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Should Dogs Poop Here?

by Thomas MacMillan | Jul 8, 2014 9:06 am

(37) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Parks, Downtown, Wooster Square

Thomas MacMillan Photo Paul Bass Photo An empty lot at a central downtown intersection may soon come to life—not as a new store, or offices or apartments, but as a spot for nearby high-rise tenants’ canines to answer the call of nature.

Bentall Kennedy, the company that manages 360 State, is conferring with the city about plans for the dog park at the corner of Orange and Chapel streets (pictured), right next to the 32-story apartment tower.

Representatives from Bentall Kennedy could not be reached for comment about the dog-park plans. It’s unclear whether the proposed park would be open to the public, or accessible only by 360 State tenants.

Either way, the city is not enthusiastic about the prospect.

“Public or private, a dog poop area is not the conversation we want to have right now,” said Matt Nemerson, the city’s economic development chief.

Nemerson said he’d rather see a four- to six-story building with retail and office space at that corner.

Downtown Alder Abby Roth also raised questions about the plan. And supporters of the Union Street dog park, just a couple blocks away, are concerned that a new park would mean 360 State tenants would stop using the Union Street park.

Thomas MacMillan Photo The northeast corner lot (pictured) at Orange and Chapel has been empty and fenced in for years, since before tenants began moving into 360 State nearly four years ago. The property belongs to Multi-Employee Property Trust (MEPT), the equity fund that owns 360 State.

The initial plan was to develop the property after 360 State was complete. Those plans were shelved after 360 State got into a protracted tax dispute with the city. The property continues to sit vacant, occupied only by gravel, weeds, and litter.

Nemerson said he’s mindful of the city’s rocky recent history with 360 State, as he tries to encourage the management company to abandon the dog-park plan.

“360 State and the city have had a complicated relationship for the last couple of years,” said Nemerson. Mayor Toni Harp is intent on forging better relations, he said.

Paul Bass Photo Nemerson (pictured) said he’s been “talking and spending a lot of time with the whole [Bentall Kennedy] management team down in Baltimore, trying to establish a really good working relationship.”

Bentall Kennedy manages “hundreds and hundreds” of properties, Nemerson said. “They are an important reference account. Having them wanting to do another project is important to us.”

“Having said that,” Nemerson said, “we did say to them that the corner of Orange and Chapel was a key visual image for that part of the city. We volunteered to fix it up this summer and turn it into an eating area, maybe with some food trucks.” He said the city spoke with Elm City Market, the food co-op on the bottom floor of 360 State, about having outdoor food service in the lot.

Nearby Pitkin Plaza has emerged as a popular summer spot this year, with the addition of a “World Cup Village” for watching the global soccer tournament.

Thomas MacMillan Photo Nemerson said the city offered Bentall Kennedy other options, too. “We also said, if that’s too active, we’d be happy with a meditation garden, with pretty benches and a fountain.”

Bentall Kennedy didn’t go for those ideas, proposing a dog park instead.

“We’re not enamored with the idea of a dog park,” Nemerson said.

Lucy Gellman Photo For starters, Nemerson said, there’s “a wonderful dog park a block away.” The Union Street Dog Park is a great way to bring together people from downtown and Wooster Square, he said. “We think we have enough dog parks.”

Also, a dog park is not the best use of that corner, Nemerson said. The city hopes to see a building on the lot some day. In the meantime, “what we really want there is an attractive summer fun eating area.”

Whatever happens, the lot should stay open to the public, Nemerson said. “We’re not really happy with it being private under any circumstances. We really do want this to be a public amenity” that “ties together” the area.

Alder Roth said it would be strange to have a fenced-in private park in the middle of such a public space. “I’d almost think people will start to feel weird being in there.”

Liability issues might be a obstacle to keeping it open to the public, Roth and Nemerson said.

“I’m glad they want to activate it,” Roth said. A dog park would be better than nothing, but “I don’t want it to take away from the existing dog park,” she said.

That concern emerged on the Union Street Dog Park group Facebook page, where one member posted an open letter to Roth, asking her to try to dissuade 360 State from the dog park plan.

“I think it’s a mistake to make this land a private dog park because it will dilute the user pool for the Union Street Dog Park,” the member wrote. “A huge amount of effort has been expended by the city and volunteers (including many great 360 State residents) to convert the Union Street Park (formerly a drug haven) into a public dog park.”

Roth wrote back that she is happy to share the member’s concerns with 360 State. “However, as you acknowledge, I probably can’t make much of a difference. And the reason I am particularly doubtful is that the property management folks for 360 State Street said many of the residents of 360 State said they really want a private dog park because they work at YNHH [Yale-New Haven Hospital] and walk their dogs at odd hours of the night and so don’t feel safe in the Union St. Dog Park.”

The Union Street Dog Park is sure to become more popular in the near future, with new apartment complexes planned for the nearby Comcast building site and an adjoining lot as well as the old New Haven Coliseum site, Roth said.

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posted by: anonymous on July 8, 2014  9:16am

The original site plan had a landscaped plaza initially, followed by a building once funding could be assembled.

Installing a private dog park here represents a betrayal of the developer’s contract, and an abhorrent de-democratization of public space.

The community shouldn’t roll over on this. Can someone plan a sit-in?

posted by: WC10 on July 8, 2014  9:18am

A dog park at that location is a TERRIBLE idea. it becomes an even worse idea when limited only to those who live in 360 State can use the space. It will reduce the usage of the park DOWN THE BLOCK, and further the economic segregation of upper and lower Chapel.

You know what should go in that spot? Retail space or a public area where the street merchants can congregate.

This administration and economic development need to get their act together and stand up to the land lords and property owners who are walking all over them and actually negotiate land usage on behalf of the residents across this city.

posted by: grounded on July 8, 2014  9:21am

This is a terrible idea.  There’s a lovely public dog park a block away.  A private park so close to downtown is a terrible idea.  And if it’s a public park, or someone could argue that it’s a public park, it will be nearly impossible to un-parkify it in the future.  Politically, it’s tough to undo a park.  Legally, as a matter of CT law, too.

Wasn’t part of the deal with Becker that he would develop this site, too?  The City’s purchase agreements typically permit the City to take the property back if it hasn’t been used as promised in the agreement.  Can the City take it back and sell it to the highest bidder?

posted by: shadesofzero on July 8, 2014  9:35am

I’d love to see a garden or public eating area in the lot—that part of Chapel could use some aesthetic improvement. However, given the tax debacle with 360 State and the City, I’m not surprised that they’re not jumping to work with the City. If the Harp Administration could mend the fences a little, it might go a long way.

posted by: Threefifths on July 8, 2014  10:00am

Nemerson (pictured) said he’s been “talking and spending a lot of time with the whole [Bentall Kennedy] management team down in Baltimore, trying to establish a really good working relationship.”

Take from the play book of Ex mayor of new york,King Bloomberg Urban Planning Legacy.Wake up New Haven.The gentrification vampires are coming.Did you know that Bentall Kennedy main office is in Canada.

My Bad. I like how the people of Branford are fighting these gentrification vampires.

Yale Yacht Club Expansion Sparks Opposition.

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/branford/entry/yale_yacht_club_expansion_sparks_opposition/

posted by: markcbm on July 8, 2014  10:20am

Yes, let pets answer the call of nature on this corner, but not have human facilities at the ‘pissoir’ on the diagonally adjacent corner. 

Is that a gentrification gargoyle I see atop 360 State?

posted by: Pedro Soto on July 8, 2014  10:47am

Threefifths-
how in the world are the people of Branford fighting “gentrification vampires?” Do you realize the community of Short Beach is filled with million dollar properties? The residents there are fighting a potential deterioration of property values, not an increase.

posted by: anonymous on July 8, 2014  1:02pm

I’d like to know who was responsible for improperly wording the “development agreement” such that this situation was allowed to happen. 

When the Urban Design League said that 360 State would end up looking like a pile of droppings, I don’t think that this scale of injustice and incompetence is what they meant. 

Does New Haven need to pay its lawyers more, or require that they are trained in urban design?

posted by: HewNaven on July 8, 2014  1:14pm

Stop being nice. This plan smells like shit.

posted by: Edward Francis on July 8, 2014  1:52pm

In three of the pictures of the property one can see in the background a brick building on the corner of Chapel & Orange Streets.  The building one time housed the historic New Haven Bank N.B.A. one of the oldest national banks in America.  It fell by the wayside many years ago when First National Bank merged with it to form the First New Haven National Bank and eventually it was lost in further big time bank merger takeovers. The logo of the NBA bank was the beehive. The bees have buzzed away and now the question is will that corner being going to the dogs?

posted by: TheMadcap on July 8, 2014  2:26pm

I’ve complained about how that empty lot ruins the street scape in that area multiple times in comments here but I’d rather they keep it as fenced in weeds then as a place for the upper class to let their dogs poop in the middle of downtown.

posted by: BillSaunders1 on July 8, 2014  4:23pm

So, how long has Bentall Kennedy been managing 360 State Street?
Last I knew it was Bozzuto.

posted by: robn on July 8, 2014  4:24pm

This town is going to the dogs.

badump bump (cymbal crash)!!!

posted by: ILivehere on July 8, 2014  6:28pm

I’d rather see the space be built on but a dog park full people that pay 2500+ in rent would activate the corner and make it feel more upscale. In any case its private property so there’s not much you can do.

posted by: Paul Wessel on July 9, 2014  7:10am

Looks like a great place for a homeless encampment while this is being worked out.

posted by: budman on July 9, 2014  7:27am

Didn’t we sell this property for a dollar to the developer with the intent to build the building?  - nothing else.  The city should start playing hard ball and hold them to the development agreement. Enough is enough with this developer.  No garden, no dog park, no dining.  A building or nothing.  Let’s look into legal action and stop this nonsense.

posted by: wendy1 on July 9, 2014  8:26am

So the city intends to leave this unsightly lot as is….We need dog parks!!!!  There are only 2 in New Haven.  I use both.  One is owned by Yale which does not take care of the park (the Head Groundskeeper, Walter, told me his budget was deeply cut and I imagine he has other priorities)  The city is full of dogs especially pitbulls which need to run.  I know because I rescued one and the pound refused to take it as they are FULL of pitbulls.

posted by: BillSaunders1 on July 9, 2014  10:15am

Dogs are better suited for the country life.  Maybe these dog owners should move there…

posted by: Anstress Farwell on July 9, 2014  2:32pm

“Anonymous”-

We joined a community of thoughtful critics of this plan, particularly the volume of parking and its design. We also objected to the failed RFP process. We never did, not ever would, call this or any other project a “pile of droppings.” If you wish to call the project this or something else, please do so yourself—either “anonymously” or not.  Don’t attribute words to us.

posted by: Anstress Farwell on July 9, 2014  2:41pm

Lower Chapel Street faces many challenges—the area burned-out by the recent fire, the future use if the “Lot”, and this site. All three problem sites lower the value and viability of the others. A “dog park” wouldn’t help lift all boats here. The City’s objective to see all three sites built out is one we support.

posted by: RhyminTyman on July 9, 2014  7:49pm

3/5 have you been to Short Beach? The expansion of the YCYC would create more traffic and make the view less scenic. That is the opposite of fighting gentrification, that is ensuring its survival. Besides it has nothings to do with adding a dog park a block away from an already existing.

posted by: Threefifths on July 10, 2014  11:15am

@ RhyminTyman As I said. There are many steps to gentrification.The people I know who live downtown are being forced out due to the rents going sky high. Go to Orange ave.The girl who had Hair Salon had to move back to whalley ave due to her rent going up. Look at what they are doing in New york and around the country.

As New York Landlords Push Buyouts, Renters Resist
By MIREYA NAVARROJULY 9, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/nyregion/as-new-york-landlords-push-for-buyouts-tenants-stand-their-ground.html?ribbon-ad-idx=4&rref=nyregion&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=N.Y. / Region&pgtype=article


Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner forcing residents out of East Village building so he can get higher rents: tenants
Kushner, husband to Ivanka Trump and owner of the New York Observer, has reportedly been trying to evict tenants from 170-174 E. Second St. so he can renovate the apartments and rent to richer residents.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/donald-trump-son-in-law-forcing-residents-east-village-building-tenants-article-1.1861391#ixzz374wtncjk

And it is a fact that this is being done here.It just does not make the media.

posted by: ILivehere on July 10, 2014  11:58am

@ 3/5 for once I agree with you the difference of course being I see what you described as a good thing. Higher rents = clean and safe = higher grand list = lower taxes.
all good things.

posted by: Pat from Westville on July 10, 2014  2:58pm

@Threefifths: The Branford tussle seems to me merely a suburban version of town vs gown. Yale has already a foothold in West Haven (their “West Campus,” acquired from a pharmaceutical company), why not a little expansion in Branford.

Nobody has yet mentioned another reason against the idea of a dog park in that lot, so I will. Something else visible in the photos is a bus stop shelter-with-bench. I am very familiar with that stop as I frequently wait at it for the bus home from Elm City Market, door to door transportation is one of several good things about shopping there. Watching dogs poop is the very last thing I want to do while waiting for the bus.

And just what is the taxable potential of a dog park against a commercial building with one or more offices or shops? I should imagine the latter would bring in more tax dollars.

posted by: Threefifths on July 10, 2014  3:56pm

posted by: ILivehere on July 10, 2014 11:58am

@ 3/5 for once I agree with you the difference of course being I see what you described as a good thing. Higher rents = clean and safe = higher grand list = lower taxes.
all good things.

You can have Clean and safe with out higher rents.As far as Higher grand list lower taxes,We know that the rich always pay less taxes.My question to you is where are these people who will not afford to live there anymore go.I know people who make $250k a year who have legitimate difficulty making anything other than a basic lifestyle for themselves and would not be able to afford to live downtown.

posted by: Threefifths on July 10, 2014  4:06pm

posted by: Pat from Westville on July 10, 2014 2:58pm

@Threefifths: The Branford tussle seems to me merely a suburban version of town vs gown. Yale has already a foothold in West Haven (their “West Campus,” acquired from a pharmaceutical company), why not a little expansion in Branford.

You are correct.In fact the people I know in west haven did not want this to happen.Also did you know that just like the BOA sold yale that street.The west haven city council sold a street to UNH Look at this.

Developers buy Carroll Cut-Rate Furniture to renovate into retail, apartments in West Haven’s Allingtown

Notice who the apartments are for.

All but three of the apartments would be two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot units. The remaining three would be one-bedroom units, O’Brien said. They would be aimed at UNH professors and graduate students, along with employees of Yale and the Veterans Affairs medical center, O’Brien and Esposito said.
There would be parking for about 100 vehicles in back.

posted by: ILivehere on July 10, 2014  4:39pm

@ 3/5
1)As far as Higher grand list lower taxes, We know that the rich always pay less taxes.
That doesn’t make any sense were not talking about income taxes we are talking about the assessment placed on property and for rental property that is largely determined by net income.

2) My question to you is where are these people who will not afford to live there anymore go.

Anywhere else in the city that I’m pretty sure that more then 50% of the city is low income housing.

3)I know people who make $250k a year who have legitimate difficulty making anything other than a basic lifestyle for themselves and would not be able to afford to live downtown.

That just cant be true I don’t make near that much and I live in one of the most expensive buildings, drive 2 cars (pay to park both), eat out several times a week, and have no issues with money. Having said that once I have kids I’m out of here because I’m not going to pay $45k a year to send them to school when Guilford has a mil rate around 24 and great schools.

posted by: ElmCitizen on July 10, 2014  4:55pm

There are a bunch of conflated issues here.

If 360 State Residents do not feel safe at Union St park in the PM, then a plan should be put in place to increase lighting and other safety measure to a reasonable degree based on some feedback. Other than that, they can get dogwalkers. It’s a city, after all.

The agreement calls for a building - and either that should be adhered to, or another agreement should be reached. If need be, not in the court of public opinion alone. This has prime commercial potential.

In the interim, creating a limited use space that can be activated as an extension of Pitkin plaza, or a patio/beer garden next to Tikkaway (perhaps shared/managed by area restaurants) could fill in the gap.

posted by: Threefifths on July 10, 2014  6:50pm

posted by: ILivehere on July 10, 2014 4:39pm

You say Anywhere else in the city that I’m pretty sure that more then 50% of the city is low income housing.

Have you every heard of a waiting list.Do you know how many people are on the wait list to get into those low income housing.


That just cant be true I don’t make near that much and I live in one of the most expensive buildings, drive 2 cars (pay to park both), eat out several times a week, and have no issues with money. Having said that once I have kids I’m out of here because I’m not going to pay $45k a year to send them to school when Guilford has a mil rate around 24 and great schools.

Have you seen the cost of living.

Does $250,000 make you rich?

The White House says you�re wealthy if you make $250k a year. But what about cost of living? You would need $545k in New York to maintain the same lifestyle that $250k affords in Missoula, Mont. How much do you need in your city? Take a look at stamford Ct and New York.

New York (Manhattan) NY
Cost of living index: 218
Local equivalent to $250k: $545,000

Stamford CT
Cost of living index: 145.9
Local equivalent to $250k: $364,750

In click on this map.

http://money.cnn.com/news/storysupplement/economy/cost_of_living/


I will say it again.There are people I know right here make 250,000 are year and are living like this right here in NEW Haven that are living like this.

Down and out on $250,000 a year?

http://money.msn.com/tax-planning/down-and-out-on-250000-dollars-a-year-the-fiscal-times

posted by: quinnipiacave on July 11, 2014  8:07am

Why does this have to be all or nothing? It’s a relatively big lot. Couldn’t part of it be a public park or plaza for food carts, and part of it, the area closer to the building, fenced in as a dog run/park? There are many examples of this in New York (Tompkins Square Park springs readily to mind). Almost anything would be preferable to the current weed-covered, vacant lot surrounded by its ugly high fence.

I’m baffled by readers’ NIMBY-ish focus on dog poop. In my experience, owners who bring their dogs to dog parks are highly conscientious about picking up after their pets and they and their pets help to animate the area by creating traffic and social activity.

posted by: robn on July 11, 2014  10:38am

This moment of surreality brought to you by 3/5.

So which is it 3/5; are East Rock and other often lambasted neighborhoods rich white enclaves or are they down and out? (FYI, ER’s 2011 median family income was $47K)

posted by: HewNaven on July 11, 2014  11:40am

Quinnipiacave,

Nobody wants to eat near dog poop,or even order there food from a cart in close proximity. Why would you think that would work? *owns a dog

posted by: robn on July 11, 2014  12:32pm

HN,

1) Responsible dog owners bag dog poop immediately and discard it.

2) Like humans, dogs poop a few times a day; they do not emit a constant stream of poop.

3) As every child knows, everybody poops.

4) The land is private property and unless the and agreement with 360 set a deadline for development of the corner lot, they can make reasonable use of it.

posted by: grounded on July 11, 2014  1:35pm

To robn’s point that “unless the agreement sets a deadline,” NHI, I love you, but this is one of those instances where a little more investigation and reporting would go a long way.

What DOES the land disposition agreement say regarding this corner lot???

posted by: robn on July 11, 2014  2:11pm

NHI,

I love you too…but also please investigate and confirm that everybody poops.

posted by: HewNaven on July 11, 2014  4:55pm

robn,

I appreciate you stepping in front of the pitch for quinnipiacave. I guess one can have their poop and eat it too.

posted by: Shanti on July 12, 2014  11:32pm

These tenants don’t need a private dog park. Thousands and thousands of dog owners live in NYC and do just fine. As noted, there IS a dog park.
New Haven needs businesses and PUBLIC spaces, not a corner dedicated to a microscopic slice of the population.

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