Discussion board: Tall building ballot question still is important | Opinion



Nelson

Much confusion has resulted from the recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision while, at the same time, a question about this building is on the Nov. 8 ballot (City Proposal 1).

The court decision changes nothing about the ballot vote on this project.

Don’t be confused: Your “no” vote is still relevant and important.

The court affirmed that buildings taller than 60 feet in Traverse City need a public vote — and that the proposed Hall Street building is more than 60 feet tall and must be decided by the voters.

Despite the press from Innovo and their Lansing public relations firm, the Hall Street building cannot “move forward as planned.”

The court’s decision makes the upcoming election even more important. In fact, it makes it critical. If Innovo wins the election, it can build the project as proposed, regardless of the Court of Appeals opinion. If it loses the vote, under both the court decision and the election results, they would have to redesign the building to be no taller than 60 feet.

This building is not only high — almost 80 feet tall — but massive. It overwhelms its neighbors, the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) and The Candle Factory, and is right on top of the open space and waterfront.

It is “inconsistent with the residential and historical character of Traverse City” (City Charter, Sec. 28, paragraph 3)

It is incompatible with the Downtown Development Authority’s original mission to “protect downtown’s small-town character…No glass towers…” (DDA Mission with TIF 97 Plan)

It will increase traffic, parking and tax payer burden for infrastructure.

So, the Oct. 16, 2022, opinion by Linda Koebert implied that increased taxes from this building would benefit residents throughout the city. That is not the case.

All of the increase in taxes would be captured by the DDA TIF fund and would not help the failing citywide infrastructure needs, such as roads, water and sewer lines.

The Hall Street building would not provide affordable housing. According to the building’s architect at the Planning Commission, rents would be about $1,700 per month — hardly affordable for service and retail workers.

Please don’t be fooled by media reports and ads; this issue is not settled. Your vote will decide Traverse City’s future. Send a clear message that we don’t want big, boxy buildings downtown — or on the waterfront.

A “no” vote would preserve Traverse City’s small-town character. It also may make a difference in the developer’s redesign and give residents the ability to press for changes to zoning and the city commission.

Help to maintain the character and charm of the city we all love: Vote no on city Proposal 1.

About the author: Judy Nelson is a Traverse City native. She is retired from the US EPA with 33+ years of experience in environmental policy and economics and an interest in land use public policy. She attended the University of Michigan (BA, MBA) and is a CPA.

About the author: Judy Nelson is a Traverse City native. She is retired from the US EPA with 33+ years of experience in environmental policy and economics and an interest in land use public policy. She attended the University of Michigan (BA, MBA) and is a CPA.

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