A three hour meeting! Robert Goudie says he is determined to review a revised draft at a "final" meeting next week.
I endorsed Joe Stower's minority dissent on residential-commercial balance. Robert rejected any idea of change saying at 1 to 1 the draft envisions 15,000 new residential units. Enough! Joe Stowers thought some of the original TC pioneers like Jim Cleveland should have been brought in earlier to give some perspective on the original TC vision, which he thinks supports his position.
Joe also noted that the Montgomery planning staff had some excellent ideas on transportation analysis and were behind a 4 to 1 ratio to get people out of cars.
Rob Whitfield lamented the absence of a clear transportation plan from the county and Joe Leighton stressed the need for finding a way to finance improvements.
Balance issues: The committee continued on its way to disregard retail and hotel in any balance calculations (Comment: What this essentially means is more office in relation to residential). Committee members argued that retail is off peak and outside conventioneers stay put. There was discussion of the types of retail sought and of designating some streets as retail. Some thought this a good idea, others said let the market determine where retail goes.
(Comment: Two of the committee members noted that there would be a "test" of this balance impact when the county comes forth with its transportation analysis this fall, suggesting at least some view all this as tentative.)
Incentives: A property owner present had raised the issues of incentives to encourage residential development (less parking, tax incentives etc). This led to an extensive discussion of the issue with various views pro and con coming forth. One suggestion was to have incentives on the top to encourage more residential than the 1-1 formula. Others wanted incentives on the bottom to get residential started. The upshot was a decision to have Mark Looney draft language on this issue for consideration next week. (Mark is a big proponent of lowering the barriers for initial entry into residential construction.)
Open Space: Began with an interesting but out of place discussion by RA officer Patricia Greenberg on eliminating exotic and no-native invasive species !
One issue was the FCPA "requirement" for urban open space. This apparently would amount to 30 acres under proposed density in the entire TC area. Larry Butler, director of RA parks, did not openly endorse the FCPA position, but said that open space should be publicly accessible (a problem with rooftop parks) and that bigger parcels were better--more flexibility and a needed site for community events. The committee, with support from one of the major property owners, strongly rejected the FCPA urban standard as requiring too much park land.
The second issue was discussion of a 4-6 acre central park in the south station area. Various issues raised about where it would go, who would develop and control it(RA? FCPA? the developers?), and what it would be for. Brookfield Rep raised many objections (Why should we bear this burden? Would not basketball courts make noise and drive away residents?, etc). The committee eventually agreed to support a "large park" in the area whose location would be generally designated. Developers would apparently be given some flexibility on how to bring this about.
At the close Terri Phillips raised the issue of TC resident's negative reaction to the idea of no police station. She said the committee should make clearer that it favored a strong police presence (an urban sub-station?)not the detached, suburban style station being proposed.
Overall Comment: As usual, it seemed the TC area is being designed to suit the interests of the existing property owners rather than starting out from a more detached view of community interests.