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City Plan: Chapel West Has Plenty Of Parking
by Allan Appel | Sep 19, 2012 8:35 am
Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Downtown, Dwight
While planners and professionals debated whether a Chapel Street project needs more parking, six young professionals showed up to say: We have cars and need the spaces.
They came to City Hall Tuesday night for a meeting of the City Plan Commission. They came to speak about a contentious proposal to build a five-story, multimillion-dollar building with 136 apartments (plus eight more in adjoining existing buildings) and street-level retail at the corner of Chapel and Howe.
The commission wasn’t discussing all the contentious issues about the project, including whether the developer, Randy Salvatore, should be allowed to tear down an historic home at 1249 Chapel to make room for the 53,000 square-foot project.
Instead, the commission discussed whether to give Salvatore parking relief. In addition to asking for 10 variances for his project, Salvatore has requested a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals to permit him to provide only 90 parking spots where 144 are required. The zoning board asked City Plan for an opinion on the parking question—hence Wednesday night’s meeting. (Click here to read a full story on the project and last week’s zoning board hearing.)
The City Plan commissioners Tuesday night voted unanimously to advise OKing the request and sent the project back to the zoning board. But, this being New Haven, first they participated in a drawn-out, passionate philosophical argument about density and cars.
City Plan staff and commissioners were asked their advice on whether the availability of mass transit, the provision of bicycle spots in the proposed building, and the availability of street parking justified the reduction.
Akimi Palitz and Rosa Ayala came to tell their story to City Plan commissioners. The two teachers (pictured at the top of the story) and four other friends, another teacher and three graduate students, share apartments in 1249 Chapel, the slated-to-be-demolished historic house that abuts the parking lot where the building would rise. All six young women have their own cars. They said there’s often no space in the public lot that’s adjacent to their building that’s on its way to being eliminated for private development.
“We’re the demographic they’re hoping for. The idea that this age group doesn’t have cars isn’t right. It’s idealistic to think that reducing parking will reduce the need for cars in New Haven,” Palitz said.
She and her five fellow Chapel-dwellers didn’t get to testify; City Plan ruled that the meeting wasn’t technically a public hearing. Plenty other people did speak, and in the background the six offered a real-life perspective.
Nor were other petitioners who were still hot from last week’s zoning board discussion allowed to speak. They included Dwight Alderman Frank Douglass, who asked for the administrative process to be tabled pending a full meeting with his constituents at a management team meeting.
Preservationist and former Dwight Alderwoman Olivia Martson also was not allowed to speak. She asked to intervene in the process about the 1249 removal; she lives around the corner.
To Be Haunted?
City Plan Chairman Ed Mattison ruled that no certain “algorithm” guides the many City Plan decisions permitting such reductions in parking. He wondered aloud whether one day such decisions might come back “to bite us.”
City Plan Director Karyn Gilvarg offered assurance that the city’s parking utilization studies reveal that only 67 percent of available spots are usually filled in the Chapel-Howe neighborhood, well below other downtown area averages. She also said that there is no evidence that previous large developments, such as 360 State Street, that have received parking relief, are now experiencing overflowing garages.
The staff’s recommendation for a yes vote was based partly on the availability of mass transit and bicycle parking in the area, according to its report. The report also stressed that young professionals are a target of the development, and they often don’t have cars.
Though voting yes, Westville Alderman Adam Marchand, a City Plan commissioner, remained skeptical. “This will raise demand and reduce existing supply as the lot will be built over.”
Mattison also confessed that the Howe Street area is his “secret” in that he could very often find available on street parking.
Commissioner Kevin DiAdamo moved to vote to recommend approving the exception. He, too, said he feels confident the neighborhood has enough parking.
That would be news to Palitz. The Wilbur Cross High School English teacher said when she returns from work, around 6 p.m., the lot is often full or near to it.
Douglass said the Dwight Management team would meet on the matter before the BZA meeting. “My constituents need to be on board,” he said.
Tags: Akimi Palitz, Rosa Ayala, Randy Salvatore
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Why bother to have parking requirements if we are going to keep allowing variances? Have you seen what happened in Westville by the park ? Parking Variance and now u can barley drive down West Rock Ave at night because of all the cars.
New Haven once again building it and worrying (or not) about where to put people later.
Build it and give them no where to go.
“This will raise demand and reduce existing supply as the lot will be built over.”
Guess what regulates supply-in-demand in a capitalist economy? Price. I.e. the market. Guess who does it in a socialist economy? The government.
Why are we committed to socialism about parking but almost nothing else?
posted by: Save1249Chapel on September 19, 2012 10:53am
Decreasing the need for cars by having better public transport within the city, more safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, making train travel out of the city more affordable, and having an airport with flights to more places than just Philadelphia would be better ways to decrease the need for cars than eliminating parking. I never took economics in college, but thinking that reducing supply will decrease demand is backwards.
The people making decisions for young professionals are often no longer young themselves, and do not know the needs of this growing population in New Haven. I would not mind being without a car if I did not feel my car was necessary. Although New Haven is a very walkable city, and I walk most places, it is difficult to live here without a car.
What is most disturbing about this story is that the public was muzzled by what Mattison calls a “technicality” that being it wasn’t deemed officially to be a public hearing. Hearing from the public should be welcomed, encouraged and embraced. City Plan and Mattison consider it a stumbling block and a waste of time. It’s not right.
It’s a shame they want to tear down 1249 Chapel. It’s an attractive, well-built 2-family home, probably built around 1900. That part of the neighborhood has a great mix of nice multi-family homes, 4-6 story apartment buildings, and a few single family homes. I think it would be a shame to start knocking down turn-of-the-century single and multi-family homes to replace them with apartment buildings. If the developer owns this house along with the lot, why not just keep the house and build a slightly smaller apartment building? The house probably has wonderful apartment space (whether or not it needs to be updated).
While I love the idea of building a residential building on this parking lot, I think the women that live there make a good point. If the lot is typically full at night, there would need to be substitute parking relatively close by. Using the utilization rate for the entire neighborhood to justify removing the lot (as Ms. Gilvarg does) is not a good enough argument. If the substitute parking is 10 blocks away it’s not very useful to someone who lives on that corner and needs to drive to Wilbur Cross each day. Any chance they can come up with a creative solution to build the apt building but keep some of the parking.. maybe below grade?
I agree with Long Time NH Resident. That said, rather than offering variances why not go back to the drawing board on the Parking Requirements so variances don’t have to be given all the time?
Also, is there a water table issue in that area of the city? Why not go down and put the garages under the buildings?
Regarding the stretch of W. Rock Avenue Long Time NH Resident references, just wait for the restaurant to open on the corner! I can’t wait for the battle to begin over resident parking permits on that block for all the residents of the multi-families who already cannot find parking on a Friday and Saturday night. And why did this happen? Variances.
The stupid thing to me is how short-sighted this city is. Offer variances on parking but don’t address the really poor public transportation in the city or the fact that no one, in their right mind, would ride a bike between neighborhoods at night given the poor lighting, lack of paths, etc…. Seems logical that if they are going offer variances limiting parking there has to be another way to get around then.
I say don’t offer the variance. Make the developer go back to the drawing board to either make a building that sits on top of the already present parking or dig out a parking garage.
posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 19, 2012 11:58am
Palitz is wrong. Its not not ideal to believe that people do not own cars in New Haven out of choice. I did not own one for three years and was fine. 50% of our downtown company does not drive to work.
The complex should absolutely get the variance and the historic nature of the building should not be held higher than the value of density to the City of New Haven.
I wasn’t suggesting decreasing supply. I was suggesting that if there truly is such a demand for parking, then private companies (developers, parking garage operators) will provide it.
“posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 19, 2012 11:58am
Palitz is wrong. Its not not ideal to believe that people do not own cars in New Haven out of choice. I did not own one for three years and was fine. 50% of our downtown company does not drive to work.
The complex should absolutely get the variance and the historic nature of the building should not be held higher than the value of density to the City of New Haven.”
Mr. Berkowitz, in order for New haven to thrive we are going to need more than just people who live and work in the city residing in our downtown core, therefore, cars are a necessity. By allowing cars we will attract people who work in the burbs. It is pretty cool that 50% of your company doesn’t drive to work but there aren’t enough employers in downtown New Haven to warrant a building without adequate parking. I have a company too (albeit not in New Haven) and employees who live in New Haven. Because of our poor public transportation infrastructure in CT they have to drive to work. Honestly, I’d rather they drive into New Haven at night and spend their money in our great establishments than choose to live in another area of the state because they can park their car their. If this is where the city is going they are not dealing with the reality of the good old US of A. We drive cars! New Haven’s zoning board isn’t going to change that.
I’ve lived in this neighborhood for years, and never once have I seen anyone do any kind of yard work on 1249 Chapel, nor any evidence that any HAS ever been done.
The front and side yards are filled with overgrown weeds, to the point of being an eyesore.
I find it hilarious that people are now so concerned about this property, when it’s owners and the people who live in it obviously don’t care about it at all.
As a side note, I just looked up 1249 Chapel on vision appraisal: http://data.visionappraisal.com/NewHavenCT/findpid.asp?iTable=pid&pid=18624
How can this house possibly be appraised at only $91,980? 3,046 square feet. Beautiful house. Prime downtown real estate. Sold for $330k in 2005. I’m sure it commands good rent.
The grassy vacant lot of the exact same size located directly next door at 1255 Chapel St is appraised for $91,000: http://data.visionappraisal.com/NewHavenCT/findpid.asp?iTable=pid&pid=18625
So according to Vision Appraisal the house is worth $980?
posted by: Save1249Chapel on September 19, 2012 1:19pm
Have you been by the house in the last two years? Several annuals come up in early spring/summer in the front garden. I planted sunflowers there this last year (and this year for that matter, but squirrels knocked them down before they flowered). There are three garden plots in the back my roommate and I tend that grow beets, strawberries, leafy greens, tomatoes, cilantro, and sage. Come by and I’d be happy to show you my garden.
Granted, our landlord does now mow the lawn very often or spend any time on maintaining the front garden, but a lot of care has been put into the gardens by the tenants.
Ding Dong is right: it is time to end parking socialism. The residents of downtown buildings need food but we don’t mandate that downtown landlords offer on-premises food to their residents. Why do we mandate parking? If there is a demand for parking, landlords will provide it. If not, not. No one is talking about not “allowing cars.” We are talking about “letting the market decide.” If downtown residents demand on-site parking, then landlords will provide it. If half of residents want downtown parking, a landlord might provide one spot per two apartments. Why is the city making this decision for the tenants and landlords?
Why do we have socialism for cars but not for people?
End Parking Socialism!
Long Live the Market for Parking!
There is something seriously wrong with an administrative process in which the people making the decision do not have full access to the information needed.
More than one City Plan Commission member noted that there was no site plan yet, they had to ask about how many units of housing were going up at the corner of Chapel and Howe Streets, even speculated that maybe some people who parked in the lot would lose out with a new building with tenant only parking and basically stumbled around and approved something they only partially comprehended.
Is this how important governmental decisions are made?
The plan submitted by RMS Chapel LLC in conjunction with current owner Joel Schiavone proposes to build 136 new units of rental space with street level parking of 90 spaces, so the building will be on stilts. One entrance would be on Chapel and one on Dwight. The design is based on the destruction of 1249 Chapel st., a fully occupied and viable property that is in the Dwight Street Historic District and is itself on the National Register of Historic Places.
The developer can build “as of right” if he stays within the zoning regs, but he is asking for a total of 10 variances - a large number for a single project - and the reduced parking is only one variance. With variances the developer can build larger and make more money. This is not about contributing to the neighborhood; it’s about making money.
The building itself will look like the one on Route 34 at the end of Dwight St. - a series of different colored stacked rectangles with no street life. There will be blank windows on Chapel St. That and the inside parking could be a muggers delight.
In contrast to the elegant details of the Y undergoing extensive renovations, the RMS building will be Hardie board. there has been no attempt to build something of quality to add to the streetscape.
And what will happen to the 7 leafy trees on Chapel St.?
The green house at 1249 is a gracious, restored and lovely transition from the commercial aspects of Chapel to the residential side streets. It is part of New Haven’s heritage and should not be tossed aside.
There are substantial issues with RMS’s plan and the Zoning Board of Appeals should re-open its public hearing.
posted by: streever on September 19, 2012 5:50pm
are you surprised that City Plan, after the Mayor’s re-org of it into “Economic Development: Part II” is pushing through a plan early and without all the information?
This is John DeStefano’s city: a city that bends over backwards for any and all development without ever considering the costs or limitations.
The irony in our city planners to assert that enough people bike while simultaneously rail-roading the “final build” of the East Coast GREENWAY trail as an on-street with-traffic “route” is amazing and deserves mention.
You aren’t going to convert smart young people like those who were barred from sharing their perspective if you can’t build real bike access for them.
The parking requirement is inane and is a type of socialism—I love the comparison of it to requiring landlords to hand out food too. If you own a car, you are responsible for finding a place to park it. There are lots with long-term parking all over downtown, and they can handle much of the parking need. Yes, in a dense city, you may have to walk a few blocks to get your car.
Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? It is a little harsh, but it is exactly why the parking requirement is so wrong-headed. By creating an expectation for having on-demand parking, for free, within 20 feet of your home, the city opens itself up to people actually expecting what they’ve been told to. Then, the city has to coldly dismiss that expectation. It is a bad way of doing business, and one that we should get out of by no longer being in the parking business.
The other thing that is concerning is that the same rule that limits other businesses is being waived in an easy and carefree manner by the Board. These parking requirements are given exceptions willy-nilly, with no real logic. I’ve seen applications shut down, and the argument that bike parking existed dismissed. I’ve seen applications approved on a hand-wave about bike-parking despite a dozen neighbors in opposition.
At the end of the day, the system is arbitrary, and those that participate in it have a moral obligation to acknowledge that they are not making these calls on real objective facts but on pressure from City Plan and “Counsel”.
posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 19, 2012 5:55pm
“Mr. Berkowitz, in order for New haven to thrive we are going to need more than just people who live and work in the city residing in our downtown core, therefore, cars are a necessity. “
You’re probably not surprised that I disagree with that strongly. People can take trains to other towns like Milford, Bridgeport, Stamford Etc and their employers can choose not to open offices in locations that are not accessible to public transportation.
Also, mind the data and the trends that show that “Shares of cars purchased by 18-34 year olds dropped 30% in the last 5 years” - : http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/17/news/economy/young-buying-cars/index.html
Lets see you need 144 spots but your removing the existing 60 spots for the building, that’s 204 total required spots. Hmmm lets require 90 that’s almost half.Somebody give the commission a calculator.
Karen when are you doing these parking studies between 9am and 11am while everyone’s at work and before the businesses are open? 67% availability is not a bit believable.
Ed Mattison is right to worry that this will come back to “bite us”
Remember that 360 State is within walking distance of most destinations and has a grocery store on the first floor.
BTW @ Westville- I thought the restaurant had opened that’s why the congestion and illegal parking on West Rock Ave. is so bad. Yikes, here’s an example of what will happen if we keep allowing the regulations to be varied without thought.
Shame on the City Plan commission for voting Yes. when they haven’t seen any of the site plans. They should have had a no vote until more information was submitted. Residents asked for the item to be tabled at the BZA meeting and then again at the City Plan commission meeting by Alderman Frank Douglas. The letter was submitted in the afternoon and Ms Gilvarg mentioned it as an after-thought. This was sometime after discussion had started on the item. It should have been introduced in the administrative portion of the meeting and the commission should have honored the request of the Alderman. I do admire the city engineer he seemed to understand the issue at hand and the importance of a no vote. Lets save the building and come up with a better plan for the neighborhood that includes: 1.Save the first fl for active uses (not a blank wall along Chapel St). 2.enhance pedestrian activity. 3.Support local shopping and retail. 4.Enhance the visual and functional coherence with other apartment buildings along Howe St. 5.Protect the residential character of Dwight neighborhood. maintain Historic character, traffic control and neighborhood scale.
@Streever. The commission members themselves seemed to acknowledge the inconsistency of adding and subtracting spaces without any real “algorithm” as they kept saying.
According to testimony at the BZA on the RMS plan, 360 State Street overbuilt its parking. Use is much lower than expected, but the size was mandated because of existing regulations.
Karen Gilvarg said at the City Plan Commission that the city is divided into 4 quadrants that are studied for parking use and that the Chapel West area had the lowest utilization.
It’s hard to evaluate factoids like this because there is nothing accompanying it.
The Friends of the Dwight Street Historic District are for preservation of the quality and scale of the neighborhood. Knocking down a perfectly good historic structure signals that the Vandals and Goths are at the city gate.
Again, the developer wants to build outside the existing zoning requirements and thus needs 10 variances.
This is not a great precedent.
Reducing the size of the building is the simple and reasonable solution to both the parking and preservation of historic structures.
Right now, the developer wants to double the lot coverage and quadruple the floor to area ratio. These are not variances. He wants spot zoning.
Right now, the developer wants to cut the parking square footage in half by not only reducing the number of spaces required, but by also reducing the size of the spaces by 20%. Unreasonable.
Right now, the developer wants to place a very tall and large building in immediate proximity or adjacent to smaller single or two/three family dwellings which is very insensitive to the neighborhood. But watch out – if Brian McGrath of Chapel West has his way. He announced at the annual meeting his redevelopment objectives by eminent domain. A very dangerous determination that threatens any owner of older construction in New Haven. Hey – if you’re in the way, we’ll just take your property for the “public good”. Or so they say.
And by the way, has everyone forgotten the whole Gateway crunch? The ripple effect reaches Chapel West too. For 8,100 Gateway students and staff the city has provided 1,300 parking spaces to accommodate 16% of their vehicles. Whose bright idea was that? Do they think this problem has vanished?
Oh, no! Lots of folks want to move to downtown New Haven.
Oh, no! A private developer wants to build apartments for them, without subsidies or eminent domain.
Oh, no! Some of the people in the apartments won’t have cars and (equally bad) some will.
Oh, no! The city has no idea of how many parking spaces are demanded by the private sector and yet for some reason refuses to mandate that the private sector provide many, many parking spaces no matter what.
Oh, no! An ugly surface parking lot will turn into a habitat for humans. And this in a downtown overrun with surface parking—what happened to *tradition* and blending into the neighborhood? This building will look nothing like the nearby surface parking lots (check google maps, its true.).
Oh, no! The building will be built in the style of our time, not in the style of the neighboring buildings that were built in the style of their time.
Oh, no! The folks in the building will shop and work and eat downtown and pay property taxes to the city through their rent checks. This will saddle the rest of us with lower property tax bills. I, for one, refuse to pay less than I am paying now.
Oh, no! The city may (or may not) after a series of meetings decide to waive some of its outmoded rules in order to let this parade of horribles happen.
Vandals and Goths, I tell you. This is the way that civilization ends.
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on September 19, 2012 10:13pm
The regulating bodies in this city really need to push the developer to use higher quality, natural materials for the cladding of the building, especially if they end up granting anywhere near 10 variances. The developer needs to cough up some extra money for the architect to design a building with some decent brick and stone and just accept a slightly slower return on investment. Ideally the base of the building would be stone, as would the lintels, sills and cornice with the rest clad in brick. At a minimum, the base could be concrete panels will concrete sills and cornice and brick for the rest.
It is also important to have a strong corner condition at this location. This requires the building to actually turn the corner and have active uses on both the Chapel Street facade as well as on Howe Street.
1249 Chapel Street is a vital historic and formal resource for the Dwight neighborhood, and should continue to serve as a transition into the smaller scale neighborhood that exists east of Dwight Street.
Parking is an issue that we’re going to have to face sooner or later. We can’t have both a vibrant city with safe, active streets and a parking spot for every resident and visitor at every time of the day. There just simply isn’t enough room for both.
Parking should ideally be handled comprehensively at the level of the district. This is especially true of center city districts like Chapel West/West Village, Downtown, Yale, Medical District and Audubon-Whitney. The best way to do this is to expand on-street parking facilities for merchants by reducing curb cuts, converting travel lanes and implementing diagonal and perpendicular parking in addition to creating 1-3 public structured parking garages in each district for daytime workers and overnight residents to share. A similar strategy with walled or otherwise hidden surface lots could work for places like the Westville Village, Quinnipiac River Village, SoHu and Wooster Square.
For another generation, New Haven’s streetcar suburbs and neighborhoods can probably do without comprehensive parking plans and still handle parking at the level of the individual lot, but for denser urban districts, the replacement of parking requirements for each individual lot with comprehensive parking facilities is way overdue.
posted by: streever on September 20, 2012 10:20am
99%r it is true, but I wish they’d speak out and criticize the process, instead of just showing up and voting however the city wants them to.
ConcernedCitizen: I don’t disagree with you on reducing the size. I think zoning can—and should—regulate things like lot coverage and building size.
I do NOT think though that zoning should be regulating individual parking spots (both on and off-site) for individual buildings.
The city needs a comprehensive parking plan, as Hopkins points out, and needs to stop sticking it on developers backs.
In places like Cambridge, the city increased local transit and made more bike lanes, while simultaneously making parking harder. Why? Because transit and biking are far more economically sustainable for a city than the losing game of 1 spot per 1 resident.
The cost of parking is astronomical to our society, in real world dollars, not just in health.
Why is our city lagging so far behind in smart development?
Where are our comprehensive parking plans?
Why aren’t we actively working toward proven successful models?
Because we exist in a desperate need state at all times, and do whatever it takes to get more of those tax dollars flowing in, instead of planning for the future as we ought to.
Streever – agreed. A long-term strategic plan for development and redevelopment to harmonize with existing construction, uses, parking, and transportation throughout the entire city would be a good thing. But without honest and transparent government, such a plan will languish. For instance, Chapel West has such a strategic plan, and ignores it for this project. See = http://chapelwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/master_plan_web.pdf
Instead, influencing approval for the Chapel/Howe proposal is a developers profit, the city’s economic development administrator for tax income, and Mr. Schiavone who stands to profit handsomely I’m sure in the sale of the collective parcels. Should they not get what they want, I “hear” they will just change the BD-1 zoning code to suit their needs, with of course, the support of Chapel West fronting the move as good for the district.
If New Haven really wants to become the “livable” city it purports to be, such a change to BD-1 or any zoning code should be rigorously publicized with workshops and hearings along with a government commitment to modernization of the city’s Comprehensive Plan of Development that includes the entire city, instead of just one neighborhood at a time without cohesion.
“It’s idealistic to think that reducing parking will reduce the need for cars in New Haven”
Misses the point. There are thousands of empty spaces within two blocks, most which sit empty almost all the time.
New Haven needs to get on board with the hundreds of other cities that have eliminated parking requirements altogether.
It’s literally the only way for this city to grow, attract more jobs for inner city residents, and become healthier.
I don’t get the complaint about the Hardie board siding. It’s mostly concrete, shaped to look like wooden clapboard but lasts longer with less maintenance. I’ve used it, and it’s not perfect but it’s a lot better than cheap vinyl siding. And the carpenter bees and woodpeckers won’t drill holes in it like they did to my wood shingles.
I think the questions to be asked is whether it’s a fair trade, to lose a nice old house to get rid of an unsightly parking lot. I’d note that the house did not make it into Elizabeth Mills Brown’s great little book “New Haven: A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design: 15 Illustrated Tours” but the long-gone Far East Restaurant did. It was next door, on part of what’s now the parking lot. Famed architect King-Lui Wu designed the glass box addition to the first floor of the old house.
At the risk of sounding flip, what I really want to know is whether I’ll still find nearby parking when I want to drive to Miya’s or the other great restaurants on that block for dinner.
Hardie board is better than vinyl, but it is not compatible with the the brick, stone and wood buildings around it in terms of either quality or design. And it will be 5 stories tall and on 2 blocks - Chapel & Howe.
This is not a quality project and the developer will likely flip it once it is rented and there is no guarantee the promised amenities will be part of the leases or continues by a subsequent buyer.
The scale, the blank windows at ground level on Chapel St, the lack of any architectural merit, together with the announced intention to demolish a historic house will all intrude on what is a real neighborhood worth walking and biking around.
Two points of information:
1)As of October 2011 parking utilization in this quadrant of downtown was 67%, downtown overall was at 87%. Here is the link for the annual point-in-time parking study done by the Transportation Department. http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/TrafficParking/pdfs/2011 Parking Plan.pdf
2) Chairman Mattison could not (by law) allow public testimony on this matter at the City Plan as the public hearing was before the Board of Zoning Appeals on 9/11, and was closed that night.
In view of the request of Alderman Frank Douglass for the matter to be postponed, and in view of the filing of 2 Applications to Intervene, the Chair and the Commission had the option to Table the matter and await more information.
The Traffic Engineer on the Commission had serious concerns about approving the size of the parking without knowing the impact on the area.
The process doesn’t work.
The ZBA’s public hearing was held without sufficient notice to the neighborhood as only residents within 250 ft required notice. Some people only learned of the plan and the hearing 24 hours before.
The Legislative Committee of the Board of Aldermen need to take a look at the entire process and draft legislation to improve it.
When the public feels rushed or made mute, people feel the fix is in, whether or not that is true.
The appearance of fairness is as important as the substance.
The thoughtful comments posted here on the entire issue show the kind of time it takes to share information and get feedback.
The City can do better.
posted by: Save1249Chapel on September 21, 2012 6:31pm
The 67% represents total spots being used, not just those available for residents in the area. It includes temporary and business parking. Surface lot usage, probably the most likely subcategory to allow resident parking, is pretty high in comparison to other districts. Garage usage is rather low in the area, likely because of the Yale garage, which is not open to the community. It was already made clear at the BZA meeting that Yale would not be accepting any of the overflow of parking this development produces if it provides insufficient parking for its residents. That 67% does not accurately predict how much usable parking is available for the potential tenants of the development.
The report you site even says, “It should be noted that Broadway/Yale district has a much smaller number of parking spaces compared to other districts; therefore a relatively small change in the number of parked vehicles in that district could result in a significant change in the utilization rate.”
The contemplations of the committee on the perceived parking occupancy in the area seemed less reliable than public testimony, so why is it illegal? I fail to see the harm in listening to residents of the city you are making decisions for. I will say that during weekday afternoons, that lot is almost always 100% full.
The biggest and most basic question was not even asked:
How many people will be living in this new building?
Based on the plan (assuming that two bedrooms are occupied by two; half of one bedroom renters are occupied by two, the other half by one; and studios are occupied by one tenant) with the 90 parking spots, I calculate that about 50% of the tenants will be able to park. With the required 144 by zoning rules, about 80% could park. This seems more in line with the percent of people I know who are young professionals/grad students in New Haven that have cars.
The Commission does not have to agree that the development should provide parking for all their tenants who want parking. However, I would have more faith in the city’s ability to make decisions to plan for its future if better questions were asked, and there was more evidence of critical interpretation of available data at these meetings. I was very disappointed to see how little thought went into the votes made that night.
The Yale Parking Garage is definitely an issue. Yale should be willing to work with the neighborhood and not make it so difficult for incoming developers and businesses. With all the pedestrian activity along Chapel St. and the additional incoming activity becoming evident with the merger between YNHH and St Raphael’s Hospital, We need an attractive, safe corridor for pedestrians and parking for those who visit New Haven. Keeping the historic home at 1249 Chapel adds street life and vitality to the corridor and a wonderful transition to the residential neighborhood. Yale’s opposition to some parking arrangement is bad for business and hurts the commercial district along Howe and Chapel Street. What are they thinking!!!
This proposed building is ugly.
It may very well be of its time, but so were all those hideous monstrosities from the 1970s. We can consign blue tuxedos to the rag bag, and bad studio furniture to the fireplace, but this building we will be stuck with for years to come.
Free market forces can be very effective—just look at the quality of motor cars now available. Yet, it also gives us slum lords and problematic politics. If we must rely upon the free market, then let the land lord agree to rent apartments with a parking space, and apartments without.
Olympia, I do not take the meaning of your second post. In what way is Yale not working with people living in this area. While I do not care for their parking garage across the street from this site, I am not seeing the connection. Please clarify. Thank you.
“With the required 144 by zoning rules, about 80% could park. This seems more in line with the percent of people I know who are young professionals/grad students in New Haven that have cars.”
80% of graduate students have cars? I don’t think so. Plus, there are hundreds of spaces in the surrounding area that easily can be rented for $50/month.
We shouldn’t force a developer to build ANY spaces, much less 144.
This City needs more affordable housing, not more strip-mall luxury apartments w/ 2 parking spots like what you have in Fairfield County. Affordability has a lot to do with how much parking you force developers to build.
This is a main reason why so many cities in the country have eliminated their parking requirements altogether.
With all due respect to Karyn Gilvarg, here is the real link to the 2011 City Parking Plan, which does not appear to me to display any optimism for the parking system capacity. See: http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/TrafficParking/pdfs/2011 Parking Plan.pdf
This particular report finding, resulting from Gateway, is certainly true: “Starting in the third quarter of 2012 and continuing through the second quarter of 2014, the downtown parking system will experience a noticeable parking crunch, with an estimated 97% of spaces to be occupied during the day.”
While we can all hope the speculated parking developments come true in 2014 or some day, NOTE the consultant bases this “crunch” finding on an assumption that Gateway only needed 1,300 parking spaces for 16% of the 8,100 students and staff! My goodness Karyn, your quote from this report is clearly out of context. Where do you think all the displaced parking goes! It goes searching and rippling to the closest neighborhoods, like Chapel West! This report needs a reality check pretty darn quick that includes a REAL number of spaces needed for Gateway accommodation!
Is it possible to correct the link in my last post? It is supposed to be:
http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/TrafficParking/pdfs/2011 Parking Plan.pdf
As the lawyer for the Developer of the Chapel/Howe project, I am writing to correct a number of misstatements about this project. First, it is absolutely false that the Developer has not engaged the community in this project or has in any way rushed the approval process. Beginning in the summer, the Developer met with the Alderman for the Ward and the Chapel West Special Services District. Because the Management Team does not meet in the summer, the Developer and I also attended a meeting of some members of the Management Team at the Greater Dwight Development Corporation. The Developer also attended the earliest meeting of the Management Team that he could in September and was asked to come back in October for an additional presentation. Additionally, the Developer met with the New Haven Preservation Trust on two occasions and is working closely with them on a number of initiatives to relocate 1249 Chapel Street. The Developer met, spoke to and/or corresponded with (or I on his behalf) the YMCA, Miya’s, CA White, Yale, a neighbor who owns 70 Howe Street, Geraldine Florists, the Urban Design League, the owner of 80 Howe Street and other apartments in the neighborhood, and numerous individual neighbors. The Developer is continuing to meet with neighbors and will be attending the October Dwight Community Management Team meeting. There was also full opportunity for public input at the BZA meeting, which was advertised widely and in full compliance with all legal requirements. There were 5 signs announcing the BZA meeting posted on the site for at least 16 days before the hearing as well as two newspaper advertisements and a number of individual notices. Additionally, the Developer has agreed to postpone its site plan application to the City Plan Commission for 30 days so he can get input on the design of the project at the Management Team meeting. There will be no approval of any of the Developer’s applications before the October Management Team meeting.
A second correction required is that the Developer did not tell the BZA that the Urban Design League supported his project, although he did state, as is accurate, that he had met with the Urban Design League. Finally, with respect to 1249 Chapel Street, the Developer has made a number of efforts to relocate the house, including attempting to purchase the adjacent lot, which sold for three times its assessed value at a tax foreclosure auction to another party, offering the house to Neighborhood Housing Services, which turned it down, and requesting that the Connecticut Preservation Trust list the house in its newsletter and website and provide ideas to him. The two historic houses on Dwight Street, a residential street, are part of the project and will be rehabilitated. The Developer is committed to continuing his efforts to relocate 1249 Chapel Street as well as to contining to meet with the neighborhood.