LAKE FOREST PARK — Towne Centre design guidelines are not only a good conversation topic for dinner parties and intimate gatherings, but also for public hearings.
A public hearing regarding design guidelines was held at the March 9 Council meeting, which saw a small handful of speakers. The hearing comes as Council members finalize an ordinance for design guidelines, which will be used in negotiations with developer Jack Rader, who has signed a 30-day purchase agreement that started a due diligence phase for the 16-acre Towne Centre site.
The design guidelines are the work of the city’s second task force and include recommendations for housing, environmentally friendly building methods and structures, transportation, parking and others.
Resident Morgan Kellock said she was not completely familiar with the guidelines, but nonetheless urged the Council to be cautious in matters concerning the environment.
“I urge you to pay attention to environmental considerations,” Kellock said.
Long-time resident Jeff Altman thanked community members who had the vision to examine the future of Towne Centre. As vice-chair of the city’s transportation commission, he said the group unanimously supports an amendment passed by the Council in support of transit-oriented facilities at a redeveloped Towne Centre.
Resident Dale Cote, who was a member of the first of three task forces that address redevelopment, said he lives a “3-point jump shot” from the edge of Towne Centre and therefore has a few concerns. When he left the task force, he said some design standards were yet to be decided, such as setbacks and edge conditions. No definite setback measurements currently indicate where a building could be built, he said, and he worried about a “canyon effect” on the side of the property if developers are allowed to build close to the edge.
“If the Council can please take a look at the language,” Cote said. “I appreciate all the hard work and want to stay here for a long time.”
The Council voted to keep the design guidelines ordinance on second read for another week, as two Council members, Sandy Koppenol and Dwight Thompson, were absent from the meeting.