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Letter: Fast-Tracking Beauregard Plan

To the Editor:

At the March 17, City Council meeting, the Mayor and several Council members took exception to a statement the Beauregard Small Area Plan is being “fast tracked.”

The proposed Beauregard Small Area Plan Working Draft, unless modified, will dramatically change the character of the area within the plan boundaries. The Working Draft envisions a more densely populated, urban, mixed use, transit-oriented community. The proposed redevelopment includes a new framework of streets, bus rapid transit in both dedicated and mixed lanes, a new intersection (ellipse) at Seminary and Beauregard, hotels, new retail, and a 24 percent increase (2,384,285 square feet) in currently allowed zoning. The current area includes 5,500 apartment units of which 2,519 will be torn down. Most of the units to be demolished are the apartments owned by JBG Properties (former Hamlets). The proposed plan will add 3,894 units to the remaining units (2981) bringing the total number of units to approximately 6,500 units. Over the development period apartments will be vacated and residents displaced.

Since the release of the Beauregard Small Area Plan Working Draft on January 23, 2012 the following meetings have been held regarding the working draft.

  • March 19-Community Meeting

  • March 12-Community Meeting

  • March 7-Transportation Commission held a public hearing regarding the Beauregard Small Area Plan. (Agenda Item # 6)

  • March 6-Community Meeting

  • Feb. 27-Community Meeting

  • Feb. 23-Affordable Housing Advisory Committee Housing Town Hall

  • Feb. 21-Community Meeting

  • Feb. 13-City Council and Planning Commission Work Session — Beauregard Small Area Plan

  • Feb. 1-Transportation Commission agenda item included the Beauregard Small Area Plan recommendations and “to provide input to the Planning Commission and the City Council for their consideration.” (Agenda Item #5)

  • Jan. 23-Community Meeting - Working Draft released.

The revised Beauregard Draft Plan is scheduled to be released on March 21.

In addition the schedule going forward includes:

  • April 2 - Beauregard Town Hall Meeting

  • April 3 - Planning Commission Work Session

  • April 5 - Affordable Housing Advisory Committee Meeting

  • May 1 - Planning Commission Public Hearing

  • May 12 - City Council Hearing

The tight schedule strongly suggests the public process for City Council approval of the Beauregard Small Area is being “fast tracked.” Many voters believe the Mayor and City Council would like to complete action on the Beauregard Small Area Plan prior to the November elections.

This is a major redevelopment project involving large taxpayer commitments and more time is needed to address the complex issues. Hopefully citizens will have sufficient time to evaluate the revised Beauregard Small Area Plan and provide comments. Fast-tracking a major redevelopment plan is not in the public interest.

Dave Cavanaugh