Project Mischaracterization

According to the City Council Meeting Minutes (September 1, 2015), Chris Johnson with the Public Works Department told City Council Members the following:

“…The sidewalk [will] be where the ditch is located, therefore the impact on the lots [will] not change that much.”

Council Members based their decision to approve the project’s parameters based, in part, on this assessment.

At the 25% Design Meeting, however, a map was presented that revealed the true impact of the project. It shows that, in fact, the setback will be where the ditch is now. The sidewalk, buffer, permanent easements and temporary easements will drastically affect lots on the west side of the road after all. Chris Johnson presided at the meeting.

Lorimer Road w:ditch & arrow.jpg

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Resident Comments—Lorimer Road Project, 25% Design Meeting

Email to Talal Shahbander, Senior Project Engineer from Lorimer Road resident David Simonton in response to a request for resident comments at the 25% Design Meeting for the project—

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February 21, 2017

Dear Mr. Shahbander,

I am writing to request an adjustment to the design of the Lorimer Road Project: specifically, the reduction in the width of the setback, now set at 6 feet. I and most of my neighbors want a smaller “footprint” on our street. As the petitioner herself reported to the Public Works Department in May 2015, “Most All [Residents] Want 5′ Sidewalk and 2′ Setback.”

I believe a 6’ setback and 5’ sidewalk on our little-traveled, out-of-the-way street is excessive and out-of-place. The speed limit on Lorimer Road is 25mph, pedestrian traffic is nearly nonexistent and the vehicular traffic count is well under 1,000 cars a day. By comparison Daisy Street has heavy foot traffic, considerable vehicular traffic and a speed limit of 35mph—yet Engineering recommended a 2.5′ setback there, which the City Council unanimously approved.

A reduced setback on Lorimer will:

1)  save the City and taxpayers money, both in construction and easement acquisition costs,

2)  help preserve and protect the character of our neighborhood,

3)  SAVE TREES, which are integral to the look and feel of our long-established street,

4)  provide a majority of residents the outcome they desire.

I believe this request to be a fair one. As it stands now the project is astonishing in its inequity: residents on the east side of the street stand to lose a fraction of the frontage they now enjoy compared to those living on the west side, where the bulk of the impact will be felt.

A smaller setback will:

5)  reduce the project’s undue inequity,

6)  ease the growing tension between east-side and west-side residents.

I ask, then, that you please go before the City Council and request a reduction in the width of the setback on Lorimer Road.

Council Member Gaylord already recommended a smaller setback, an alternative Jimmy Upchurch said that Public Works was okay with (9/1/15). And Council Member Crowder assured Lorimer residents at a Neighborhood Meeting that she would advocate for us “to assure engineering involved property owners” (10/20/15).

As you wrote to colleagues back in September about the project, “We should be prepared to discuss recommendations of design alternatives with City Council.” I hope—and trust—that a reduced setback will be front and center in that discussion.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

David Simonton

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Why a Sidewalk on One Side of Lorimer and Not Both? How Was the West Side Chosen?

On September 1, 2015 Jimmy Upchurch said, “If ever there was a neighborhood that would support the UDO section in a retrofit-type situation, this is one that could support that. So we recommended the UDO 6′ & 6′ on that street, with the variance request to omit the sidewalk from the east side…. Now, the right of way would support the sidewalk on the east side, but that was omitted, mainly for cost….”

One side only, according to Upchurch, “mainly for cost.” So, what are some of the other reasons?

The City’s Stormwater Report found that the project will create additional stormwater problems, but that the increased runoff caused by introducing more concrete and pavement on Lorimer Road could be minimized “by putting sidewalk on one side only.”

—Did stormwater concerns influence the decision to put the sidewalk on only one side of the street? If so, how is that fair to the 90% of residents who, according to the City’s official Stormwater Report, don’t have any stormwater problems?

—Was the west side of the street chosen because that’s the side that will best minimize the impact of additional stormwater runoff caused by the project?

—Was it chosen because the west side is the side of the street Woodlinks Drive is on, a road also getting a sidewalk as part of the Lorimer Road project? Jimmy Upchurch made reference to “the gentleman [Woodlinks resident Justis Peters] who requested we carry [the sidewalk] onto his property” during his presentation to Council.

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