On March 15, 2018, nine of the 11 candidates running in this year’s North Park Planning Committee election shared their thoughts and ideas on a range of topics brought forward by community members in a forum moderated by Andy Pendoley, Director of Planning and Community Engagement at MIG | MJE, a marketing and PR agency.

Click here for candidate bios.

 

Four priority areas emerged: community engagement, housing, mobility and infrastructure. Challenges and potential solutions in each area are summarized below.

Community Engagement

Challenge: How to maximize engagement, input and participation of residents in decisions regarding community development projects.

Possible solutions:

  • Engage community beyond NPPC meetings to ensure that what’s being developed is what the community wants: hold “listening sessions;” inform residents of pending projects in neighborhood newspapers, on Next Door and other social media.
  • Emphasize participation in planning group subcommittees; and
  • Bridge the disconnect between residents and developers by encouraging developers to engage with community members.

 

Housing

Challenge:  Integrating thoughtful design, community character, quality and affordability into high-density housing developments.

Possible solutions:

  • Offer different housing options at various price points (market rate as well as affordable; renters as well as buyers; single family as well as multi-unit) to attract diverse residents.
  • Designs should align with community character and attempt to ease the transition from multi-family to single family homes.
  • Development projects should be functional as well as attractive in order to retain residents: include amenities, storage, parking.
  • Projects and designs should be community-driven and sensitive to residents’ concerns and considerations.

  

Mobility

Challenge:  Increasing walkability and safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Easing traffic congestion and parking issues.

Possible solutions:

  • Invest in alternative transportation options (public transit, biking) and make them more accessible.
  • Add medians, walkabouts and buffers between traffic lanes, bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.
  • Separate biking and parking areas.
  • Preserve existing on-street parking.

 

Infrastructure

Challenge: New projects strain existing community resources and infrastructure

Possible solutions:

  • Projects should be thoughtfully planned to mitigate impacts on parking and other infrastructure.
  • Developers should be required to invest in street improvements and other infrastructure to support their projects.

 

 SoNo Neighborhood Alliance thanks NPPC Chair René Vidales and the nine candidates who participated.