The saga of the Goodwill site redevelopment continues. Yesterday the city council’s land-use committee inched the project forward by denying the appeal to the rezone that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Today I spoke with both Bill Bradburd, a longtime opponent, and project developer Darryl Vange to get their separate takes on where things now stand.
Bill was surprisingly upbeat given that his appeal was denied. He said that the odds of the council supporting his appeal were pretty low given that it would have killed the project right there in committee. But a couple of other things happened at the meeting that made him more optimistic:
- It appears that the council will tie the rezone to a separate decision about vacating the city streets on the property and handing them over to the developers. Unlike the quasi-judicial rezoning process, approval for the street vacation is a political act and allows for councilmembers to take more community concerns into account as part of their decision. Bill thinks that council members are open to the concerns that he and other community members have about the project, and that they could place additional requirements on the development as a condition of the street vacation. Darryl Vange said that he didn’t view that as anything new, and that his team had been expecting the two issues to be tied together from the beginning.
- The developers are asking for a 10 year window for the project to be built before the rezone would expire. That’s important since the current economic calamity could push the project’s start date out past the usual 2-year limit. Bill’s impression was that the council was balking at the 10 year number and would apply the usual 2 year limit to the rezone. Darryl had a different take, thinking that they may come out with a number between 2 and 10 years. He would have to see the specifics before knowing whether it would be compatible with the long timeframe of the development.
Next steps: The land-use committee will take up the issue again next Friday, and will likely pass it along for approval by the full council at a meeting later in February.
So let’s say that the full city council approves the order. Would that be the end of the process? Possibly not: project opponents will still have the right to take an appeal up to Superior court and try to convince a judge that the rezone was improperly approved. Neither side wanted to comment on how likely that outcome could be.