The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Two worlds out on Greenfield Street NE; developer, neighbors can find common ground

In City Hall on April 30, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Brian and Christine Wagner have been beside themselves for months, struggling with what they say are brand-new water problems at their home at 818 Greenfield St. NE. They blame the problems on a new office development above and the west of their house.

On Tuesday, though, and just a couple blocks to the east on Greenfield Street NE, plans for another development came to light at a City Planning Commission meeting that left the commission to marvel a bit.

The commission quickly and unanimously approved a change in the city’s future land-use map after hearing that a developer and homeowners agreed to a new commercial development on the northeast corner of Blairs Ferry Road NE and C Avenue NE and an office development next door, both developments of which back up to homes on one side of Greenfield Street NE.

In this instance, the developer, Midwest Property Group Ltd., had met with homeowners on several occasions and had secured from each of them an agreement to allow the commercial and office developments to proceed. Both projects are on land now owned by IBEW Local 1362 Building Corp.

The key to the agreement is the willingness of the developer to keep a stand of timber in place between the developments and the houses, and additionally, to deed over the buffer of timber to the homeowners at no cost to them.

“Important to note” is the way city staff put the meetings between neighbors and developer and the agreement the parties reach about the proposed development.

The agreement particularly stood out on Tuesday at the commission meeting because a second development proposal on the commission agenda — a proposal to build the three-story, 60-unit Tudor Rose condominium building at Johnson Avenue and Wiley Boulevard NW — did not come with any meeting of the minds between neighboring homeowners and the developer.

As for the Wagners at 818 Greenfield St. NE, please see an earlier post:

  1. That’s great that a developer actually thinks and talks to the people around the in-fill before any proposals or construction ever starts. Unlike Mr. Bjornson who bullies the neigboring development residents when concerns do arise, destroys there homes and property and quote “doesn’t care” should never be issued another building permit or allowed to build in the state again. This should be standard practice in all in-fill developments and if something does happen like what happened to the Wagner’s the developer would be responsible for the damages no matter the cost. Who protects the current residents, doesn’t sound like the city does, who upholds the state codes? Knowing that the Wagner’s damage was caused by the in-fill why are they left to recover from this at there expense, they did nothing wrong? Why are developers allowed to do this and then blame the home owner who has done nothing but live there first, don’t they have any rights before the destruction or are their rights only good after they have lost everything and the solution is hiring an attorney for 15,000 to 20,000, does this make sense? This should have been stopped a long time ago or never happened especially since trhe city and developer knew of the substandard drainage in the area but they let them build anyway??!!

  2. We are just beginning to see how “INFILL DEVELOPMENT” will be impacting established neighborhoods. Many are comparing it to legalized rape! Watch for more neighborhoods being damaged by this policy.

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