LUOA’s Annual Meeting


5/6/2009

The LUOA Annual Meeting was held at Cascade Peoples Center in the SLU Cascade neighborhood on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 6 P.M. All Board members and founders were present. Members were asked to sign in to receive ballots in order to vote. In total, there were 42 attendees at the meeting.

Review of year:
Don Bennett and Lloyd Douglas gave a summary of the steps leading to the formation of LUOA. Dave O’Hara discussed the impact of our first Public Meeting 8/27/08 which provided much positive support, impetus and direction to the organization. Kevin McCarthy provided a brief resume of our meetings with city officials, of the second Public Meeting 10/27/08 and the influence wielded by LUOA representation and comments at the EIS Scoping Meeting 11/15/09. John Pehrson commented upon our meeting with the Mayor and subsequent participation in the Urban Framework Study, which we had been advocating as a crucial process prior to any EIS undertaking and represented a remarkable fruition of our efforts.

Election of the BOD
Following a motion and second to elect by affirmation the slate of directors proposed by the BOD, the voice vote was taken and was unanimous to elect the slate. Those elected for a two year term were: John Pehrson, Lloyd Douglas, Don Bennett and Tim Soerens. Those current Board members remaining in office to complete the second of a two year term are: Diane Masson, David O’Hara and Kevin McCarthy. The new 7 member Board will select its officers at its next meeting.

Speakers
We were most fortunate to be able to introduce three exceedingly qualified speakers to the address audience with topics of great interest.
Rick Hooper, Strategic Planning Director, Office of Housing, presented an over-view of the nine diverse projects for affordable housing accomplished or underway in SLU, the role of on-profits, and the tools available to fund these projects. Funding sources include Federal grants, tax incentives, conversion of city properties, incentive zoning., and most importantly the housing levy. Property tax exemptions apply mainly to rental units which must offer below market rentals in at least 20% of the building to qualify. Incentive zoning may capture affordable housing by either in-building or in- neighborhood dedication, but may also be out of neighborhood or by payment in-lieu of space. Incentive zoning may also capture public spaces and amenities as well as housing. He recognized some developers are more attuned to broader neighborhood concerns on these issues than others. He concluded with an explanation of the history and operation of housing levy proceeds, and the crucial importance of passing the 2009 Housing Levy to enable his office to function and meet human and neighborhood needs. He passed out an informative flyer supporting the Levy Program.

Jim Homes, Senior Planning & Development Specialist, Department of Planning and Development, directed his comments mainly to the results of the Scoping process and how the EIS will be informed by these comments as well as the results of the Urban Framework Study. He stated the EIS has been slowed to allow the Framework Study time for input. A part of the process will be to see how incentive zoning can accomplish urban design goals. He indicated the SLU website from the DPD link is being revised and will provide a comprehensive source of information on all matters pertaining to SLU planning and development.

Marshall Foster, Strategic Advisor, Office of Policy & Management in the mayor’s office, provided an up-date on the Urban Design Framework Study which is being conducted by a core team of city staff representing key city departments in cooperation with Dan Foltz representing the Weber Thompson architecture firm, providing pro-bono expertise. It is hoped other architectural and urban planners will step up to the plate and help. The public at the present time is represented by 10 members from SLUFAN and LUOA as well as an individual from Vulcan and the local Chamber of Commerce. The on-going study will be reported on-line and will eventually be the subject of public meetings when recommendations have been reached. The purpose of the Study was to make zoning subservient to urban design. It will guide future zoning changes, capital improvement measures and provide a basis for mitigation. He passed out a draft of the SLU Design Framework goals and principles. In response to comments from the audience that the city was deluged with paperwork from nice studies and plans that never got implemented, Marshall stated this was to be a process that extracted the desirable and doable from numerous previous SLU studies and linked these items to specific means of implementation, including responsible individuals and target dates. He did not intend for this to be an exercise in futility.

The speakers were thanked for their willingness to meet with us and share their knowledge and viewpoints.
John Pehrson was thanked for providing coffee and cookies and Lloyd Douglas for arranging the meeting at the Cascade Peoples Center. The next LUOA Membership meeting will take place in 2-3 months when there is something to report from the Urban Framework Study.

Sincerely,
David O’Hara, Secretary

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