For those who missed the meeting tonight, or those who’d like another look, attached is the revised concept that the developer, John Blue, presented to attendees at the Monte Sano United Methodist Church tonight. There were roughly 80 people in attendance, and after a brief presentation, Q&A ran for well over an hour. Some of these included:
What zoning are you asking for? PUD, or Planned Unit Development, which will allow for a mix of housing and use types on the lot.
What is your timeline? The developer still needs to conduct some site engineering studies, so they don’t anticipate going before Planning Commission (the official body that would approve or reject the plan) until this Fall, at the earliest. Pending approval, construction would likely not start until the middle of next year.
How will residents find out about the Planning Commission meeting? The City mandates that all property owners within 500′ be notified two weeks prior by certified mail. In addition the Civic Association will inform residents as well, in terms of time/date of the hearing. There was some concern from residents that the meeting be communicated as widely as possible. MSCA has used Facebook, the MSCA newsletter, and e-mail to try to get the word out but, recognizing that not everyone is on-line, would appreciate any additional suggestions or avenues.
How big are the lots? There are eight smaller lot sites (in the orange on the plan) that are roughly 60′x60′. The rest of the sites are 70′ frontage by 150′ depth; a few are slightly smaller, some are slightly larger. In general, the larger ones are about 12,000 square feet each.
How much would the lots cost? There was some SWAG on this, because there is still a good bit of civil engineering work that needs to occur, but preliminary estimates are $60-80K for the small lots, and $150K for the large. Keep in mind, these are estimates for the LOTS only, and they do not include the cost of the house that might be built on any given site.
How will you keep it from looking cookie-cutter? Similar to the approach in Lendon and on the Ledges (and as has been done in other communities like Providence), a pattern book is used to dictate materials and details, but the house plans themselves can vary based on the individual lot owner’s needs.
What about the piece fronting Monte Sano Boulevard (on the left of the attached image)? There was a good bit of debate about this. The majority in attendance were not in favor of a commercial (general store-type) use on the site, though there were a few who strongly disagreed. The worries ranged from impact on immediate neighbors to viability in a smaller community. No consensus was reached, and we don’t want to speak for the developer, but it appeared as though they might have resigned themselves to NOT including a commercial parcel. MSCA will attempt to confirm the developer’s intent after they’ve had time to digest the community input. There had been discussion about conducting a community-wide survey, but there was again concern that not everyone would be reached.
Why do you want to do this? The developer felt like there would be a market for smaller-lot homes on the mountain. In some cases for young families who might not be ready for a larger home. In other cases, for older residents who wanted to stay on the Mountain, but wanted to downsize out of a larger home.
There was a lot of disagreement on this point (and several others), but in the end the discussion was respectful and reflected well (I thought) on the community. We didn’t capture all the questions here – it went on for well over an hour – but feel free to ask in the comments, if you’d like additional information.