We're still a good month away from the Sylvan Thirty development coming before the City Plan Commission, since, as we noted last month, it was pushed back to the October 6 agenda following Belmont's owner Monte Alexander's letter to the city insisting that "more time is needed to evaluate the case." But between now and then, there's this: a Tuesday-night town hall at Salon Las Americas on Fort Worth Avenue, scheduled from 7 till 9. The city has nothing to do with it; instead it's a Fort Worth Avenue Development Group wingding being held "so our community may have a better understanding of the issues related to the Sylvan Thirty development and the impact on our neighborhood of the proposed zoning changes," per the invite I received.
The zoning issues we covered last month, and though there are said to be more recent submissions offered by Sylvan Thirty developer Brent Jackson, I can't find anyone who's actually seen them. Nevertheless, says Fort Worth Avenue Development Group president David Lyles, Tuesday night's meeting is intended to be "informative and educational" and nothing more. Which is why he's invited Brent Brown, head of CityDesign Studio; Keith Manoy, the city's head transpo planner; Andrew Howard, one of the Better Block-ers; and others to actually sit on a panel and discuss the impact of the development and a more general look-see at urban development.
Brown tells Unfair Park he hopes this won't be a "gripe session," because that's not what he signed up for. Lyles says that's not what he wants either: Sylvan Thirty, he says, has become "a divisive issue, and we're not trying to create any more divisiveness. We're trying to bring out some of the facts and state our concerns with Sylvan Thirty in a public forum and get everyone on the same page."
He says he's invited Jackson, but hasn't heard whether he'll attend. I left a message for Jackson and was told by someone in his office that "he's considering" the invitation at the moment.
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At stake, of course, is whether Jackson can get the community and neighbors behind the development scheduled to take over the former Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts site at Sylvan and Fort Worth Avenue. The development falls within Special Purpose District 714, which, Lyles writes on the FWADG website, was passed by the city council in February 2005 to "in an effort to redefine the area and open the door for mixed-use development in a safe, pedestrian-friendly, and bike-friendly manner including residential, retail, office, and light industrial business applications."
Far as the group and the Belmont's Anderson are concerned, what they've seen of Sylvan Thirty so far doesn't live up to those mandates.
"We would just like to see the process move forward," Lyles says, insisting that the plans they've seen so far for Sylvan Thirty "don't recognize the vision and spirit of the PD. So it's very difficult for us to write [Jackson] any letter of support when he's basically challenging everything about the PD. ... There are no pedestrian amenities and walkable streets and primary facades facing the street; it needs to be a much more multimodal experience than it is now. That's what the PD's intended vision was and what it was intended to enforce, and we feel why create something of this nature if you have no intention of enforcing it?"
Yeah. So that's Tuesday night. So, see you at Smoke at 6, right? Drinks are on you.