[Vision2020] City Council on the Beebe Rezone tonight

Bruce and Jean Livingston jeanlivingston at turbonet.com
Tue Sep 19 16:12:47 PDT 2006

Nils, I dropped off my written statement at the beginning of the meeting and 
then went home, but I watched every second of the meeting on my computer 
when I got home, from the middle of the staff presentation onward.  That 
included Mr. Beebe's presentation, Larry Hodge's, and yours on behalf of the 
petitioner, as well as those speaking against, Bob Greene, Betsy Dickow, Tom 
Bode and myself (read by Betsy Dickow), I am not sure whether BJ Swanson 
spoke as a neutral party, or against the petition.

Your false representations about what went on and the votes by the Mayor 
Chaney give me some concern.  I hope you are merely mistaken, and not 
advancing some personal agenda or seeking to discredit the Mayor with your 
reporting of last night's meeting.  My recollection is that your reported 
point 2, below in your post, is entirely false.  When reporting these things 
to the community discussion group on Vision2020, it would be wise to be 
correct before slandering people and mis- reporting their votes.  I think 
you may have done that today.

The Mayor did NOT get an opportunity to break a tie on any motion proposing 
passage of the re-zone with a parking mitigation plan in place, as I 
recollect the evening.  When that proposal surfaced, twice, I believe, the 
vote was 4-2 against passage.

You are correct that Nancy voted not to deny the re-zone, and you are 
correct that she voted not to pass the re-zone when the motion did not 
require a parking mitigation plan to accompany it.  It seemed very clear to 
me that the Mayor would break a tie, if one presented itself, in favor of 
passing the re-zone so long as parking mitigation was also required.

Clearly, the Council ought to deal with the parking issue in any event.

While some might favor what you appear to suggest as the only real 
alternative in light of last night's meeting, i.e., dealing with the parking 
issue first and holding up re-zones until then, that position is not likely 
to gain any traction.  Mr. Ament's several motions to table the Beebe 
re-zone proposal for that very reason failed to even garner a second and 
died immediately.  Clearly, the Council is in favor of going forward with 
the re-zone, and the struggle is over how to structure it: some would not 
require parking mitigation by the re-zone proponent; others would.  As I 
stated last night, requiring parking mitigation seems the wiser course to 
me, among the alternatives.

In my opinion, the wisest proposal of all would be to re-zone the property 
to a transitional zone or a Planned Urban Development between downtown and 
the university, that would allow the mixed use development that Mr. Beebe 
envisions.  But how Mr. Beebe seeks to get there is ultimately his decision, 
not mine.   But who can blame him for attempting to increase the return on 
investment by not having to provide parking on his 2.3+ acres of downtown 
land if he can persuade us to re-zone it to the Central Business District 

Bruce Livingston

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Nils Peterson" <nils_peterson at wsu.edu>
To: "Bruce and Jean Livingston" <jeanlivingston at turbonet.com>; 
<vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:44 AM
Subject: Re: [Vision2020] City Council on the Beebe Rezone tonight

> Bruce, too bad you were unable to attend and watch the process.
> I don't mean to be unfair to Nancy, but she had the chance to break the 
> tie
> in 3 different ways:
> 1. Approve as requested (this would have not addressed parking, and given
> your comments, she would not have wanted this option)
> 2. Approve with parking mitigation plan (this was intended to put a 
> parking
> requirement on the developer. Perhaps the parking mitigation plan was not
> sufficiently clarified for Nancy, but she did not indicate that)
> 3. Deny the application. This would seem to fit your description "deny any
> proposal that did not deal with the parking issue"
> Each of these motions was voted to a tie twice last night. Nancy had 6
> chances.
> Bruce, you are correct in characterizing our difference in opinion, which 
> is
> a fundamental one, and I can respect your position (which was also the
> position of others at the meeting last night.)
> So, following your reasoning, to not make the parking problem bigger 
> before
> solving it, the Council needs to deny requests like the one last night 
> until
> some criteria is met for resolving parking.
> 1. What criteria would the Council use to know it had addressed the 
> parking
> problem so proposals could be approved?
> 2. Would denying development proposals while solving the parking problem
> cause development to go elsewhere? would that matter? would it be
> characterized as business unfriendly?
> On 9/19/06 9:55 AM, "Bruce and Jean Livingston"
> <jeanlivingston at turbonet.com> wrote:
>> Nils, your characterization of Nancy Chaney as "siding each time with the
>> side that would keep any decision from getting made" is an unfair
>> characterization.
>> Just as she did two weeks ago, Nancy consistently voted to deny any 
>> proposal
>> that did not deal with the parking issue contained in the issue at hand 
>> each
>> evening (parking mitigation for NSA to get its conditional use permit, on
>> the one hand; parking mitigation for the rezone of industrial land 
>> between
>> downtown and the University).  In essence, she recognizes that adding
>> concentrated, dense, people-heavy uses to our downtown business zone, 
>> which
>> does not require any parking at all and is the only such zone in the 
>> City,
>> is short sighted and bad planning.  Parking needs to be addressed
>> satisfactorily BEFORE we make the downtown parking problem bigger.
>> Where you and I disagree is on whether to add to the parking problem 
>> before
>> solving it.  I see no reason to increase parking problems by 
>> substantially
>> increasing the areas that need NOT provide parking, as you advocated last
>> night, before solving the parking issue.   Generally speaking, solving
>> problems before they get bigger is the wiser course.  Purposely making 
>> the
>> problem bigger before dealing with it is unwise, and Nancy Chaney was 
>> astute
>> in refusing to go along with the varying proposals last night, all of 
>> which
>> failed to address it.
>> So long as developers continue to bring projects before the City that 
>> seek
>> to increase the parking demand downtown without ameliorating it, those
>> projects should be modified and required to provide for their own 
>> parking.
>> Obviously, it is clear that a long-term solution is preferable, as you 
>> also
>> advocate, Nils, and I agree with you.
>> But I cannot agree that adding to the parking problem, before solving it, 
>> is
>> wise policy.  That is a particularly short-sighted and imprudent public
>> policy direction.
>> Especially when Proposition 2 is on the horizon and very likely to pass,
>> expanding the downtown, parking-free CBD zone without requiring an
>> off-setting obligation to provide parking on-site for the new area is a
>> foolish move.  That policy choice seems likely only to enrich those
>> developers who get preferential zoning that releases them from their 
>> current
>> obligation to provide parking, because under Proposition 2 they will 
>> never
>> be forced to provide parking at their own expense, as they now are 
>> required
>> under the current zoning.   The parking problem is generally acknowledged 
>> by
>> City staff and the downtown retail businesses that are the core of the 
>> area.
>> The expense of dealing with the parking issue will be shifted to us, the
>> taxpayers, and to those whose property rights are most effected -- and
>> values decreased -- by the transfer of current parking obligations of the
>> grain elevator landowners to their neighbors (most particularly, 
>> downtown)
>> by this unwise rezone without parking mitigation.
>> Hopefully, our Council can figure out that the rezone with a condition
>> requiring parking will pass, or at the very least get three votes and 
>> allow
>> our Mayor to break the tie and allow the redevelopment of that area to go
>> forward.  Without such a condition, the project should be voted down, and
>> the City should expeditously deal with the parking issue for the entire
>> Central Business District.
>> I say all this, while commending Mr. Beebe for undertaking a 
>> redevelopment
>> project that has much potential.  But like all other developers, except 
>> for
>> those in the downtown, I think he ought to retain the burden of providing
>> parking to his eventual users and charging them for it, rather than 
>> foisting
>> those costs on his eventual neighbors and the taxpayers.  Seeking to 
>> rezone
>> the grain elevators to downtown essentially seems to be a means of 
>> avoiding
>> his parking obligations, and that should not be allowed to happen.
>> Bruce Livingston
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Nils Peterson" <nils_peterson at wsu.edu>
>> To: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
>> Sent: Monday, September 18, 2006 10:23 PM
>> Subject: [Vision2020] City Council on the Beebe Rezone tonight
>>> I don't know how Omie is going to cover it, but the events reminded me 
>>> of
>>> the childhood song...
>>> The noble Duke of York, he had 10,000 men,
>>> he marched them up the hill,
>>> He marched them down again.
>>> First they voted it up, and then they voted it down,
>>> and then they voted half-way up, which was neither up nor down.
>>> To make matters worse, they repeated the first verse again, moving to 
>>> pass
>>> the rezone, moving to pass the rezone with 'parking mitigation' (would
>>> that
>>> run with the land, if so how??) moving to deny the rezone, moving to 
>>> table
>>> the whole mess for 6 months. Each vote was 3-3 and Nancy sided each time
>>> with the side that would keep any decision from getting made.
>>> The issues seemed to be
>>> Parking and readings of the Comp Plan vs reading of the Zoning code. The
>>> Comp Plan says one thing about new CBD and parking, the strict
>>> constructionists say the zone is what the zone is. So, approve the 
>>> rezone
>>> with no parking would fail because some wanted parking stipulated. Add a
>>> mitigation plan for parking would fail with those who had problems
>>> changing
>>> the zone with extra requirements
>>> Denying the whole thing failed, because "My God" (quote Pall) this is
>>> something we want. Ament wanted to put the whole project on the shelf 
>>> and
>>> couldn't get a second.
>>> So after at least 6 votes, maybe more the decision was tabled for 2 
>>> weeks
>>> (first Monday in October) Nobody can talk to anybody.
>>> I can say this, there was good speaking from the audience: Bob and 
>>> Betsy,
>>> a
>>> letter from Bruce Livingston, Tom Bode, Kit Crane. They all made it a
>>> thorny
>>> issue with multiple facets.
>>> While it got mentioned, no one on Council really said how they think 
>>> about
>>> NSA being required to provide parking in its CUP and this rezone being 
>>> (or
>>> not) similarly required.  I think the difference is the CUP was allowing
>>> something exceptional in a zone, this is expanding the zone.
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