Thursday, August 9, 2007

Letters to the Mayor here:

Post your letters to the Mayor here so others can have some examples:

7 comments:

Save Paramount Admin. said...

August 9, 2007

In regards to: Development of the southeast corner of Linder and Chinden
roads

Tammy de Weerd
Mayor
33 E. Idaho Ave.
Meridian, Idaho 83642-2300

Anna Canning
Planning Director
660 E. Watertower
Suite 202
Meridian, Idaho 83642

Dear Mayor and Mrs. Canning,

Last evening I attended a pitch by Landmark Development Group, DMG Real
Estate Partners, and CSHQA Architects concerning their development of
the southeast corner of Linder and Chinden roads. I am a resident of
Paramount Subdivision and reside within 300 feet of the subject
property. I am pleased to see this property being developed, but I have
serious concerns about the plan as it was proposed.

Problem 1: the proposed project does not appear to fit the city’s plan.
The City of Meridian Future Land Use Map designates this corner property
to be “mixed use – community”. I believe that is, the portion of the
property that has not already been annexed as medium density
residential. The pitch I saw last evening included 2 large box stores, a
strip mall, and multiple pad sites that in total must (my guess) exceed
700,000 square feet of retail in addition to a few apartments
overlooking the beautiful, expansive box store rooftops, not what I
would call quality multi family which would require ponds, parks and
other amenities. I could not characterize this proposal as anything
other than “mixed use-regional” at best. A significant difference from
what I believe the city intended. In fact, the land use map as amended
in 2006 designates areas along Eagle Road with much smaller developments
as “commercial” with much of the rest of Eagle designated “mixed
use-regional”. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not see anything of this
magnitude in an area marked “mixed use – community” anywhere. This
proposal looks no different than anything you might find at Eagle and
Fairview. My wife and I relied on this map when we made the decision to
purchase this house. Some of our neighbors say they did the same. We
relied on "mixed use-community" to be smaller in scale than "mixed
use-regional".

Problem 2: the project does not follow the city’s design guide lines. I
applaud your efforts to implement the Wardle and Associates NMAP into
the city planning. I also applaud you, the city council, and the
planning department for embracing the new urbanism ideals foreshadowed
in NMAP. The city’s new design guidelines concentrate high intensity
development (high traffic retail, restaurants etc.) at a center point
with the intensity lowering (offices and professional services) as
development moves away, providing a transitioning buffer to residential
areas. The city’s plan utilizes many small clusters of neighborhood
centers within walking distance of residences. What I saw this evening
follows the same old pattern of placing huge regional centers (with
their obviously very high traffic intensity) backed up to residences.
The only buffer a small berm with some trees that will fill in 15 years.
A blight that we all point to and say look, there was some poor
planning, no matter how pretty the paint. This project is obviously not
about the local community when it faces the major arterials with its
back turned to the neighborhood. Not what you would call welcoming from
the perspective of the people that live around it. We want this
developed, but we want it to be a part of our community that welcomes
us, fits in, and is a good neighbor. We want this development to follow
the guidelines the city has set out.

Problem 3: excessive access points to Chinden Blvd. (US 20/SH 26) will
add to already intolerable congestion. The City of Meridian, ACHD, and
ITD have each identified Chinden Boulevard as a major east-west transit
corridor. Meridian and ACHD both list it as 45 to 55 mph limited access
corridor. I have even read where the City of Meridian would like to
limit access to Chinden to the ½ mile locations between arterials. The
plan as shown hathe existing signalized ½ mile access. The developer’s representative
even had the audacity to say that we know that the city of Meridian only
wants access at the half mile points but that doesn’t work for us and
ITD rules here. Besides, ITD has already told us that at least the major
access will probably be approved if not the other two. The developer
even told us that additional access to Chinden would improve traffic
flow from what it is now. My thought being, that is why Meridian wants
to limit access, to make things more congested! Wow, I am glad this
developer is here to save me.

These were the main problems I saw, although I also saw a multitude of
other issues. I have spent years working for civil engineering and land
development firms. For the past 9 years I have been teaching classes in
civil design and land planning. For the past year I have been at Boise
State. It is my opinion that what they are presenting is a decent if not
better than average typical big box strip mall with acres and acres of
asphalt to accommodate vehicular traffic coming from miles around. It is
what we see every day on Fairview or Eagle Road or anywhere else in
America. Actually, years ago I would have been proud to call this one of
my designs. It has a lot of pretty paint and architectural details. It
is relatively attractive and people will come from all around to shop
there. This attracts the big box stores and the big bucks. It is
regional. It is big money for the developer and retailers, all at the
cost of the neighborhood. I have since learned better, I embrace many of
the tenants of new urbanisim, no one wants to live next to something
like this. The developers have proof that in the red hot housing market
of the last couple of years your market value won’t decrease. What about
when the housing market isn’t so red hot? What about when people have
many choices for homes, would they choose to live next to this? Why then
does the City of Meridian embrace guidelines that describe in detail how
to avoid this situation?

When we say sprawl we point to this as one of the main ingredients. This
is the blight that new urbanism is trying to address. I would truly like
to see this area developed. It should be commercial. It should also fall
within the guidelines the city has set up. This could be a very nice
development if the guidelines are followed, but that requires changing
the old mindsets and not approving variances and conditional use permits
that side step the plans the city has in place.

I know all to well how valuable your time can be, I appreciate your
taking the time to allow me to share my thoughts. I also look forward to
meeting both of you. My roots in Boise and the valley go back several
generations and although I have been gone for about ten years, having
only returned here six months ago, I intend on being an active
participant in the affairs of my community. Please feel free to contact
me at 898-9010 or at josephmarshall@boisestate.edu with any questions or
suggestions you might have or are willing to share.

Joseph W. Marshall

Save Paramount Admin. said...

Dear Mayor, Please, Please, Please do not allow traffic for the new shopping center to go through the Paramount neighborhood. Our streets are quiet and full of children playing. Why would you want to allow that. I live on Arliss street and I'm concerned. If you don't want to have big trucks turning on Chinden and Linder, have the developer pay to fix the intersection to make that possible. I'm being treated for cancer right now, so I am unable to go to the meeting.

Just please keep in mind with an elementary school and H.S. in our neighborhood how many families moved in here with children because of the schools.

Please remember Paramount!

Save Paramount Admin. said...

Mayor de Weerdt,

I attended a meeting last evening at which a developer's representative presented a plan to make significant changes to what we at Paramount were told would be developed at the corner of Linder and Chinden.

The land use plan we were assured of when we moved into Paramount was for mixed use residential and light commercial. The plans presented included three big box retailers, fast food restaraunts and other retail shops; defined as a regional retail center.

My family selected Paramount as it was a well planned community with exceptional schools, churches and projected available professional services. This new proposal is very disappointing. As with our neighbors, we moved to Paramount for it's distance away from retail services such as Grocery and Home Improvement.

The plan would require traffic flows through our community, impose significant noise from the developed area and potential public safety issues.

It was apparent to me that the developer is only willing to communicate the minimum to community, would only provide vague answers (if at all) and acted like this development was a done deal!

My wife and I would appreciate your attention to this matter! We want Paramount to be a source of pride within the City of Meridian, not a subdivision with significantly depressed home values and distraught home owners.

Regards,

David W. Hamilton

Save Paramount Admin. said...

Dear Ms. Mayor,

My family and I recently moved to Meridian from out of state when I
took a job as a litigator for a real estate develoment firm located
here. We looked at a lot of developments before choosing to move to
Paramount in Meridian. We enjoy Idaho and Meridian very much and have
enjoyed getting to know our neighbors. We look forward to getting
involved in Meridian events.

Recently, developers walked by our home and told me that they were
hoping to develop the land to the north of Paramount (literally across
the fence from my backyard). They indicated that they want to build
big-box stores and put in other multi-tenant buildings in this space.
I understand some of my neighbors have already written to you to
express their concerns.

To be honest, this proposal sounds disingenous to me. I doubt big box
retailers would want to be in such a quiet residential area, miles
from other retail, where Chinden is still a two lane road. I would
also hope that you and the city council would help us resist such
dramatic changes to Meridian's plan for development that would detract
from our budding community here in Paramount and the surrounding area.
I know that a number of us have already begun to organize to resist
any such changes.

If and when this land on the southeast corner of Chinden and Linder is
annexed, it should be zoned as indicated in the City of Meridian
Future Land Use Map, according to the plan for development.

Furthermore, when the mixed-use community portion of the land is
developed, measures should be taken to preserve the character of our
beautiful neighborhood. Lighting and noise should be strictly
controlled. Restaurants should not be allowed, or should be regulated
to minimize odors. Trash removal needs to be regulated so that it
does not occur at hours that would disturb the neighborhood.

Please let me know how your office views the development of this area.
Have you dealt with these developers before? Is it common to propose
something outrageous up front in hopes of getting more concessions
later? I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Jeremy O. Evans

Admin. said...

Tammy de Weerd, Mayor
City of Meridian
33 E. Idaho Avenue
Meridian Idaho

Dear Mayor de Weerd,

We are writing to express our concern regarding a proposal to build two big box stores on the southeast corner of Chinden Boulevard and Linder Road. As residents of the Paramount Subdivision we are adamantly opposed to this proposal.

This property is currently designated as medium density residential and mixed use community which are uses that best fit the neighborhood. This area is going to continue to develop, but consideration regarding the impact that development has on everyday life in the immediate area is absolutely necessary.

The disruption to the traffic flow within Paramount will be very significant and beyond the safe design capacity for the streets of our community. I am not referring to personal vehicles. The fact is there will be at least 70 - 80 semi trucks per day driving through Paramount to make deliveries. This is unacceptable. The direct impact of this proposed development will be a definite reduction in all the property values in the vicinity. That fact can not be argued.

My husband Dan and I will be attending the meeting on Wednesday, August 8, 2007, where this issue will be discussed. We are hoping that our concerns will be unfounded. The letter the residents of Paramount received from the developer implied that the project is a "done deal". We do not believe that this is true. It is our understanding that an amendment to the Meridian Land Use plan is required and that has not yet been discussed or approved by the City of Meridian.

We urge you and the Planning Department to fulfill your duty to the residents of this area by strictly following the City's comprehensive plan. We appreciate your consideration of our concerns.


Sincerely,


Moselle and Dan Ball

Jeffrey & Lori B. said...

August 12, 2007

Tammy de Weerd
Mayor
33 E. Idaho Ave.
Meridian, Idaho 83642-2300

Anna Canning
Planning Director
660 E. Watertower
Suite 202
Meridian, Idaho 83642


Dear Mayor and Ms. Canning:

My name is Jeffrey Badigian, I live at 6161 N. Booth in Meridian, ID. I am a resident of the Paramount Subdivision. I am writing to you today because we enjoy living in Meridian and are concerned there is a situation evolving that may threaten the safety and well being of our family, as well as the value of the homes in the Paramount subdivision.

I am married and have two young children. When we moved here, just over one year ago, we had chosen a lot that has approximately eighty to ninety acres of undeveloped land behind it, which is located on the southeast corner of Chinden and Linder. Prior to purchasing our house we did our homework, and asked a lot of questions. We consulted sales people, developers, builders, realtors and also checked the city's future development plans to see what they would be developing on this land behind our new home, if we purchased here. The current city plan illustrated as "mixed use - community" with medium density residential near the subdivision. The plan showed that, by our best guess, we would have at least another couple of streets of residential area behind our house followed by an area where there would be some mixed use community. In this mixed use community area we, and others, envisioned some small businesses / shops, or restaurants. There was also the issue of traffic in our neighborhood. Because we have young children, we did not want to live in a neighborhood that had more than light traffic, so our children could safely play outside. So, based on those future development outlines that the City of Meridian has presented to the public, the quite family friendly atmosphere of an "out of the way" subdivision like Paramount, which has lots of families with young children just like ours, nearby schools and the way the street layout was somewhat isolated from the main roads, we felt this was perfect for us!

On August 8, 2007 our subdivision was presented with a development proposition that, to us, is extremely disturbing. We were gathered together at a neighborhood meeting and shown plans by Landmark Development Group, DMG Real Estate Partners, and CSHQA Architects that they will be submitting for approval to the City of Meridian. They are proposing that the City annex the entire eighty acre area on the Southeast corner of Linder and Chinden to be zoned as a what I believe is mixed use - regional. This would allow the developer to bring in two "big box" stores and a strip-mall to this area. We believe these stores to be Fred Meyer and Home Depot, although the developer would not confirm that at the meeting. Their plan shows these "big box stores" located where the current plan has medium density residential, right next to the subdivision. The developer claims that they are dedicated to plan this build so that it will not have any major negative impact on our subdivision. Yet, at the same time they are proposing that two thoroughfares pass directly through our neighborhoods into their development. Additionally, if the annexation progresses in favor of their plan, there would be another entrance off of Chinden to their development which would utilize the current north entrance gate to Paramount.

A few of the conditions that are unacceptable to us are as follows. We will have these "big box" stores right in our back yards. During construction these stores will create enormous environmental impacts through air and noise pollution. As I'm sure you know, the current traffic on both Chinden and Linder streets during most of the day, but especially in the morning and the evening, is terrible. The traffic that would result from the construction of this project, and the draw of customers from around the community to the stores when they are finished, will only worsen the stress that is being put on an already congested highway. Especially when they can't even offer adequate access to their stores from the highway. There will be delivery trucks to add to the noise and air pollution. I am positive that I do not want a diesel truck idling behind my house for twelve hours a day. In their development plan there is also a fast food restaurant that would be in very close proximity to the new high school (Rocky Mountain High School) which I believe will be an open campus. The quickest way from the school to the shopping center will be through our neighborhood. I can only imagine how many kids will be driving forty miles per hour down the residential streets (Arliss & Bergman) at lunch time, from the school to the restaurant and back. My parents live on Arliss and this is where my children are at during the day while myself and my wife are working. This would introduce more traffic through the neighborhood, introduce more air pollution, noise pollution and danger to the neighborhood and all of the residents children. Any parent would be alarmed by this alone, but as the parents of a child with severe asthma I can tell you that this is completely unacceptable to us. I would also like to mention the parking lot lights that will be on continuously and will be a huge nuisance. Second to the pollution and traffic problems is the issue of declining property value in an already unstable market. We are simply not willing to compromise the value of the equity in our home so that some financial giants can come in and squeeze more money out of our community than they already are. We also believe that the developer may have been derelict in his duty to adequately inform all residents within 300 feet of this development, which is apparently required prior to the application being submitted. I am aware of several people who did not receive notice of the preliminary neighborhood meeting. The only way these neighbors found out about the meeting was through a networking system of concerned neighbors..

It is our opinion , that this is an impetuous plan made by people who are only interested in making a profit, with no consideration for our community. We are strongly opposed to their project and would like the City of Meridian to deny the annexation and variances proposed by the above. We would like to see the City of Meridian to stand behind the Comprehensive Plan already in place for this land.

We have made life decisions to live in this community based upon this Comprehensive Plan and feel that it is unacceptable to change it or to compromise the type of environment that we are striving to create for our family as well as our fine city. The Paramount subdivision is currently a quite somewhat secluded family friendly environment and we believe it should remain this way. We are not opposed to developing this land however, we would like the city to follow the current plan.

I appreciate you taking your time to address this matter. I look forward to working with you and your office to find an acceptable alternative that will benefit our city as well as our community.

Respectfully,

Jeffrey D. Badigian

Mike & Danielle Lawrence said...

Hi, our names are Mike & Danielle Lawrence. We live at 1114 W Bacall St in Paramount subdivision located in meridian on the southeast corner of Chinden and Linder. We would like to voice our opposition to the proposal of DMG Real Estate Partners and Landmark Development. My wife has lived here almost all of her life attending elementary through high school in meridian. I have lived in Idaho since I was 12, almost 30 now. I looked forward to moving to meridian as it has always been my favorite city. About 4 years ago we purchased our first home together off of franklin and linder. Last year we built the house we have been dreaming of building for years. It is an incredible home located in the perfect neighborhood of paramount. We just had our firstborn and realized that our dream house would have to be somewhere that had a safe neighborhood for children and great schools, ultimately had to be perfect for raising our family. Paramount was it. We did a lot of neighborhood and development research before deciding this was undoubtably the best location available. Especially when watching the development model they had, we were able to see what else would be coming.

Now to our complete dismay we are aware of what DMG and Landmark are wanting to put in my backyard. Literally. We will have the privelege of hearing semi's delivering goods to these proposed businesses all hours of night and day. They are also wanting to open the streets on either side of our block to allow traffic in and out of our wonderful neighborhood. We would like to stress at this time, we have a 2 year old child and another on the way. This is not the safety we had in mind when deciding where to build our home. We were informed this would be more residential. That would be ok. This is not. We are not cherishing the idea of our homevalue decreasing because of the wonderful view of a giant brick building right behind our home. Nor the security risk of having alley access directly behind my home, considering poor lit back alleys seems to be a gathering place of people up to no good. Ultimately, the point we want you to understand is we would have in NO WAY build our home in this city knowing this development would even be considered.

We would like to oppose the variation from the meridian and zoning and planning commission for the south east corner and linder and chinden, which would include no variation from the meridan comprehensive plan and future land use map adopted on march 21, 2006 or the standards of the blueprint for good growth adopted september 15, 2006. This would keep this land designated as medium density residential and mixed use community for area residents. Also limiting thrught traffic access from paramount neighborhood streets. As well as keeping IDT and ADA county highway department to make NO variation to their standard access limits.

We are most certain you will do the right thing here. This neighborhood was built around family and family living. We hardly think stuffing massive box stores in our backyard constitutes family living. Please save Paramount from this tragedy. Again, we stress, We would not have built our home even in meridian if we knew that the city of meridian would allow something of this nature to pass. Might we point out the northwest corner is for sale and completely empty of development at this time. Maybe there is a better location nearby that could accommodate everyone's best interests. Thanks for hearing our points,

Mike & Danielle Lawrence
1114 W Bacall St
Meridian, ID 83646