by Lisa Varouxis
As you are reviewing the most recent submission from Spectrum Development, LLC (and any future submissions for other developments), please ask yourself these questions, using the existing Mixed Use Developments (MUDs) as your model:
What is the occupancy percentage of the residential units (both condominium and rental) at the 1 year, 2 year and 5 year anniversaries of the completion of the development?
- What percentage of the retail/commercial space is occupied after 1 year? After 2 years? After 5 years? (The Broadway has several storefronts vacant, and has for several years.)
- Are these developments attracting the desired demographics (millennials and retirees) or upper middle class families with school-aged children?
- Are the new units priced so retirees and middle class citizens can afford to live in the City, or are we becoming exclusive and out of reach price-wise for many?
- How has the influx of so many new residential units affected the infrastructure of the City? Think of all of the little things the City supports, to include:
- How many vehicles have the new residents registered with the city? These are additional cars on the City’s streets.
- What increase has been observed in sewer usage? Additional usage means closer monitoring and, possibly, more preventative maintenance.
- Is the library seeing an increase in patrons?
- How many students have been added to the school system?
- In square footage, how much additional impervious surface has been added?
- How has the tax burden on the residents changed since completion of The Broadway, The Spectrum, The Byron, and Pearson Square? It continues to increase, yet those in favor of continuing with the building of MUDs declare the additional tax revenue generated by the retail stores on the first floor of a development more than adequately covers the increased costs of additional residents.
Using the answers to the questions posed above, and others you may have thought of, do you truly believe changing land currently zoned as B1, B2 and B3 to mixed use is in the best interest of the current City residents and the City itself? If a business is not performing up to the expectations of the Planning Department, isn’t the known revenue provided by that business better than unknown revenue, which will be offset by the cost of providing services to new residents, better for everyone?