315 Facilitated Meeting Notes

Scott sends along the meeting notes from last week’s 315 W. Ponce meeting.   The email notes that it has yet to determine whether there will be a follow up meeting yet.

Below is the overview…

There were a number of themes that ran through the discussion and the flip-chart notes. Among them:

• The three greatest concerns were density, shared parking and the quality of construction. Some small groups were concerned about number of units that had been proposed; others were more concerned about the location of the units on the site. Some groups were doubtful that the shared-parking concept (where parking spaces are used by office workers by day and residents by night) would work. Their fear: Residents and workers would park in the neighborhood. There was also concern about the quality of the project – that it would be poorly designed or constructed and, therefore, not reflect well on the city or the neighborhood.

• The other side of the concerns were the aspirations that the groups had for the project. Several said they hoped it would be a landmark project. (One said it wanted a “legacy,” a project that would cause citizens to say, “Look what we did here.” Another group said it was looking for a “historical building.”)

• There was an acknowledgment that a project like this could bring more people to downtown Decatur, and that was a good thing. (“More people walking on street,” one group said.) But another group worried that too many people would “overwhelm (the) neighborhood.”

• Some groups saw this project as an opportunity for the city government to think about similar projects in the future and establish rules for things like shared parking, and setbacks and building placements for projects facing single-family residential streets. “Have this be the model for other developments in the city,” one group urged.

• There were some possible compromises that were raised. One mentioned by several groups was shifting the densest parts of the project to the West Ponce de Leon side of the site and away from Montgomery Street. One group suggested that the developers negotiate with Wachovia Bank for use of its drive-through on Ponce de Leon Place. If a deal with the bank could be worked out, , it might allow developers to “wrap” the densest part of their project around the corner of West Ponce Avenue and Ponce Place.

• There were also compromises suggested on the shared-parking and traffic concerns. One group suggested that a new study of shared parking be done, this time by a consultant that the developer and neighborhood jointly agreed upon. The same group suggested that there be an agreement in advance on what should be done if traffic problems increased after the project was built – in other words, if traffic plans failed.