Thursday, February 28, 2013

P&Z Commission tables zoning change decision

Details later

1 comment:

Catherine Johnson said...

Ich bin ein Middletown-o-phile!

Tonight was a great night. Forty people spoke about the shortcomings of the proposal to change the MX zone to permit larger development. If there were a transcript of each speaker's remarks, I would curl up and read it with my glass of wine. It was so wonderful to have the love for a city, this city- our city, expressed in my favorite terms, the built form. I hope the reporter will quote some of the most memorable lines, like John Elmore, who grew up in New Hampshire, who said,"I didn't grow up in one of these [walkable] places, but I found it."

I loved Jennifer Saines describing the commitment of energy and time and money she's made to the city. I love that she put forth the idea that perhaps the ban we have on drive-thru's should be an actual ban on drive-thru's from this point forward. And I loved that she asked us to think about the fact that High Street is on the National Register for Historic Places, something we never talk about or even may be aware of. I look forward to hearing the rest of her letter.

I loved the Wesleyan parent who, upon retiring from work in the SF Bay region, wanted to move somewere, and had the pick of wherever he wanted to live. He searched all over the northeast and decided on Middletown! And not just anywhere in Middletown, the north end.

I deeply appreciate Ed McKeon pulling out all the references from the city Plan of Development, and demonstrating, one excerpt after the other, how badly it needs reviewing and editing, as points contradict one another.

I loved the historical perspective of key moments in Middletown development, from Biff Shaw, Liz Warner and Lee Osborne, each describing a particular moment in time when one direction was taken rather than another. And here today, 30-40 years later, we see the results.

I am also thrilled that two amazing researchers came to speak at the meeting. Jennifer Proto did an analysis of whether this type of development brought in the kind of tax dollars that it suggests might be desirable. She revealed, in short order, the predominant pattern known to urbanists around the country that downtown properties, no matter the size of the package, are the most valuable real estate in the city. And a former Meriden planner [NAME] took a look at the MX zones and some of the arterials and determined that we should re-examine what we're requiring in a few places: this type of development would work in some of them.

I am also very glad to meet so many dedicated new residents just over the Washington Street border, who are transforming houses one by one, as we on the south side have done the past 15 years. I loved that when we departed, just a little before midnight, the council chamber was about 80% as full as it had been all evening, with everyone waiting till the bitter end for the decision, including a great deal of seniors who would have to drive home on a rainy night.

And one of my favorite comments of the evening, was Steve Smith: "My favorite place in Middletown is the Midas Muffler, because when I'm driving home, and I hit that corner of Jackson Street, I know that I am done with gasoline alley, and I can just enjoy the rest of the street (Washington)."

Thank you, again, fellow Middletowners for coming out to speak, for standing up for what you treasure, and for defending the asset we are building together. I'm proud to know you and sit among you.