The business meeting was generally productive. I expressed my concerns about stormwater run-off, which has been a problem between 5th and 6th where I live for as long as I've lived here.
I also followed up with the this email to Salemtown Neighbors president, Freddie O'Connell:
I do not have any reservations about the dwelling design and I am grateful that he is making every effort to preserve the 115-year-old structure. I agree with those who make preservation a priority for this development.
That said, I also understand that the building was originally built as a duplex and I do not have a problem with it being renovated as a "multi-family" dwelling. However, if the association has any concerns about density, I would support SNNA in limiting the plan accordingly.
My greatest concern is with stormwater run-off. Except for the 1898 structure and sidewalks, the entire property is currently greenspace. That greenspace soaks up rather than sheds rainfall. There is a slight berm at the back of the property that also retains and diverts stormwater.
The plan proposes to pave approximately half the greenspace and level the back so that cars can access parking at the alley rather than on the street in front. That is going to create a higher volume of stormwater not being retained on the property but rather flowing downhill, across the alley and into our yard ... (as well as a property next to ours). Parking 4-8 cars on an impervious surface will also send motor oils and other fluids into the alley and the adjoining yards during storms.
I would like to see the association ask Clay to develop a detailed stormwater retention strategy as part of his plan, using retainers (for instance, stone borders or walls on slopes), rain gardens (which filter toxins as well as retain water) and pervious concrete or permeable stones in the parking lot with spacing for water absorption in the underlying soil. Given that we are so close to the river, these elements would aid in keeping 4-8 times more pollutants out of the Cumberland via alley and street run-off.
I understand that Clay's proposal meets stormwater requirements, but specific plans are negotiable above and beyond the baselines Metro sets. Besides that, after living here for a decade, I have found that stormwater requirements have not always been sufficient to address run-off, pooling and flooding between 7th Av and 4th Av.
I appreciate the association's support on this quality of life issue and I hope that Clay will write limitations on paving materials into the specific plan. If he does so, I will not oppose it in the future either in community meetings or at public hearings, unless the association has other concerns that require my support in those venues.
At the meeting, the members seemed amenable to my concerns about run-off. So, I hope to see some restrictions written into the SP to protect our interests.
I cannot find the proposal or planning analysis on the proposal on the Metro website, yet, but the Planning Commission public hearing on this proposal is less than a week away: September 25, 4:00p, at the Sonny West Conference Center, 700 2nd Av. S. I am hoping to hear something before then, because I plan to be at the meeting to express my concerns.
UPDATE: Planning department officials tell me that the planning staff analysis of this proposal will not be posted online until next Friday at noon. So, we will essentially have only a couple of days to look over what Metro Planning presents to the planning commission before the latter votes it up or down after Monday's public hearing. There has got to be a better way to inform neighbors affected by the plan on 6th Av. N. The developers have all of the knowledge way ahead of the public hearing and thus they enjoy a distinct advantage over neighborhoods.