Issue 31 is a direct response to the City’s failures to follow its own codified ordinances, rules, and policies. One such example is the City’s April 2017 approval of the third application for a lot split at 1000 Elmwood Avenue after 2 prior unsuccessful attempts (in 2011 and 2016) and after the applicants increased their threats of litigation.
The Mayor and a handful of residents have opposed Issue 31 suggesting that no change to the original 1989 Green Space Ordinance (Ord. No. 89-20, codified at City Code §1151.04) is needed because the goals and policies behind the original Ordinance have been and will continue to be maintained and are not in jeopardy of being eroded. These statements are far from accurate.
When the City created the Green Space in 1989 and set zoning standards for future development on the West end of the Goodale Boulevard corridor in Ord. No. 89-20, it recognized the Green Space needed to be protected because:
(1) there would be “pressure for further development and re-development”;
(2) “development and re-development in the Green Space affects the character of the City as a whole and property values throughout the City and therefore it is of interest to all residents of the City, not just those of the affected area”;
(3) it was “imperative that such development and re-development proceed in a planned way so as to maximize property values and the unique character” of the Green Space.
The 2011 and 2016 Staff Report prepared by the City (obtained from the City via a Public Records Request) reflects that the City was opposed to the first 2 lot split applications for reasons that were consistent with the goals of the 1989 Ordinance and zoning standards:
(1) The lots along Goodale Boulevard consist of large single family home lots, and splitting 1000 Elmwood would result in a “non conforming condition, and that the proposed lot is too small to be compatible with the existing development.”
(2) “An unconventional lot is proposed in what is otherwise a historically traditional neighborhood setting.”
(3) Putting a driveway on the Elmwood Avenue hill at its steepest point “presents a very unsafe situation, a condition that has been historically and consistently avoided there as there are no driveways on the steepest slopes of Wyandotte, Westwood, Elmwood, Broadview, and Grandview Avenues.”
On April 19, 2017, however, the City did an about face under the threat of litigation. The City disregarded its own Staff Report, the 1989 Ordinance, zoning standards, and the safety of residents when it approved the third appliation for the lot split. The City’s actions had an adverse effect on the Community as a whole, but also on property owners along Goodale Boulevard who had a right to expect that the City would follow its own rules and would not permit a “small,” incompatible, “non-conforming,” and dangerous lot to be created as the City stated in its own 2011 and 2016 Staff Report.
Issue 31 arose in response to the City’s actions and the trend toward abandoning City Code and Design Guidelines in favor of the increasing pressures of some property owners and developers. Issue 31 reinforces and strengthens the Green Space by increasing the front yard setbacks of single-family home sites along Goodale Boulevard so that these sites remain single-family home sites. It protects the Green Space from overdevelopment and from a City’s willingness to sacrifice the character of the Community under the threat of litigation.
Preserve and Protect the Green Space
Vote YES on Issue 31 on November 6, 2018