We need to make sure that is fitting
into the proposed budget for the next year that the Manager is going to
recommend to you. You don’t need to make firm decisions today, maybe give
us some more feedback, give us some more direction and we will go to the
Budget Retreat on the 16th, then we will be back to the ED&P Committee one
more time and then the Manager will place in his recommended budget
additional resources that might be needed to carry out the recommendations
that are here in front of you. We have prepared a package that repeats the
twelve initiatives.
We have some download and some capture of the
information that was put forth at last Wednesday’s NAIOP Chamber meeting
and then we have put together some information about the positions that we
feel are needed sprinkled throughout the Key Business Units of the City in
order to expedite the permitting process in order to meet the objectives that
we are going to be setting as more aggressive benchmarks. Then move
forward to the next year to year and a half to make all of the improvements
that are recommended in the set of initiatives. That is the game plan just
laying it out from the start to how we are going to work it through the budget
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
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process. John, as Chairman of the BAC, they have your letter, but I think it
would be very appropriate for you to be able to make any comments and
follow-up to that letter because the BAC is one of the organizations, the
citizen’s group that we use to work through a lot of business type issues in our
I would simply again emphasize that the Business Advisory Committee is
simply trying to provide some recommendations and advice to the City from a
business perspective. How might a business person approach this issue would
be … in revisions for land development review process and I certainly think as
we go through some of these major initiatives, there was strong support for
the One-Stop Center, a concept that we are going to put everything into this
one little area and it is going to be almost a funneling device. The argument
there was a much more consistent review by a small set of people who really
could look at that process. We also like the fourth bullet point, a Checklist and
Gateway Process. We felt it was very, very important. The concept is that
when a proposal is submitted that there is a very clear set of criteria and those
criteria are quickly reviewed and we see what of those proposals meet those
criteria at all, so we don’t get very poor proposals that get a very complete
review, occupy a lot of City people time looking at very poor proposals. We
looked at trying to create a quick and responsive plan review process and you
will notice in some of these recommendations there is interest in doing
customer surveys, getting feedback so we felt that was a good point as well.
We do emphasize the balance that is required between encouraging
development with a customer focus process while also insuring that the
construction results in a safe building for a … user plan and the group felt very
importantly that there needs to be the balance here which I think generally
again argues that when the City staff looks at a lot of these proposals they
have definite criteria in place. When someone submits a proposal they kind of
have an idea, okay we know what the City expects and there was a feeling
from a number of people that we are not quite sure what the City expects.
We have a whole bunch of rules and often times we hold acuity conflicting and
we don’t know what the ultimate wish is for the City is in terms of design.
There was a little bit of a question there. We did like the idea that there was a
designation of a person of final authority because a lot of the business people
felt there was not a very clear formal conflict resolution process. People within
the City would disagree with each other, they would disagree in different types
of reviews. One review didn’t meet and the next review being as clear as it
could have been so there was almost an ombudsman type of concept here, but
somebody needs to make a final decision on some of these issues. Again, the
One-Stop Center was really key. We do have some questions and I do use the
term spirited discussion in a very positive thumb, but once again the cost of
the proposed improvements being determined and has staff done an adequate
job of analyzing the cost and benefits of these changes. When we propose
changes, when we present guidelines what is the cost of some of that and
what are the benefits that we see. Did the revisions substantially bring the City
and County closer together? We certainly don’t know the answer to that but it
did seem as if there were often times … between what the County expected
and what the City expected on the same project. I will leave that up to you to
again focus in on that.
Finally, how efficient is the internal process and how does each initiative
interact. There was strong support here and again one of the comments here
and major initiative – establishing a benchmark of the average number of
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 14
reviews required for approval. This got into that spirited discussion that we
had in terms of incentives and disincentives so we didn’t reach a conclusion,
but one of the issues we had is that there appears there are people or groups
coming with a project who has a good history, seemed to get bogged down in
the same long review process as others coming to the table with very poorly
defined projects. There is no incentive to being very good on a consistent
basis and there is no disincentive for being very bad. The process is with
someone coming with a proposal that really doesn’t measure up to what we
think it should be, perhaps it is done with an architect or developer who has
very little experience with the City or the City’s needs, comes and a proposal is
submitted and all of a sudden the City people have to go through this long
involved process of reviewing this thing and there is a lot of resources being
spent and there is no disincentive. There is no saying, this is a lousy proposal
we are going to charge you $5,000 because you didn’t do your job. This is a
waste of people’s time and you need to come with something much better. I
will leave it up to you to figure out how to do that, but it did seem that there
was a lot of frustration with people who purported to be good developers with
good architects coming to the table and feeling as if their projects were being
delayed in their review by other projects that were fully defined when they
came in. Picking up on some of the discussion we had, and I say it is spirited,
that this City is a rapidly growing City and we also know that we are going to
be running out of land very quickly, five to 15 years, and we have to think
about what is the best use of that land rather than haphazardly filling up the
land with projects that may not be sustainable over a period of ten or 15
years. We don’t want to simply get into, okay we’ve got a project here, they
are going to have 500 jobs and construction for the next two or three years
and three years down the road we end up with a piece of real estate of an
office building that really doesn’t serve the long-term interest of the City.
Thank you and we really do appreciate your leadership and the input that
comes from the Committee as it is really a valuable resource back to us. This
has been a real challenge. You quickly identify the issues that are there and
having the real world experience that you and your members have bring to the
table, I think it has helped make this proposal increasingly better to try to
address some of those concerns, incremental none the less, but moving
ourselves to be much more responsive and holding to quality standards.
I do feel that these kind of issues are very much core in terms of what exactly
happens with North Tryon, what is sustainable.
You have this handout before you on the twelve initiatives and I can go over
those with you if you like or tweaking of the NAIOP presentation with regards
to major items that were addressed at that presentation.
I really think the most benefit the Committee would get today, since they have
been through the initiatives, I think you need to understand and know the
resources that we are suggesting in next year’s budget and we want you to be
aware of these since you have been the Committee, the studiers, the ones
who have given us direction and feedback that we are going to present on
April 16th, and it will include the additional positions as recommendations for
next year’s budget. David, if you would like to just touch on the positions that
are going to be requested.
The positions that are attributed are the different review agencies in the City,
the first is Engineering and Property Management, Land Development Division.
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 15
We are proposing that two positions be added and that is specifically for the
new One-Stop Permitting Center. The impact is a 6% increase to the current
user fees and that will impact 16 user fees. Those two positions are, one an
Engineering Assistant, a technical position for all the gateway reviews. As
people come into the Permit Center with the application or plan we will have a
person there who can do a gateway on the spot and determine whether we
can accept those plans for review or they don’t meet that minimum park area.
The second person is an additional Customer Service person. We currently
have one person at the Land Development desk working up front and that is to
receive all the plans for the commercial projects, but this one permit center
will also be collecting all the plans for the subdivisions as well and processing
them and collecting payments so we need an additional person for that.
Question, Answers, Comments
I’ve got one question and I’m not sure of the status. Are we still looking at
potentially moving that operation to the first floor of this building?
Eventually it may be, but we want to do a pilot, as an example, the 14th floor
to make sure that we get all the pieces of the puzzle that it works well before
we invest the kind of money to restructure a first floor operation. We are
going to do a pilot, but that is something we are looking to do in the first year
of this new permitting process.
So there are no capital dollars tied to this and these are all operational
expenses related to these positions that are going to be funded through 100%
recovery of user fees.
What kind of movement can we encourage to collaborate with … so we can
co-locate …
That was one of the chief comments throughout this whole process by all of
you, by the users who were at the main meeting last week, by the Business
Advisory Committee. What we are doing at this point is getting our house in
order so that we can be as uniform, collaborative, co-locative, consolidated as
we can and the next iteration of this is how can we and the County co-locate
in order to get the advantages and the efficiencies of being able to not only
talk electronically and technology, but being able to talk face to face and have
a true One-Stop location. It doesn’t have to be consolidation of City and
County operations. It is a co-location of City and County operations. We don’t
feel that we ought to move our operations out to Freedom Drive because if we
do that we lose touch with all the other persons, talent and expertise in this
building where we bounce things and have collaboration and integration of all
the other things that go on on a daily basis inside those operations. You have
to help us and we have to help you figure out what is the right outreach to the
County to ultimately choose a site for co-location for these activities that can
truly benefit the customer in the greatest way. This helps the customer, but I
still don’t think it gets the customer everything that the customer deserves.
I would like to recognize Mr. Shields, Mecklenburg County.
Do you want to discuss fire and we have a representative from the Fire
Department as well.
With Fire, we are proposing to have one Plans Examiner which is a reviewer.
The impact of that is 6% increase and it impacts 18 user fees. With respect to
Fire, they are a reviewer in the Building Permit process down at Hal Marshall
and the County is at its depth. … When that happens and we don’t have staff
we become the bottleneck and that is what we are trying to avoid with that
new position. With respect to CDOT, we are proposing to have a Plans Review
Engineer and an Engineering Project Manager. Those two positions will impact
at a 13% increase in the current fees and impact five user fees. I believe
these two positions were asked last year as well in service level change
ED & Planning Committee
Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 16
requested that you folks currently had and meet their current goals in the plan
review process. I think CDOT is currently understaffed and this is a way to get
staffed up and to meet our new benchmark and goals for the process
improvement. With regards to Planning, there is no person proposed to be
added, but they have unfrozen one position to help with this process
I was listening to what you asked us to do. Is it appropriate for the
Committee to recommend these initiatives and the budgetary proposal back to
Council in anticipation of the Budget Work session?
You can either do that today in advance of April 16th or you can speak to it as
it is presented on the 16th. We don’t have to bring it back here if you don’t
want it back here.
My sense is that if everyone is ready, I would like to send the Committee’s
support and have that coming back to Council.
That would be excellent.
Mitchell made the motion to recommend to Council to approve Land
Development Services recommendation to improve the City’s Plan Review
Process, and include 5 new positions for enhancing the permitting Plan Review
Process. Ms. Kinsey seconded the motion and the vote was recorded as
This is great work and we’ve come a long way to work this and I appreciate
the cooperation from all the departments involved to try to facilitate this. This
is a big step one, but as you all know there are more steps to be taken and
some of them are out of our control. Bobbie, we certainly look forward to
working with you and the County trying to continue to bring operations closer
to facilitate quality development for the City and County.
Northlake Area Plan
John Lassiter, Chair: The last item on the agenda is the Northlake Area Plan and this is
probably our fourth bite of the apple. The last two meetings have really been focused on the
areas of concern which are debates between Planning staff and land owners relative to Areas,
five, six and seven and the intensities that are recommended by the Planning staff and the
intensities that are preferred by the land owners. We asked staff to come back and do some
additional analysis on that in anticipation of a decision and that is where we are today.
I think you have done a great job of addressing this topic, and in the interest
of time, I will turn it over to Alysia Osborne to briefly go in order of the slides
since we kind of jumped around with them at our last meeting.
Alysia used a PowerPoint for her presentation to the Committee
Questions, Answers & Comments
Those are not new changes, those are the changes that were approved before
so there has been no changes since our last meeting?
No, not at all – these are things you already know.
Osborne continued her presentation with slides on Page 2
Before you go on, I want to be sure I understand what that means. Let’s say
I’m in Area six and I come in with a plan that takes office from 70,000 feet to
400,000 feet. I argue that it in fact increases accessibility and connectivity,
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 17
that it has pedestrian flow and mobility, creates a more sense of place and
urban design. What is going to be the staff’s recommendation relative to that
rezoning? It will not be what the Plan states.
I think the other objective that it is compatible with the …
I want to be honest about the whole thing and my sense is staff’s opinion is
that the recommended land use in the Plan is more than sufficient to meet the
demands of the surrounding road network and that the intensity affect belongs
to other parts of the Plan as opposed to increase intensity as recommended by
the land owner and unless there is a dramatic change in the general area is
not going to support the kind of intensity that is being requested by the land
owner of five, six and seven.
John, I would say generally what you just said is correct. We believe that we
have done the necessary research, the necessary holistic look at the entire
areas, not just a couple of parcels within that geography and we reached that
conclusion, not based upon intuition. We based it on part data, discussions
with other property owners and those other property owners desire to have
higher intensity and then we have to balance all of those against the entire
area. The area that in particular, the transportation impact could be very
dangerous. I feel in order to be true to the Plan, I think we would have to
consider that proposal because we have outlined opportunities to increase
intensity so I think we would have to look at it as a serious proposal. Our
major concern on the appropriateness of that level of intensity with all the
infrastructure around the mall, but more importantly the maturity of the
existing mall because there isn’t good connectivity other than Northlake Centre
Parkway, between the mall so that it is an extension of the mall versus
another mall development and that is kind of what we are looking at, that
intensity of development of being almost another mall versus a natural
progression and extension or kind of like anticipation of the existing mall.
What I hoped was more of a compromise to come up with a development plan
that is closer to the expectation of the land owners and that hasn’t occurred. I
want to make sure I understand what this is. What I would have preferred
this to be would be a more refined alternative scenario that would show what
that looks like. So if someone were to meet some or all of these requirements
what is the flexibility to that? Does it mean that if you get X number of jobs
that were created as part of the office development in Area seven, for
example, that because of that generating job activity in related higher still
residential and what would seem to have less impact that it would in fact
justify that intensification. What I am fearful of is that this language, though
the intent may be good today, will never be met by somebody who comes in
and says I’m meeting those. The underlying philosophy is the density is going
to remain in other parts of this Plan and the maximum density is pretty much
reached within those things and because you are not going to have significant
new road network constructed because of development pattern by its very
nature you can never do that.
I think our challenge is almost just the sheer nature of the location and trying
to respond to a site that without upgrading the existing infrastructure it is just
simply problematic. I think by a number of changes in the resolution that we
have made to the property owners, there is an intent by staff to try to
accommodate the desires of the property owners, but we have to look at
4,100 acres and the appropriateness of the variety of development intensity
that were either recommended by staff, desired by property owners and on
and on.
For example, the church that is being up for a rezoning
recommendation that didn’t start out with staff supporting retail, so we have
really tried to be as flexible as we could. This one is so important in terms of
being the core. It is the center of this area and we are very concerned and if
ED & Planning Committee
Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 18
we allow that intensity to come on line too quickly, not only does it impact
infrastructure, but we think it impacts viability of the existing regional mall.
You know what happens to regional malls when they have too
competition and the market being snuffed away from them.
What kinds of infrastructure assumptions are embedded in this Plan? In other
words, is this Plan wrapped around the roads that we as a city and state are
going to put in there, but are unfunded or is it roads that we know are funded
and are actually going to go in?
I’m going to ask CDOT to come in on this because he has worked more on this
from a technical perspective. First let me say that we have taken Council’s
focus area goal of being the city …. and transportation to heart and we are
not just having it as a lofty goal and have been true trying to operationalize it
so you will see it in our land use planning, you will see it in our development
and I think it can be applied to meet your goal, but also be as flexible as we
can in terms of land use intensity because I am pro-density by any stretch of
the imagination in an appropriate location and because I think our growth is
about strategic growth.
The Northlake Area Plan as recommended by the Planning Commission
assumes that in the future all of the long-range transportation plan
improvements will be funded and constructed in order to support the level of
density that is in the Plan. That includes four-lanes for most of the roads, most
of the major thoroughfares were done in the Northlake Area Plan and also
another additional roadway improvement for connectivity will be an extension
of Hucks Road across I-77 via Oak Ridge and actually intersecting with
Commerce Centre Parkway. That is important because it provides additional
east/west connectivity to compliment W. T. Harris Boulevard to the south. It
carries most of the east/west traffic right now. We analyzed it one step
further to examine what the requirements would be, if in fact, the increased
level of intensity were supportable and it would require, in order for traffic to
operate an acceptable level of service, three things. All the long-range
transportation plan improvements would be in place, that the Hucks Road
Extension over I-77 to Commerce Centre Parkway would be built, and also
that an equivalent transportation improvement that would support 8,000 rush
hour trips per day would be built to support the site plan that would come
forward through the rezoning process for this increased intensity. 8,000 rush
hour trips per day is equivalent to a six-lane freeway operating at level of
service C.
You are making that assumptions based on the densities that are in the
recommended Plan?
The recommended Plan could be supported by everything except the last
improvement which would be transportation improvements to support the
additional 8,000 rush hour trips per day.
Let me give you my take on this because we have an opportunity to get this
right or really screw it up. I think if you get the infrastructure put in here a
future Council can determine that more density works. With all due respect to
staff, the Council has taken issue with staff’s position on area plans in the
past. This gets back to something that is going to be probably beating this
drum over and over again about the fact that our infrastructure spending is
starting to impact our economic growth as a community. This is a case in
point. I have no confidence right now that that infrastructure is going to get
built out on time. If our assumptions that have been invented into our
recommended Plan don’t provide the infrastructure that we are assuming will
be there at a lower density, then if we don’t have that infrastructure and we
put higher density in there it is going to make it worse. As much as I would
like to think that we would be in a position in the future to have more density,
ED & Planning Committee
Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 19
to get the tax base growth out of that to have the kind of things that have
been proposed, I can’t in good conscious do that right now, not until I see how
things play out. I’m going to strongly support the staff’s recommendation but
it is not because I don’t think the developer or the property owner have bad
ideas, it is just that I think the State and even the City haven’t been doing
what we need to do to put the infrastructure in there and until I see proof that
we have I can’t do that.
I think the issue is pretty well defined.
Foxx made a motion to make a recommendation to City Council on the
adoption of the Northlake Area Plan with the recommended revisions to the
draft document. Ms. Carter seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous.
When we first started the Northlake Area Plan, I was trying to get it done in
November of 2007 so here we are in April, 2008. I would like to be a little
sensitive to one of the property owners who have done a great job in that area
and they have been very committed to Northlake Area Plan. Could I ask for
feedback on the flexibility of staff?
We have discussed on many occasions with Debra and her folks, and they
have done a great job with this Plan. It is true that it covers a lot more land
than just the areas we have been talking about most recently. It just happens
that those areas are the critical areas. Those are the vacant tracts, tracts that
are single ownership, tracts with best exposure to the interstate and have the
highest potential for development. We have been very focused on that. We
continue to be concerned about the five statements and I will be happy to put
them back up there or just pick one at random and it was one that wasn’t
talked about. Compatibility with surrounding development. I would pose to
you the question if I had a piece of property that is fronted on two sides by the
interstate, a third side by a major thoroughfare and a fourth side by a regional
mall, what do you think would be compatible with that. We would suggest to
you that what would be compatible with that is something on the scale of
some of the developments that we see now at Southpark. Some of the
developments that I have seen proposed in other locations like Whitehall. I
think the zoning case that has been filed for that is 2.25 million square feet of
new office development on a tract much smaller than area seven that I just
described bounded by those four elements. Please help me understand what
we would have to do to convince Debra and her staff of a development of that
level of intensity. How would I demonstrate to her that it is compatible with
surrounding development? I think that level of intensity is compatible with
interstate frontage and high profile regional locations, but those few words
taken by themselves and that is not all because there is other language in
some of the other versions of the text that talks about these two documents
as being used in the decision making process as well. That is what we have
been looking for. We understand that perhaps there needs to be a threshold
and we wanted to talk more about the vision than numbers and now we are
talking about numbers. I feel on the guide of that to come and stand before
Debra, Melony and Alysia and then appear before you and try to explain how
the guy that I’ve got sitting in the row right behind me, whose got a multimillion dollar or billion dollar investment he wants to make can’t do it meeting
these tests which aren’t themselves defined. That is all we’ve been trying to
figure out. That is all we’ve asked for in the latter phases of this process is
help us understand. Debra said at the last meeting we agree with the vision,
we are on board, urban is a good thing. She is all about density and there is
no question about that in certain areas. We believe this is one of those areas.
We believe that a wide variety of the Council’s policy dealing with economic
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 20
development and other things physically talk about centers and this is one of
those centers. The piece that is missing in our opinion at this point in time,
and the difference in between the numbers may not be that big of a deal even
though the last series of handouts have been some disagreements, so we are
not sure which numbers are which anymore. The difference is when I go to
answer the questions to you, Jim is going to tell me about the 20 pages in this
document which is the process to figure out bicycle level of service. I’m sure
that is important, but there is nothing in any of those five points right there
that talks about economic development or any of the other Council policies in
terms of job creation, tax base creation, etc. We are asking for a balance. We
are asking for that to be weighed at least as critically in some of the decisions
that will be made in this Plan area on specific land development proposals.
That that is as important as a bicycle level of service or a sense of place
because no developer is going to come in and propose something that is not
going to have those elements. It just is not done anymore, so I would ask you
to consider before you vote if there is someway that we can find, or that you
can find, because I have to come back to you to get your vote to bring forward
a development proposal. If I don’t know what it takes to do it, I’m asking do
you know what it takes to do it. What test do I have to meet and do we have
the test in Northlake different than tests in other parts of the City. That is also
important to us as well. Mr. Chairman, that may have been more of an
answer than you wanted.
I think I can safely say that was enough.
We’ve been sitting here for over two hours and I’m going brain dead, but I’m
going to make sure I understand. What you are asking us to do is approve or
disapprove this Plan?
No the motion that is on the table is to approve the Plan as recommended by
staff with this language now inserted that creates some flexibility for increased
intensity should you meet more and more of those requirements.
But, even if we approve this Plan anything that comes before us in the way of
a petition, we can do what we want to with it, right?
I think I have indicated my sense that I am not satisfied with the Plan. I do
not feel we have done our best work relative to how we want the development
to occur on various scenarios within these critical land masses. There are also
some issues with properties along Mount Holly-Huntersville Road which have
been, I think even though this is not a Small Area Plan, have been gapped out
and as a consequence are left undevelopable and unusable in their current
sense and we should have been more cognizant of the long-term applications
as, not what Mount Holly-Huntersville is going to look like and it does not have
a single family residential future. Especially in light of the rezoning that is
before Council now. I think we should fix that, so I’m going to vote against
the motion.
Walter did bring up one criteria which I think we should consider – job
creation. Was that something important enough for our future vision of
I don’t know if you are asking questions of whether we included it as part of,
and what we felt like we could do is to provide information that we, from a
staff perspective, control and are able to access and analyze, but the job
creation thing obviously is a most economic development project. If we have a
benchmark of creating certain numbers of jobs, I don’t know if that was
potentially even known at the time of the rezoning of that section. We could
put it there but then … the property owner next year or two months from now
and let that be appropriate language for the future property owner. If that is
an important criteria we can add it, the issue is just how will you measure it
and how do we assess it as part of the evaluation. If I could take one more
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Meeting Summary for April 2, 2008
Page 21
minute and build upon what Ms. Kinsey said and what Walter said, how does
he come to staff. He comes to staff the way he comes to staff today to
convince us that a project and the property owner that he represents wants to
do something, and he is very good at advocating for his position. We are
using this as a way for us to frame and shape proposals for higher intensity
development. If you go back to our earlier information, what the Plan is
recommending is actually pushing the envelope in terms of infrastructure
adequacy. We have kind of violated the move of very good integration but
because we think this area is so important, that it is the center, but the
intensity that we put there and the more that we don’t have the adequate
transportation, it is not a center. It is not pedestrian-friendly. It goes away
from the actual vision that we had. The second thing I would suggest in terms
of the Mount Holly-Huntersville, we did try to work with the property owner,
we looked at it conceptually, we did recommend a higher intensity
development albeit at six units to the acre, but it is three now.
Do you think it is an advantage for staff to have continued discussions,
especially addressing the part about the infrastructure for Northlake? Is there
any value for staff to defer this and have continued discussion?
I will be honest with you, my staff and I have spent a tremendous amount of
time on this project. I feel is a little bit of … we spent about that much time
with some of the other property owners really trying to work through some
things and we came to a resolution relatively quickly. It is not that I am
saying that we don’t want to work through this, but I’m just not certain what
sufficient information or approach or recommendation …. If we truly want to
say in the spirit of the Plan and vision of the Plan 4,100 acres, not just three
acres because honestly, if we adjust something in six, seven and eight it
seems we’ve got to go back and adjust something somewhere else.
If the Committee recommends sending this forward, there will a month
between now and the time it goes to Council for action. There will be an
opportunity for people to continue …
The vote was taken on the motion and was recorded as follows:
Carter, Foxx, Kinsey and Mitchell.
The vote is 4 to 1 and this will come to Council probably the second meeting
in May.
Next Meeting
April 16th is your next scheduled meeting but it conflicts with the Budget
Retreat. We need to think about the next time you would want to meet.
I think Angela has tried to identify a time. Let me suggest that I communicate
with our primary staff on what we need to cover and see what things are
pressing for mid-April and May. We may be able to take a short recess in midmonth because of budgetary constraints. If there is something pressing, we
will make sure we get a meeting otherwise we may just wait.
I think we could wait until the first week of May if that would be your choice.
The meeting adjourned at 2:15 p.m.