I wish I wore some shrimp boots to the Planning and Zoning meeting last night, because I felt like there was a lot of ***t being shoveled out to the audience. Yes, following my fact piece, regarding the Pre-Stressed Port Marigny development, I’m going to give you my candid thoughts and opinions. Honestly, the “they team” (The Pittman’s and their consultants), should have been better prepared and are probably are a bit embarrassed right now. They could have done a much better job presenting this “vision of grandeur,” which in a nutshell, is shoving 10 pounds of peanuts into a 5 pound bag, for a larger return on investment. This is not about making Mandeville better by placing a “neon hotel sign” (yes they presented that idea at the meeting) for those weary Causeway drivers, who trekked all the way from across the lake for a place to stay (according to their market study). This is about MONEY!
News flash – since the first Charette, I was not been opposed to some type of mixed-use development at all. I truly think it is a great idea and welcome progress and was open to the ideas being presented. What has made me become annoyed and defensive Greta, has been the tone from the “they” camp, since the very first Charette! “They” have been extremely patronizing and clueless on presenting national averages and projected traffic, when they don’t drive around here every day or even live here. The tone set from last night, probably put almost every person in that room in defensive mode. Shot themselves in their own foot, so to speak.
Let me set the tone of last night’s presentation that “they” presented. The local owners of the 78 acres, brought in 2 professionals from out of town, to sell US this vision of New Urbanism that we MUST have (according to them), because:
- Everyone who is anyone only wants to live like this in today’s age.
- Our own city master plan says that we MUST have this just the way they are showing us.
- According to their hired local lawyer, “you want this and it could be worse and oh ya – we’ve spent a lot of money to give you this gift that you are a fool to not take.”
Here are a few bullets that point out my thoughts from last night:
- Poor slides. Power Point 101 folks – pretty pictures and LARGE text only!!!
- Charts with numbers that don’t add up for traffic counts (seriously, it took a local resident to point out that the math was incorrect in the chart), WAY underestimating the traffic counts they were presenting!
- Ignorant that any local traffic studies Pre-Katrina versus post-Katrina, don’t count! We were essentially informed that Mandeville had experienced “flat-line traffic growth since Katrina (see picture).”
- Comparing this to Seaside, which is a VACATION destination, not a sleepy suburban community.
- Lecturing us repeatedly on history lessons of WWII grid cities blah blah blah…..
- Hogging the time up with another repeat of the last presentation sales pitch, leaving very little time for public discussion.
- Trying to sell us on the fact that Millenials will flock to this type of community because they don’t ever want to drive. (This is not New York or DC – you need a car to get around). Have you seen the Mandeville High School parking lot? Every kids has a car!!!
- Inability to answer simple questions without circling around like a dog chasing his tail. Asked twice, how many cars they predict will be on the property at any given point, no answer was ever given. My previous post states that on national average, there are 1.9 cars per household = with 429 units = 815 cars. This does not include, house guests, visitors, commercial property, boat slip traffic and special event counts. Just answer the question!!! Will there be restrictions on how many cars a family can have? Me thinkest the idea of a parking garage is waiting in the wings – and that is just a “Phase whatever” not to be discussed at the moment.
- Selling me national averages of traffic, when I live and drive here and they just DON’T MAKE SENSE!
- All the presented traffic statistics were adjusted for some bogus estimate that 30% of the people who choose to live there will walk everywhere and never drive.
- Selling us the premise that PM traffic studies represented the highest counts and ignoring the AM traffic counts. The affected area has schools in it – with one way roads during school drop-off and pick up times. These were not taken into consideration and there was no mention of the back up that takes place on the East Causeway approach in the AM either.
- Selling us to the idea that the previous “F’ rating for taking a left onto Florida does not really count because the wait was less than 5 minutes. We chose to live here and commute around in ease in our ideal community setting, not some national statistic, folks. If we wanted to live in a large busy city, we would have.
- Honesty and transparency; conduct a real traffic analysis to identify the potential problems.
- The P&Z needs to recommend to the City Council that we don’t rush into Phase One, just because the Pittman’s spent a lot of money and may walk away. They waited this long, they can wait a little longer to ensure this is done right.
- Digital Engineering (hired by the City) to sit down with the “they team” some more, to review their conflicts and expand the study to look at the critical intersections and not just the “¼ mile radius.”
- The council to stay their vote UNTIL the REAL traffic impacts are determined and dealt with.
- Determine if a link through Mariners and Causeway access is a feasible assumption for inclusion in the traffic. No need to RUSH through Phase 1 or 2 and hope that happens. This part actually goes on the City and is not the “they team’s” problem.
- The number of apartments to drop from 192 to ZERO and/or other density reduction measures. Many of us believe in our hearts that this development, at the number and density of living units planned will result in unacceptable traffic problems.
- REAL traffic studies that look at the CRITICAL routes and intersections (not those cherry-picked by the “they” team) during commuting times in the morning and during a school day!
- The city council members and the Mayor to acknowledge that they won’t rubber stamp this proposed development without first addressing the impacts. Elections are coming up.
*** Next P & Z meeting on Port Marigny September 1st 7:00
***From Seaside’s own website: SEASIDE®, built on 80 acres on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is located on South Walton County’s Hwy. 30-A, between Panama City Beach and Destin. Acclaimed world-wide as one of the iconic examples of New Urbanism, SEASIDE® offers a thriving town center with shopping and dining, all within walkable distance to homes, cottages and offices. Consisting of more than 300 homes, many of them vacation rentals, the community offers more than 12 restaurants and eateries, and 41 shops and galleries.