People have been living in this neighborhood, this place, for thousands of years.
We live in the bend of a state scenic River, on rich, fertile ground, Davidson Loam. Seated here we are eight tenths of a mile from the front porch of Monticello, a mile and 2/10ths from the downtown mall. Seated here we are home, in the center of our universe.
But often we feel, as a neighborhood, that we are in the center of the crosshairs.
Over the years our discussions with the Council have focused on a handful of issues. We’ve asked for reductions in traffic speed and volume, we’ve asked for a reduction of the sewage smell. We’ve asked for pedestrian safety improvements and we have asked that planning and zoning be used to conserve our cultural and natural resources as well as our quality of life.
We have partnered with government entities in the creation of a national historic district, in the design of a sewage pumping station and in the care of our City park. We plant streetscape trees. We pick up trash, we attend City meetings. We have accomplished much but still, we feel threatened.
We are reassured by statements from Mayor Huja and Vice Mayor Szakos in opposition to a bridge through the Woolen Mills. We thank Dave Norris for his enduring stand against the County using City neighborhoods as an interchange.
Diversity is a strength to our way of thinking. We are all kinds of people in this neighborhood. But our mixed status, our socio-economic profile, seems to attract locally unwanted landuses.
Please work with us in our effort to secure the quiet enjoyment of our own homes and the health, safety and welfare of our neighborhood. Together we can make it so.
Abrupt typology shift.
Theoretically, the primary purpose of zoning is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible. In practice, zoning is used to prevent new development from interfering with existing residents or businesses and to preserve the “character” of a community. Zoning is commonly controlled by local governments such as counties or municipalities, though the nature of the zoning regime may be determined or limited by state or national planning authorities or through enabling legislation.–Wikipedia
Mixed use districts downtown north and downtown extended, business, residential and manufacturing B1, R-1, R-2, M-I, plus several individually protected properties.
We changed our zoning east of the tracks to allow for higher density student habitat.
West of the tracks, human scale.
Sunday a forum was staged by the Martha Jefferson Neighborhood Association to brainstorm with members of City Staff, Council and Planning Commission what to do now that MJH has taken the suburban plunge.
I have deep affection for Martha Jefferson Hospital but no love for the mess its exit leaves behind, the acres of impervious surface, the far-flung degraded neighborhood landscape of single family residences repurposed to house the filing cabinets and fax machines of medicos.
No summary offered here of brain storm sequelae.
On a personal note, I had a profane response, an emotive outburst (fortunately, not televised) following the brainstorming session. The position in which Martha Jefferson and Little High neighborhoods find themselves is similar to that of the Woolen Mills neighborhood and that similarity provoked me to say GOD DAMN.
Fifty years ago the Woolen Mills lost a neighborhood institution. Since the time of that loss the Woolies (Woolen Mills neighbors) have worked with City Staff, the Council and the Planning Commission to take corrective steps to lessen the consequences of the vacuum, the big emptiness that happens when a mono-culture moves on.
These cases of institutional death and institutional relocation are different. The problems faced by the neighborhoods are different. But the cast in the plays are the same. Planners, bureaucrats, politicians, developers and citizens.
Woolies have worked steadily for 50 years to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood.
Frankly, we have received little aid from the City in our efforts.
We like to talk about zoning best practices. Some neighborhoods have more zoning “best practices” than others.
This is not one of those neighborhoods.
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At the foot of Monticello Mountain, at the SE entrance to CHO, Route 20 Exit, I-64.