The most important discussions of the meeting were regarding the proposed Baffert project at Five Points. While some have expressed concern about the height of the proposed building or its impact on the on-street parking situation, those are not the most important problems with this proposal. The mechanism being used by the developer and the Tucson planning department is to remove the project’s lot from our Historic Preservation Zone. The precedent created is a threat to the historic character of our entire neighborhood and others across the city.
Talking about the recent tendency of the city and developers to run over neighborhoods, APNA president John Burr cited an article by our council member , Steve Kozachik, on a similar situation, the Speedway/Euclid student housing project. You can read Steve’s piece by going to this link: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/ward-6/news/steve-ks-newsletter-121117. The article begins at about the midpoint of his newsletter. In past articles, Steve and I have written about the city’s cavalier treatment of the Houghton East neighborhood by permitting a new Fry’s store in violation of their neighborhood plan, a contract between the city and the neighborhood. There is a follow-on piece in the same newsletter (link above).
If the trend shown by these examples and others continues, we can expect our neighborhood and the other four HPZs to gradually disappear as historic communities. Your chance to resist this is a meeting next Monday (12/18/2017) at 6:00 PM in the Armory Park Center where the developer will present his project. I do not feel strongly about the project itself but I hope you will attend and protest strongly about removing the project property from the HPZ. This will not be the end of the matter, however. The economic interests of the developers and city government can only be resisted by strong pressure on our city council. Visible pushback by numerous residents is the best way to send a message. There will be much more to follow.
Anne Cooper gave the board an update on the financial results of the home tour. Total revenue was $6,863 with expenses of $557. Of the net proceeds ($6,415), $4,800 will be given to the Neighbors Feeding Neighbors program now. They will probably get more as the proceeds from the PayPal account come in. Anne also asked if the two year tour cycle seemed right and the consensus was that it demands too much effort to be done annually. She also asked that another volunteer come forward to chair the next tour.
Reminder: for those who are interested in our historic advisory board, the 2018 officers will be elected by the board at the meeting next Tuesday (7:00 PM, 12/19, St Andrew’s Parish Hall).
New globe pedestrian lighting has been installed on 6th Avenue between 14th and 18th Streets, a good thing. Unfortunately they were installed in parallel alignment with the street (N-S) rather than perpendicularly (E-W) as required by the approved plans (and like all others in AP), a bad thing. The the change was made by a city engineer without coordinating with anyone else and his reasoning made no sense to the board.
This week it seems the city is not friendly to historic preservation.