Live Blog — Public Comment Now Closed

Nearly 2 hours into tonight’s public hearing on the DMC Development Plan, the public comment session has closed. Remarks from the public included requests for more attention on social services, sustainability, and historic preservation. Below is a sampling of comments…

A representative from the State Council on Black Minnesotans requested the appointment and support of an accountable agency that can ensure the goals of DMC are met and that all populations throughout the state realize a return on their investment in DMC.

“This is a very exciting one, but it’s also a very scary one. … We all want DMC to be successful … but in order for that to happen, we need to build this together.”
— Representative from the State Council on Black Minnesotans

“I’m adding one more responsibility to your list,” she said “We need an accountable agency here … and give them the support they need to be successful moving forward.”

Rochester City Council President Randy Staver approached the board to endorse the plan and position the full-force of the city’s behind the DMC Development Plan and the work of the board of directors.

“We’re trying to support the vision and the future that DMC illustrated,” Staver said. “We’re very excited to support the vision and plan moving forward.”

Julie, a Mayo Clinic patient living in Rochester since February, brought public safety concerns about an area in eastern portion of the DMC District, including break-ins and violent crime, that police and the city will need to address if residents in that area are to “experience the benefits of DMC.”

Christine Schultze, representing the Historic Southwest Neighborhood Association, began, “This community has never done intense urban development. Mayo, perhaps, is a little more familiar with it, but as a community we are not.”

Schultze’s request to the DMCC Board was for them to work with the City, to have developers with sites in the DMC District submit preliminary program, site plan, and massing diagrams. According to Schultze, preliminary review of concepts, in comparison with adopted plans and policies, may well help the City identify early opportunities for public/private partnerships to accomplish DMC goals.

To show how a preliminary submittal could be useful, she used two sites of a recent development application, “501 on 1st.” Schultze said that showing these sites, located north of Soldier’s Field Park, was “in no way a criticism of the project – it is quite simply the most current project with which the neighborhood is familiar.”

The presentation located the two sites in three master plans: (1) Discovery Square District within the DMC Development Plan, (2) Envision UMR – the University of Minnesota-Rochester’s development plan, and (3) the Rochester Downtown Master Plan. As the images were shown, Schultze noted some missed opportunities, including integrated ramp parking, taller construction on the northwest corner site, Inclusionary affordable housing, urban village building setbacks, and improved pedestrian connections between the UMR Community Campus, and Discovery Square.

University of Minnesota-Rochester master plan, “Envision UMR”

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