Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The UDO (Unified Development Ordinance)

GANA Speaker Series
Tim Mayer and Michael Diekoff
City Council Members

January 31, 2007, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.

TOPIC: Impacts of the new Bloomington Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) on Green Acres and other issues that affect Green Acres

Mike and Tim came armed with the 1.5 inch thick UDO document which they said, though formidable in appearance, was easy to use once one understood the format. This document can be found at and is due to go into effect on February 12, governing land use and development throughout the city of Bloomington. They asked that we call to thank members of the Planning Commission who each spent hundreds of hours poring over details, fine-tuning this document.

Tim said the process started five or six years ago with the Growth Policies Plan (GPP) as a guiding document for community growth. City planning staff went into neighborhoods all over the city and talked with them and other stakeholders about their vision for the way the city should grow. Three or four years later, the same process began for the UDO, which took the GPP and undergirds it with codes that meet state statutes. Unlike zoning ordinances which just say what you can build on a particular piece of property, this document covers what is allowed to develop in entire zones.

The Green Acres Neighborhood is zoned "core residential" (RC), called "core" because of its proximity to the center. The city looks at RC-zoned neighborhoods differently because they are challenged, in our case by the dominance of student rentals. Green Acres is now, as those of us who have been attending the monthly workshops know, in the process of developing its own "sub-area plan" for the city.

Most of what applies to Green Acres can be found in the sections of the UDO identified as 20.02.090, and 20.05. I have copied the parts of those sections applicable to zone RC into the attached word doc. (Be warned: I did it quickly, and possibly inaccurately.)

Tim and Mike say that "Granny Flats" are not allowed in the UDO, at least in RC zones, though I couldn’t find that wording there, nor in any of the amendments. You might want to peruse the document yourself. Especially interesting and heartening to me is the section called "Green Development Initiatives."

5th and Hillsdale, Overhill
After many years of attempts to get a sidewalk that runs down 5th Street from Union to Overhill, Tim (who lives in Green Acres) finally got part of this item funded and on the city’s agenda for 2007. The biggest problem with sidewalks in Green Acres has been that drainage issues have to be addressed first, and the usual high-tech solution to these problems is extremely expensive. However, after consulting with both GANA representatives (Georgia, Kevin and Ann) and permaculturists Peter Bane and Keith Johnson, the city has decided to address the problem in part through green techniques to reduce the amount of water that gets to the end of the street.

The intersections of 5th with Hillsdale and Overhill are places where the worst flooding occurs. Construction will begin this summer on 5th Street, from Hillsdale to Overhill and Overhill to the end of 5th. The block from Hillsdale to Overhill will have a sidewalk as well as drainage amelioration; the block from Overhill to the end of 5th will have a new sewer line (because ground water gets into it), and perhaps a new water line, plus drainage amelioration, but no sidewalk since it’s a dead-end with only local traffic.

View full story>>

GANA Meeting Minutes

GANA (Green Acres Neighborhood Association) Meeting
1/31/07, 7-8 p.m.
First United Church on 3rd St.

Photo by Georgia Schaich

Georgia Schaich, Betty Byrne, Diane Dormant, Kathy Ruesink, Rob Turner, Ann Kreilkamp, Kevin Polk

  • Additions to the Executive Committee
  • Small and Simple Grant
  • Houses for sale
  • City Repair Report, DVD, Discussion

We heard about who’s been added to the Executive Committee; talked about ideas for small and simple grants; discussed how we should respond to our alarm at the unusual number of houses for sale between Clark and the bypass; and both watched the 15-minute Intro to City Repair DVD and discussed our experiences at the recent City Repair Presentation in Bloomington.

The Process
Georgia opened the meeting with an announcement of changes to the Executive Committee (reduced to two (George and Ann) since Julia Jackson’s move from the neighborhood in September). The new members of this committee are Rob Turner, Nathan Harman, Noriko Hara, Phil Eskew, and Kevin Polk. Thank you for joining, one and all!

The next Small and Simple Grant from HAND is due February 19th. We decided to table City Repair ideas until later, and to focus for now on building active GANA membership through strengthening the block captain program. Georgia suggested that we use the grant to create "Welcome Wagon" type baskets for newcomers that would contain a brochure for GANA, trash and recycling info, coupons from neighborhood businesses and other relevant information. She will write the grant.

There are now 13 houses for sale in the eastern part of the Green Acres Neighborhood. Unfortunately, one of the them is the home of Betty Byrne, a long-time active GANA member. Betty is moving into a condo so that she doesn’t have such a big yard to keep up. We would like to help Betty, who lives alone, pack and move (at least her small things). So when the time comes, I will send out a message to the list for those interested in this next neighborhood work-party.

We realize that the ongoing and currently larger crisis of homes-for-sale is also an opportunity for GANA to focus its efforts on getting the word out to friends and acquaintances who are both looking for places to buy or rent and who also want to contribute to the vitality of neighborhood life. Kevin Polk has volunteered to take over both the GANA list-serve (from Jiangmei Wu, thank you Jiangmei!) and GANA website duties (from Julia Jackson, thank you Julia!). He will explore various web-based options and work with realtors to get easily accessible info and photos of Green Acres homes for sale on the internet for those who wish to promote or live in Green Acres.

City Repair DVD: the DVD is wonderful in that it shows lots of examples of the kinds of things Portlanders are doing to make their neighborhoods not only more friendly and liveable, but fun, creative, and even magical. On the Friday before his Saturday presentation to the city, a number of GANA residents had lunch with Mark Lakeham, an architect and City Repair co-founder, before taking a walking tour of Green Acres. We then showed him the original sketched visuals for the Green Acres permaculture/sustainability design. He liked it all, and his imagination was especially taken with the idea of turning several intersections into city-repaired gathering spaces that will express the creativity of Green Acres residents and lure the children outside to play.

His presentation on Saturday morning to the City Council drew over 100 people from various neighborhoods in the city and inspired us all to starting thinking about how to cooperatively "repair" our own little corners of the world in an imaginative, expressive way.

After a ten-minute break, we heard and discussed a short presentation on the UDO and city plans for 5th street, by speakers and city councilmen Tim Mayer and Michael Diekhoff. (Speaker Series report to follow.)

Next monthly meeting: February 28, 2007.

Blessings to all on this frigid Super Bowl Sunday!

Ann Kreilkamp GANA scribe

View full story>>