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Asked a question 4 months ago

I need some assistance as urban planning is not what I do, only what I read and comment about. The neighboring municipality has a town center development plan for an area that only 10 years ago was mostly rural. A major corridor improvement authority was created, a 2 lane road was converted to a 4 lane+ divided with 50 mph speed limit, and new development was enticed to move in. They now have a 67 acre wooded and hilly undeveloped site that is being proposed for a combination of single family residences, high end "luxury" apartments and commercial, all as separate areas with the accompanying new roads and parking. There is no other viable transportation system so cars and parking will need to be accommodated for the time being and it is adjacent to a major interstate highway. The plan has just come before the Planning Commission for the first time although there was a previous public forum by the developer. The public is vocally against what is being proposed due to loss of green space and added traffic, but since it does meet at least the intent of the Master Plan and zoning, it may be difficult to stop. The goal is to see how to make it better. So what are the key points that the public should stress under the assumption that it will happen and is envisioned as a Town Center where no town center currently exists? Walkability? Reduced parking so as not to encourage more traffic? Mixed use instead of separated uses? Higher density to maintain existing green areas? Public spaces and amenities to encourage public involvement and activity? A local task force has been quickly assembled to convince the government and developer that they can do better but has no actual experience with this since it hasn't happened here before or at least not at this scale.

Where am I?

In Strong Towns you can ask and answer questions and share your experience with others!

I believe many of the appeals you mentioned are legitimate, but I suspect they will be a difficult sell to a place that has no existing model of what effective development looks like. Some of them are subjective as well, and that's tough to play against what looks like a tidal wave of money to the city. 

It may be helpful to frame the conversation from a financial standpoint, if at all possible. Maybe try to spur your council to dig in on the realistic revenues and expenses of such a development. I'm sure that won't be an easy path, but it may allow you to make more objective appeals. 

I suggest that two or three members of you group meet privately with individual planning staff members.  Often, planning staff members may see problems with the proposed development and have suggestions for improvement, but are not at liberty to publicly express their concerns or make public recommendations.