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04-17-2012 CAW City of las Cruces PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION WORK SESSION AGENDA The following work session agenda will be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Las Cruces, New Mexico, at a public hearing held on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers located in City Hall at 700 N. Main Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico. The City of Las Cruces does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, ancestry, serious medical condition, national origin, age, or disability in the provision of services. The City of Las Cruces will make reasonable accommodation for a qualified individual who wishes to attend this meeting. Please notify the City Community Development Department at least 48 hours before the meeting by calling 528-3043 (voice) or 1-800-659-8331 (TTY) if accommodation is necessary. This document can be made available in alternative formats by calling the same numbers listed above. I. CALL TO ORDER II. APPROVAL OF WORK SESSION MINUTES — June 21, 2011 III. NEW BUSINESS 1. CPB-12-01: Discussion of a recommendation to City Council regarding the adoption the EI Paseo Corridor Community Blueprint. IV. ADJOURNMENT t City of Las Cruces 1 2 3 WORK SESSION OF PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION 4 FOR THE 5 CITY OF LAS CRUCES 6 City Council Chambers 7 April 17, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. 8 9 BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: 10 Charles Scholz, Chairman 11 Godfrey Crane, Vice Chair 12 William Stowe, Member 13 Donald Bustos, Member 14 Charles Beard, Secretary 15 Ray Shipley, Member 16 17 BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT: 18 Shawn Evans, Member 19 20 STAFF PRESENT: 21 David Dollahon, Chief Planning Adm., Planning & Neighborhood Services 22 Srijana Basnyat, Planner 23 Bonnie Ennis, Recording Secretary 24 25 I. CALL TO ORDER (6:02 pm) 26 27 Scholz: Good evening, and welcome to the work session of the Planning and 28 Zoning Commission for April 17th, 2012. I'm Charlie Scholz, Chair of the 29 Commission. Today we're going to hear from the Chief Planning 30 Administrator and the subject is going to be a recommendation to City 31 Council regarding adoption of the EI Paseo Corridor Community Blueprint. 32 1 might point out for those of you in the audience; I don't actually 33 see anyone in the audience; but for those of you in the audience that this 34 is a work session. The public is invited to attend but we don't allow the 35 public to comment at this session. 36 37 II. APPROVAL OF WORK SESSION MINUTES — June 21, 2011 38 39 Scholz: So the first order of business is the approval of the minutes of the last 40 work session. Are there any additions or corrections to those minutes? 41 No? Okay, hearing none I'm going to ask for approval of the minutes. 42 1 I Crane: So moved. 2 3 Scholz: Okay. It's been moved. Is there a second? 4 5 Two Commissioners at the same time: Second. 6 7 Scholz: Okay, it's been moved and seconded. All those in favor say aye. 8 9 All: Aye. 10 11 Scholz: Those opposed same sign...and abstentions... All right, the minutes are 12 approved. 13 14 Ill. NEW BUSINESS 15 16 1. CPB-12-01: Discussion of a recommendation to City Council regarding the 17 adoption of the EI Paseo Corridor Community Blueprint. 18 19 Scholz: All right, Mr. Dollahon, you are going to present to us a recommendation 20 today. 21 22 Dollahon: Actually, Mr. Chairman... David Dollahon, for the record. Because this is 23 a work session we're not actually going to ask for a formal 24 recommendation today. Our intent is to come back to at your regular May 25 meeting for adoption of the recommendation then we'll be moving forward 26 to City Council after that. That's just our title at this point, our working title, 27 and so what Srijana Basnyat and I are going to present to you, two 28 components of it: I get the introduction and Srijana gets the actual 29 Blueprint; and so we'll give you a broad overview of where we are and 30 then be happy to answer questions and take directions and go from there. 31 So with that we'll get started. For most of you who've been in the 32 Planning and Zoning Commission for a while, in 2011 staff proposed and 33 this Body recommended to the City Council, who ultimately adopted what 34 we're calling the CPB or Community Planning Blueprint. It was intended 35 to be a shorter version of an overlay plan or some other special planning 36 district. So the overall purpose is to: achieve the goals, objectives and 37 policies of the current Comprehensive Plan; to insure consistency with the 38 MPO's current 2040 Transport Plan to provide a conceptual tool to 39 address fiscal impacts, neighborhood and stakeholder concerns, public 40 improvement needs, and/or community vibrancy and stability issues; as 41 well as identify characteristics, features or conditions that need to be 42 replicated, preserved, or enhanced throughout the community and, in 43 some cases, removed as the preference of the community may be; 44 consider needs, challenges or opportunities for the area, neighborhood, 45 corridor or place in an expedited manner; try to foster and improve 2 I relationships with various neighborhood; head off and resolve any existing 2 land use conflicts, and; develop future land use plans for small areas. 3 This is intended to be what we at the staff level very "quick and 4 dirty" planning at the local level, a much smaller level. For some of you 5 who've been here on the Planning and Zoning Commission, it took us a 6 great while to do the last Overlay Zone, which was the Alameda Depot, 7 and so our intent is to move the process along faster than what we would 8 normally have under our normal neighborhood plan or sector plan or the 9 like. 10 Picturing EI Paseo started all of this process. It was a two-year 11 effort for us; most of 2010 and 2011 involved that effort. The public input 12 process or the public input portion in the Draft Blueprint before is what 13 informed the Issues, Challenges and Opportunities section. Just to give 14 you a little bit of background on the Picturing EI Paseo, the City in 2009 15 was the recipient of a Technical Assistance Program grant from the EPA 16 for their Smart Growth Implementation Efforts. We were one of four 17 communities selected in 2009 for that Effort. There was no cash involved 18 with the grant. Essentially, the EPA, HUD and DOT provided technical 19 assistance to the community for identification of issues that we had 20 proposed in addressing along EI Paseo. 21 EI Paseo Road is, as most of you know, and I remember it from my 22 first days starting in college, which is going on twenty-five years ago, has 23 changed significantly. It provides a variety of uses. It houses Las Cruces 24 High School. It has a very diverse population. It is heavily auto-oriented 25 and it also, because of the school and other uses in the surrounding area, 26 has a high level of pedestrian traffic. There is some bicycle traffic, but 1 27 would call those dangerous enough to take its own accord; and then it 28 lacks facilities for both. When we're talking about lacking facilities for 29 both, we're talking about bicycle facilities and safety for pedestrian traffic. 30 The EI Paseo Corridor provides an important link to the City's 31 ongoing Downtown revitalization efforts and the University Avenue 32 development and the new NMSU Master Plan. As some of you recall, in 33 the last two-and-a-half years we've updated the University District Overlay 34 Zone as well. 35 Some of the components that we were charged with doing or we 36 worked on are doing the Picturing the EI Paseo through this EPA Smart 37 Growth Implementation Grant were visioning workshops, a Green 38 Infrastructure Conference, a Road Safety Audit for the entire corridor and 39 Brownfields Assessments on selected sites within properties adjacent to 40 EI Paseo. 41 As a result of the effort, before you and I'm not going to read it, is 42 the Vision Statement for Picturing EI Paseo. It is a forward-thinking vision. 43 It does not represent how EI Paseo is now. It's what the public has 44 indicated to us that they would like to see EI Paseo be in the future. 45 A timeline: this is a little bit looking backwards and going forward. 46 The Blueprint Initiative was adopted by City Council in June of 2011. We 3 I spent most of 2010 and 2011 on the Picturing EI Paseo effort. We've had 2 stakeholders' meetings. The last one was held November 15th of 2011. 3 There were approximately two property owners, realtors and developers 4 that were involved in that meeting. The Draft Blueprint was sent out for 5 public comment on March 14th. We've had quite a few comments come 6 in. Most of them were positive. I would say all of them were positive 7 except for one at this point. Our efforts are to go to this meeting tonight to 8 get your feedback and input. The next step is that your May, regular 9 public hearing at the end of May, would be for recommendation for 10 adoption and then we're shooting for either late June or early July for City 11 Council adoption of what is our first Blueprint for EI Paseo. We're also in 12 the early works of starting our second Blueprint so we're having a meeting 13 with some neighbors relatively soon. So, with that, I'll turn it over to 14 Srijana, who is one of our Planners in the Planning Section and she will 15 carry us through the rest of the overview of the plan and we're both here 16 for questions. 17 18 Scholz: Thank you, Mr. Dollahon. 19 20 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioners. Good evening. Srijana Basnyat, Community 21 Development. The Draft before you is a short document with about six 22 pages of text. You'll see that it's divided into several sections. The main 23 three sections of the document are the Issues/ Challenges, the Goals and 24 the Actions and then to start off we have the Background Introduction to EI 25 Paseo. We'll start with the planning boundaries. We are considering the 26 northern boundary to be where the Central Business District and the 27 South Mesquite Overlay end. The southern boundaries would be where 28 the University District Overlay ends; and on the west is Main Street and on 29 the east is Espina and we're going one parcel width east of Espina. The 30 Corridor itself is about 1.7 miles in length. Most of the issues and 31 challenges were informed by the Picturing EI Paseo process and the most 32 prominent issues have to do with the road itself: the physical condition, 33 the sidewalks in disrepair, the high crash rates, the fact that EI Paseo is 34 not really designed for other modes of transportation. It is essentially an 35 automobile-dominated commercial Corridor. 36 In 2010 we had the Road Safety Assessment, which delivered a set 37 of recommendations to improve user safety on the corridor and most of it 38 had to do with limiting the number of access points, reducing turning radii, 39 lane widths, etc. are things to do with the actual design of the Corridor 40 itself. The other issues that were brought out were related to the 41 environment: people really wanted to see more green infrastructure, just 42 some shade trees along EI Paseo and, in general, to improve the 43 aesthetics along the Corridor. Lastly, they also wanted...when we had a 44 stakeholders' meeting, the developers and property owners really wanted 45 to see some flexibility in the use of their properties. 4 I Besides these issues we also have several opportunities along the 2 Corridor, basically Roadrunner Transit already has a service along that 3 Corridor, but there is ample opportunity to provide a multi-modal 4 transportation network. We have received many comments for bike lanes 5 and to make the Corridor pedestrian-friendly. This will, of course, 6 contribute to placemaking and then, of course, we already do have an 7 existing housing stock around the Corridor but it could really use a lot 8 more housing to support the commercial businesses. 9 Of course, the public really wanted to see some active living and 10 healthy living standards; just to see a lot of walkability and just things to 11 enhance the Corridor in general, which would eventually contribute to 12 healthy living. So taking all of the Issues and Opportunities we developed 13 a set of six Goals for this planning area: 1) to redevelop EI Paseo Road 14 as a safer and more user-friendly Corridor; 2) allow diverse land uses and 15 housing types to locate in proximity to each other; 3) to allow for flexibility 16 in land and building uses so the development can respond to economic 17 and ownership changes; 4) to improve the aesthetic appeal of the Corridor 18 and to foster a "sense of place" or community identity; 5) encourage 19 climate-responsive and environmentally sustainable development 20 practices, and; 6) to support active living and healthy community design. 21 These goals were all derived from the public input either during the entire 22 Picturing EI Paseo process or input received at the stakeholders' meeting 23 held in November, 2011. 24 Then we have a set of Actions that support these Goals: and the 25 first one would be to develop and adopt a form-based code; to design EI 26 Paseo Road as a Complete Street; to implement the RSA 27 recommendations as they pertain to the Goals; to incorporate ITE's The 28 Institute of Transportation Engineer's manual recommendations in 29 Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares; to encourage strongly 30 speaking higher density housing along and around the Corridor in order to 31 support affordable housing strategies and the transit-study studies; to 32 encourage the integration of affordable housing units or the 33 redevelopment projects around the Corridor; to develop standards for 34 destination-oriented or transit-oriented development with more human- 35 scaled civic spaces and the like; to adopt urban design and architectural 36 standards, which also came from the stakeholder's meeting; to adopt 37 Green Development Standards both for land development and building 38 practices, and lastly: to research incentive programs and tools. 39 So then the Draft really works off of Transport 2040, the Complete 40 Streets Guiding Principles, a resolution that was adopted by City Council, 41 also the City of Las Cruces Long Range Transit Plan and the City of Las 42 Cruces Affordable Housing Strategies Plan. 43 As David mentioned before, we've received six comments in total 44 on the Blueprint Draft, three in favor of bike lanes. There are some of the 45 excerpts in case anybody wants to read them. And with that I actually end 46 my presentation. I'm happy to take any questions. 5 1 2 Scholz: All right, gentlemen? 3 4 Crane: I have two minor observations, things I've pulled: directions, I have a 5 question on that, a large observation. I don't know how far this document 6 goes in terms of distribution but I think, under the second paragraph on 7 the Background on page 2, it starts through a long public engagement 8 process... the 4th line; I think this input "led," I-e-d, is correct. "Lead" is 9 wrong. 10 11 Basnyat: That is correct. 12 13 Crane: Okay. 14 15 Scholz: Yup. My God! A grammarian in the crowd here! Proceed, Commissioner 16 Crane. 17 18 Crane: And towards the back there's a new word, which substitutes for an existing 19 word, page 5, the bullet points on the left column, 4th one, "develop 20 standards to guide the, how about "evolution?" ...just a suggestion. Okay. 21 The question is back on page 3, "A multi-modal transportation system 22 along the Corridor would not only make housing...and so on...more 23 accessible." What do you have in mind for "multi-modal transportation 24 system?" We have a bus and there are cars and there's bicycles, at some 25 risk to life and limb, but there are those three. 26 27 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Crane, we are referring to a more robust public 28 transit system and also bikes and pedestrians. 29 30 Crane: And the big observation and this is very much of a long-term thing as I live 31 in the neighborhood. I've lived there twenty years. I shop a great deal 32 along EI Paseo from Alameda down to University Avenue. This is a 33 problem for all North American cities but it's just a pity that as you drive 34 down there, particularly at the northern end of the study zone; we look at 35 this huge acreage of parking at the back of which there's a big box or a 36 strip mall. I know down University Avenue there's been an endeavor to 37 make the buildings actually front the sidewalk and the parking be in the 38 back. There's a very large parking area for Sutherlands and the Video 4 39 and since the Video 4's closing, I don't think that much parking will be that 40 much use in the future and; also in front of Pro's Ranch, although that's 41 somewhat screened from the street; on both sides of the K-Mart, the east 42 side and the south, K-Mart at Idaho, and there's probably a couple of other 43 spots; and I feel it would be really nice if, as part of this Plan some strip 44 malls, smallish buildings could be set up there to screen out the parking 45 lot. The people who own the large boxes probably wouldn't be too happy 46 but nothing is particularly interesting about a parking lot. 6 I In Santa Clara County, California, I noticed when I first moved there 2 the way they deal with the fact that they have these buildings set back 3 maybe a hundred feet from the street with the necessary parking in front 4 of the building is to put a berm about four-feet high along the street 5 between the sidewalk and the parking lot with trees on it. So as you're 6 driving along you might be able to see the tops of cars but at least you 7 don't see parking. Maybe this is an opportunity. 8 9 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Crane, your concerns were considered by staff. 10 In fact, we had a mapping exercise during both at the stakeholder's 11 meeting and Picturing EI Paseo and people actually drew buildings in front 12 of these very parking lots that you're talking about. If you look at the first 13 bullet point, which is to develop and adopt a form-based code, this would, 14 in fact, incorporate almost all of the things that you just mentioned; and 15 also incorporating the Institute of Transportation Engineers' 16 recommendations in their manual would also help because they do speak 17 to making corridors more walkable by basically doing things like bringing 18 buildings to the street and screening parking. 19 20 Crane: Thank you. 21 22 Scholz: Commissioner Shipley. 23 24 Shipley: One of the things...just a housekeeping thing: back on the last page on 25 your...it's actually on page 5, excuse me. Under references you have 26 Environmental Systems Research Institute and it's "Esri." Shouldn't those 27 all be capitalized? When you make an acronym usually the first letter of 28 the word is capitalized. 29 30 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Shipley, this is the way that esri writes their... 31 32 Shipley: That's why I asked. Okay, the other thing is: I thought overall the 33 Blueprint ist very good but the bottom line is, we're dealing with a major 34 corridor and this is not, in my opinion, is not the document to use for that 35 because you have so many stakeholders in such a large area, 1.7 miles. 36 The first thing I would say is: this is 2012; where are the costs? 37 What is it going to cost us to do this? You know, when I looked at your 38 photographs and when I went in and looked at the disc and the backup 39 data and I looked at photographs and pictures of traffic signals where the 40 handicapped person can't have access through there because there's a 41 pole there. That means that you're either going to have to underground 42 everything or you're going to have to move poles and do all that kind of 43 stuff; and utility-wise that's going to be extremely expensive and so you're 44 not going to be able to formulate, you know, on the envelope-type of 45 approach to do this. 7 I There's going to have to be a major Plan done to do this and the 2 people that are stakeholders have no idea of what the costs are for a 3 traffic light, for example. And you can tell them that it's $300,000 or 4 $500,000 and they're going to say, "Well, why do I have to pay for that?" 5 And, you know, all of these ideas that we've got...when you drive EI 6 Paseo, for example, and you look at the old cigarette places and the gas 7 stations where you can get the cheapest gas in town; it's that way 8 because the parking lot hasn't been resurfaced in thirty-five years and it's 9 full of potholes and the reason it's full of potholes is because they don't 10 make enough money to go out and have it resurfaced or to do that or to 11 pay their pro-rata share of the infrastructure that's going to have to be 12 done, sidewalks, etc., the curb cuts and all that. So one of the things that 13 this Plan has to address, it has to address the cost. 14 It also has to address phasing. Are we going to phase this and is it 15 going to be a five-year project, a ten-year project, a fifty-year project? 16 Where are we going to go? This doesn't give us enough information to do 17 that and, in my opinion, I think that's a weakness of this is because we've 18 got pie in the sky but we don't have a, you know...you said these are the 19 steps, one through six, but you can't get there if you don't know how much 20 one through six costs and how long it's going to take to do that. So I'm of 21 the opinion that there needs to be a little more in-depth work before we 22 send this up to the City Council and say, "Here's what you should be 23 doing," because, if I were sitting on the City Council, my first question 24 would be, "How much? How much and how long?" Now the other question 25 1 have and I want that to just be a point that you can think about; I don't 26 need an answer right now, but what I would like to say is: You used the 27 term "placemaking." Please define what you mean by "placemaking." 28 29 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Shipley, in the glossary there is a definition for 30 placemaking. 31 32 Shipley: All right. 33 34 Basnyat: It is a multi-faceted approach to creating places that have meaning to 35 people. There is a web site called "The Project for Public Spaces" and 36 they're the group that initiated Placemaking. However, in its generic form 37 it's being used just to indicate an approach to create places instead of just 38 spaces. 39 40 Shipley: Okay. But in the Plan you ought to highlight: where are the places for 41 placemaking? Are you doing parks? Are you doing, you know, 42 entertainment complexes? You know, to me, a Plan means that you cover 43 things; that you give examples of areas where that could be. On your 44 diagram in the front you've highlighted intersections and you highlighted 45 buildings like Pro's Ranch. But, I thought overall I like where we're going 46 with this. I just didn't...it's like you whet my appetite but you haven't told 8 I me how much it's going to cost and you haven't given me really any 2 examples to go by; and I think there needs to be a little more detailed than 3 that for us to make a recommendation. 4 5 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Shipley, I do understand that you are making a 6 very good comment. The goal of this document is to act as a policy plan 7 to implement the very, as you mentioned, general policies. We have a set 8 of Actions that are recommended. To actually come up with a cost 9 analysis for redeveloping or resurfacing a street would require the design 10 for the street and that comes in under Actions, bullet point number two is 11 to design EI Paseo Road as a Complete Street. Along with that Action, 12 several others, such as develop a form-based code or incorporate some of 13 these other RSA recommendations, these all would be considered at a 14 project-feasibility analysis, which is not currently part of this document, as 15 you pointed out, but is something that would be the next step. 16 17 Shipley: Then I would recommend that you state that in this document, that here's 18 what has to be done next, you know, and this is what we have to 19 determine because, I think, you know, this is kind of like getting the menu 20 at the restaurant and you've got all these choices and these ideas and 21 everything looks mouthwatering and I'm chomping at the bit to clean up EI 22 Paseo and Main Street and, you know, all the way down to University. But 23 then, when you hand me the check at the end day, you know, and I go into 24 cardiac arrest, it's not helpful to do that and I think, you know, a Plan is 25 just that. 26 This is really not a Plan yet because if we don't know how much the 27 Plan costs, we may never activate the plan. It may be a concept but it's 28 not a Plan, the way I see it. So conceptually I think this is a wonderful 29 document and I think it's hitting the right spots. I just think that there's two 30 things that are missing, you know, the time frame and the cost. But other 31 than that I was very impressed and I was very grateful for this little piece 32 of documentation because I spent a lot of time looking at the pictures in 33 here and looking at the statements and to understand that there's seventy- 34 three accidents that have happened at the corner of Idaho and EI Paseo 35 over a short period of time means that it's not something that we can take 36 a lot of time to do because people's lives are at stake in what we do here. 37 So even if we just adjust the things that are from an ADA-compliant thing 38 or traffic-safety things, those things have got to drive this train to get 39 something like this Plan into, basically, into implementation. 40 41 Dollahon: Mr. Chair, I would add to what Srijana said: our intent was not to create a 42 detailed plan as you know how long it takes us to get to that point and 43 there are efforts underway by City staff that address some of the issues 44 that are identified within this Plan. We're looking at medians at the Wyatt 45 and EI Paseo intersection. We're looking at redesign and reconstruction 46 of the Idaho and EI Paseo intersection, which has long been in the works 9 I but, to tell you what, our Public Works and our Engineers have designed it 2 one way, in contrary to some of the input that was provided through the 3 Picturing EI Paseo Process. So they're essentially redesigning the 4 intersection to take some of the issues that have been previously identified 5 into consideration and those two projects are going to move forward 6 regardless of this, but it's the input from the earlier part of this process that 7 has gotten those projects moving forward. 8 So that's why we're a little bit concerned about putting the cost in 9 there in too much detail is because: one, we don't have it and the timing of 10 it is going to be tough and so there are certain things that we can give you 11 some cost estimates and some potential phasing on, but it's not going to 12 be the detail that we would give you for a Utility Master Plan or a Parks 13 Master Plan. That is not our intent and that's not what we want the 14 document to be, because sometimes that's what people get hung up on 15 and we want to move it forward. Everything that we're proposing can 16 move forward without all that detail. We'll try to find a way to strike a 17 balance between the costs and the phasing but we don't want to tie our 18 hands on some of that information in here because that's what people 19 hold us accountable to and that's not really how it's always going to work. 20 21 Shipley: One other thing: I understand that and, you know, but it's something that 22 is very important. I just wanted you to understand that. Also, in your 23 diagram here you showed some very nice photographs. There's one in 24 particular, the top one, where it says, "Green Infrastructure, Bio-Swale and 25 Parking Lot." I have been a commercial property manager in large, box, 26 shopping centers that have these kinds of things in the middle and the first 27 lesson that we learned is that this all looks very nice and very pretty but 28 there are certain things that you've got to have. You have to have some 29 kind of curb stop to keep cars and trucks from driving off into those 30 medians, especially in this part of the Southwest where every other guy 31 has a pickup truck that he likes to back in and your curb stop doesn't 32 protect it and they may knock down your trees because whoever's 33 managing this is going to be replacing the flowers and the shrubs and all 34 that over and over and over again because that's so... There are some 35 things that look good but they need to be tweaked a little bit. 36 37 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Shipley, the photograph that you referred to was 38 actually taken from the, I believe, it was the Visual Preference Survey 39 during the Picturing EI Paseo and understanding your concern for... this 40 was just put in because it was one of the preferences shown by the public. 41 42 Scholz: Okay. Commissioner Beard. 43 44 Beard: I really would like to have something happen to this corridor and after 45 reading this it was like, "Yeah, this is really a dream thing," and I didn't go 46 with too many suggestions. So I tried to think, "What would I do in order to 10 1 make this a better place," and I find it very, very difficult, to tell you the 2 truth. But the first thing is: what is a green infrastructure? 3 4 Basnyat: Mr. Chair, Commissioner Beard, green infrastructure refers to anything 5 that basically provides an alternative stormwater management practice; for 6 example, instead of paving, having paved drainageways, a bio-swale 7 would act as the green infrastructure. 8 9 Beard: Okay. On that same paragraph, the one thing I think that could fairly soon 10 or could be done, it would be to put in the drought-tolerant shade trees. I 11 think this town needs trees, to tell you the truth. It makes it more pleasant. 12 If you want people to walk on your sidewalks...people don't walk on 13 sidewalks because it's dusty and it's sunny. But trees would be one of my 14 number one priorities, and "putting in trails"... I don't know where you'd put 15 the trails. I don't know where you'd the parks. Like he says, we don't 16 know where these things would really go. Down at the bottom of page 17 four ...I'm on page four but I'm on the left side just before Goals it says, 18 "The City anticipates continued development and road improvements on 19 EI Paseo Road over the coming decades." Just what kind of road 20 improvements would they be? I'm trying to think of what I would do as to 21 what, you know, to improve it; but it'd be nice for us to know what it's 22 going to be, what they're thinking. 23 24 Scholz: Commissioner Beard, I think Mister Dollahon mentioned two of them, 25 yeah: redesign of two intersections. 26 27 Beard: Right. 28 29 Scholz: I assume that's part of it. 30 31 Beard: And I still don't know what you would do to redesign it, but...that's a sort 32 of...you know, this road is really a...I don't know...it's a difficult road to 33 make improvements on. I mean, it's a heavily used road; people are 34 moving fast; people are trying to get in and out of all those restaurants and 35 places. The places that I see that could be...improvements could really 36 be made are where the large parking lots are. Well, those are privately 37 owned so how do you get the private owner to do what you want to do or 38 what we would like to do? 39 Pictures, I've looked at the pictures, too. There's no cars in these 40 pictures. This place is all about cars and I don't know where you would put 41 these buildings up next to the road. On University Avenue where they 42 have started putting the buildings up next to the road and putting the 43 parking lots behind, they were working with vacant lots and they were able 44 to do that. Where there are existing parking lots, I don't know that they'll 45 get that done. That's a challenge right there and I don't know that there's 46 too many places on EI Paseo that you could get the buildings up next to EI 11 1 Paseo, up next to the road, and do the parking in the rear. That would be 2 nice if you could but I see it as almost a dream-type of thing. 3 And, the last thing, and my comment...I mean, I'm all for you. 1 4 want to do something. I want to make the whole city... I want to do 5 something... on page 5, number 4; 98% of the respondents indicated that 6 mobility safety was a high priority and also on that 94% and a 7 95...anybody would want to do that but I really think that that the mobility 8 safety: probably a high priority right there. How do you make that road 9 more safe? Because you're taking your chance when you try to pull out 10 on that road and when you stop in order to turn in to something there's all 11 kinds of traffic backs up behind you and I can see you getting rear-ended 12 real easy, and I don't know how you solve that. I really don't. But I think 13 that that's a very important thing is that I agree with those people 14 and...who wouldn't agree with those people? And what was my last 15 item...I guess I can't find what my next item is. I'm all for it and I see it as 16 almost an impossible challenge. 17 Oh, I know what it was...if there's deviations between the current 18 Code and you're going to make new Codes I'd like to see the list, write 19 down the list, you know: this is what it was and this is what we would like 20 to change it to; whether... it was a setback or whatever it is, one-for-one, 21 I'd kind of like to see that as...if you're going to do it. 22 23 Scholz: All right. Thank you, Commissioner Beard. Commissioner Stowe, 24 comments? 25 26 Stowe: Yes. In about the fifth or the sixth slide that David presented one word 27 that jumped up to me was that the Corridor is the "link," the link between 28 Downtown and University and I would like to see a lot more emphasis on 29 transportation costs, modes of transportation; because to me that is 30 almost a definition of EI Paseo is from Point "A" to Point "B." I think that's 31 important. Just to be a little wild about it: is the City prepared to support 32 transportation? It doesn't make a profit for five or six years in the early 33 stages. That's a pretty big commitment but in order for people to change 34 what they're doing and to use the transportation they need some 35 encouragement on that. 36 37 Scholz: Okay. Thank you. Commissioner Bustos? Comments? 38 39 Bustos: Actually the only thing that I'd be concerned with is especially the traffic. 1 40 know that on University and EI Paseo, especially, between Foster? Most 41 of EI Paseo's pretty busy but I know between Foster and Idaho right there 42 it's really a mess and then all of University. I was speaking, you know, 43 talking to some other drivers out there and it's just really... it's just really 44 crazy and I think that if somehow the transportation was fixed I think that'd 45 be a real, real big benefit. That's all. 46 12 I Scholz: I have a couple of comments and then we'll go back to the group again. 2 My primary concern is pedestrian access and pedestrian safety. There 3 are several intersections in town, some near my house. I live just off of 4 Telshor, where you take your life in your hands when you try to cross the 5 street, even if you cross with the light, because there're constantly cars 6 turning and things like that. And I recall a situation...I think it was in 7 Pasadena, where I saw a basic intersection downtown with a lot of traffic, 8 and all the traffic stopped for the pedestrians and there was a pedestrian 9 cross. As I recall, we used to call that the "fruit basket" or something like 10 that where everybody could go any direction across the road. It seems to 11 me that that would be a possibility for some of these intersections, to allow 12 pedestrians to flow across these intersections, you know, you can go 13 "kitty-corner" to "kitty-corner" or you can go, you know, straight across and 14 all traffic stops so you don't have to contend with people who are turning 15 and that sort of thing. I think that would be a minor adjustment that could 16 be done when we redesign these intersections and I would ask that the 17 Traffic Engineers, you know, consider something like that. 18 Along with that I'm also concerned about the parking lots and the 19 emptiness that the parking lots show and, of course, it's not fun to walk 20 across acres of asphalt either and I think if we do some plantings there, if 21 we do some swales, you know, plan on greening the space up it will make 22 it more attractive. Walking across the University campus this afternoon 1 23 realized that the leaves are out on the trees and we have shade, you 24 know. Wow! And it all happened like in the last two weeks and that's a 25 great thing and I agree that we need some type of landscape there to 26 make it not only friendlier but more comfortable for pedestrians. 27 I'm very happy to see that the High School is going to bridge EI 28 Paseo. My concern...I heard a rumor last year that the High School was 29 asking to reroute EI Paseo, which I think would have been a disaster in 30 that part because of the traffic. Will we be able to count on the High 31 School students using the bridge to get from one side to the other instead 32 of wandering across the street like they often do? 33 34 Dollahon: Mr. Chairman, I believe the way the School is structuring their operations 35 that they're going to be strongly encouraging the bridge between what will 36 be the two campuses; but we still run into the issue with the EI 37 Paseo/Missouri/Boutz intersection, especially during the noon hour... 38 39 Scholz: Sure. 40 41 Dollahon: ...for the students. And one of the discussions in the Road Safety Audit is 42 what you talked about at that intersection where they call it the "Pedestrian 43 Hoe-Down" or "Square Dance" or something like that where all vehicle 44 traffic stops and then it's a free-for-all at the intersection for the 45 pedestrians so they can go straight across or "catty-corner" or whatever 46 and that was a discussion that was addressed in the Road Safety Audit 13 1 and it was a recommendation for that intersection and, potentially, the 2 Idaho intersection. 3 4 Scholz: Good. Yeah, I think you have to consider the amount of pedestrian and 5 certainly it's huge at that corner because of McDonald's, and Sonic and all 6 those other pizza places and so on; and, obviously, restricting students to 7 campus is, you know, might be an admirable idea but I think it's 8 impossible. I think the only place it's going to work initially is at Centennial 9 High School because there's nothing around there; but that'll probably 10 change. 11 The other thing I was concerned about, I guess, was empty 12 buildings. Is there anything in the Plan or did anyone talk about, you 13 know, the potential reuse of space? The video 4, for instance, is going to 14 go out of business next year, the Allen people tell us because they can't 15 get film to show in those and it's not worth, evidently, converting those 16 spaces. So there's a large empty space, probably, you know, I don't 17 know, the size of a warehouse, I guess. I don't recall I've ever been in 18 there but I'm sure it's cut up into small theatres. But did anybody talk 19 about this, about the reuse of existing space? 20 21 Dollahon: Mr. Chairman, I think that gets back to one of the difficulties that we face 22 in the cause for redevelopment. That gets back to our very last bullet 23 under Goals: that investigate options to incentivize redevelopment, such 24 as investing in infrastructure, improvements, pilot/catalyst projects, 25 public/private partnerships, shared parking, density bonus allowances. 26 That's our intent and that's something that we haven't done in Las Cruces 27 and it's very much an effort that we're looking at for Downtown and for 28 other areas of the community. Trying to find ways to get people to 29 redevelop is part of our challenge and it's very difficult in New Mexico 30 because of anti-donation so we have to find some way. We can't buy it 31 unless there's a public safety issue or need that we can clearly identify, 32 but it's tough for us to just give money for the development process. We 33 have to recognize some type of benefit out of it... 34 35 Scholz: Right. 36 37 Dollahon: ...back to the community so that last bullet is probably our biggest 38 challenge and that's the intent behind that bullet, in my opinion. 39 40 Scholz: Well, I can see that it would be. I noticed that when Pro's Ranch Market 41 came in it really sparked the use of that space and I think there were at 42 least one or two restaurants or stores in place before the Market actually 43 opened in anticipation of larger traffic. 44 45 Dollahon: And that's part of their marketing effort is being part of being a community 46 partner. That's an effort that Pro's Ranch undertook. 14 1 2 Scholz: Oh! Okay. 3 4 Dollahon: They recruited businesses to go into the shopping center and they own 5 most of the shopping center so that was something that they saw as a 6 benefit to them and that's part of their corporate mission. 7 8 Scholz: Um-hmm. Good. Good. Well, it's nice to see corporate partners like that. 9 I'm hoping that we can find some way to do this. There are also a couple 10 of restaurants on the west side of EI Paseo that have gone in and out of 11 business on a regular basis and I don't know if they can be salvaged or, 12 you know, whatever. And I think that's the extent of my comments. I like 13 the report. I'm very glad you did this. I think it's a noble effort and I think 14 we need this kind of visioning in your neighborhoods rather than, you 15 know, do piecemeal repairs and changes and so on, to do an overall kind 16 of thing and I appreciate this. Commissioner Shipley? 17 18 Shipley: I just wanted to say the crosswalk that you mentioned, we had those in my 19 home town when I was a kid and it works in the downtown area where you 20 have a high concentration of businesses along the streets and, because 21 people can go, you know, "catty-corner" from corner to corner. 22 23 Scholz: Sure. 24 25 Shipley: So, I grew up with that; also they have it in San Francisco and other 26 places, other large cities. It would work on the corner where the High 27 School is during that one period of time, generally during school starting, 28 closing and lunch. Down the street, though, the businesses are so spread 29 out that you don't have the concentration of people because you need 30 probably forty, fifty people at a time crossing the crosswalk to make it 31 viable to do that. Otherwise you get people who do right turn on red, you 32 know, because there's nobody in the crosswalk, then they do it and they 33 get a ticket and then it's all up in the air. But that is a really good 34 suggestion. 35 The other thing is: along Pro's Ranch; the key thing there, I think, 36 is you could make live/work spaces along there, you know, the....I think a 37 couple of those restaurants went out of business.... 38 39 Scholz: There was a McDonald's there, yes, 40 41 Shipley: Yeah, and it's gone; but there was also a seafood restaurant that's 42 gone.... Is it still there? (Inaudible voices from audience) Okay. (Inaudible 43 voices from audience) Yeah, but what I'm saying is that along there it 44 depends on how much parking you're going to give up. In other words, 45 you could build kind of live/work things and make it like a Main Street 46 along Espina as you're going along there and then the parking's still 15 I behind it. But how deep would it be and how many spaces would they 2 give up and would they still have adequate spaces to cover their basic 3 business, plus the addition of the new business? So, you know, if there 4 was a beauty shop and a person lived up above, or a barber shop, or 5 something...a small business. It doesn't have to take up a lot of space; but 6 it would be two-story more than likely, or maybe even three-story; and so 7 that would change that neighborhood considerably and that's what I think 8 your pictures are showing, you know, three-and-four-story buildings along 9 as frontage there, commercial spaces with residential above; and, you 10 know, that would...again, it doesn't tie in to anything. 11 It's, you know, when you look at your map and you look at the 12 Downtown area north of it and, you know, this is basically an extension. 13 This is the shopping area of the Downtown. Whereas, the Downtown 14 now, there's nothing there except the Courthouse, the City buildings, a 15 laundry, some small things and a lot of museums. They're not open at 16 night so there's no draw for there. So everybody's going down here to 17 shop and meetings until 9:00-10:00 at night and the theatre that was down 18 there, those kinds of things draw people. So you've really got two distinct 19 areas here that this is tying into and you're trying to do some of the things 20 that you would do in a Downtown area, you know, more live/work type 21 things as opposed to this being more of a suburban area. 22 23 Scholz: Okay. Any other comments? Commissioner Beard, you had a question or 24 a comment. 25 26 Beard: I don't know which it is. (laughing) 27 28 Scholz: Okay. I'll make a ruling. 29 30 Beard: And I figured that works pretty well, too, with this; but I looked at all of the 31 acknowledgements here. Everybody's name is first name, last name, 32 except for Charles B. Scholz. How come you get the middle initial? (all 33 laughing) 34 35 Scholz: Well, that's because I'm unique. I'm the only one and...I'll just tell this 36 story. I was getting my first email account on AOL. Remember AOL when 37 it was hot in 1992? It had like, you know, 300,000 people and then it had 38 700,000 people and then it had 4,000,000. Anyway I was one of those 39 who joined AOL in 1992 and they asked for a handle and I thought, "Well, 40 my initials are CBS. It was my father's joke I think, but I thought I'll make it 41 "THSISCBS:" This is CBS. Right? Which was their slogan at the time, 42 you know, and I had that for about a year, year-and-a-half, something like 43 that; and then Connie Chung did her famous interview at which time I think 44 it was somebody called Hillary Clinton a "Bitch," you know. Do you 45 remember that one? And it was broadcast on the air and I began getting 16 I emails questioning my involvement with CBS and so I changed my handle 2 to "CSCHOLZ." 3 Well, if there are no other comments or questions, thank you very 4 much for your presentation. I hope we've been helpful and, you know, you 5 have some more ideas, you can go back. A final comment about the 6 structure that Commissioner Shipley referred to: 1 think if you put a caveat 7 in there and say, "Okay, this is a vision," right? "This is a vision of how we 8 would like it or how the community would like it...," you know, "...what's 9 been developed." And it doesn't include the nuts and bolts of the costs of 10 the actual things because those will have to be left to a later time. But you 11 might think about including a time table and say, you know, "We're going 12 to try and do this in five years or ten years or whatever," if you think that's 13 possible; and say, "These are the things we'd like to accomplish in the 14 next 'X' number of years." I think that'll give people a better sense of the 15 vision. 16 But I certainly appreciate the time and the energy that you folks 17 have put into this. I didn't get a chance to attend any of those meetings, 18 unfortunately; but I know, after reading the comments and looking at the 19 decisions, I think a lot of the things reflect the ideas that I have as well. 20 21 IV. ADJOURNMENT (6:57 pm) 22 23 Scholz: Anything else, gentlemen? All right, our work session is over then at, 24 6:57. Thanks a lot. 25 26 (z--- 27 28 Chairperson 17