Woodberry Community Association meeting minutes 10/20/15

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015      6:30 PM – 8:30 PM           WJZ-TV

GENERAL:  it’s time to open nominations for Officers of the Board for the WCA.  Job responsibilities will be published in the next few weeks.  To nominate and/or run for an office, you must be a member in good standing.   Association membership forms and choices of payment, including PayPal, can be found on the WCA website: aboutwoodberry.com.

TREASURY REPORT as of Oct. 15, 2015
January 2015 beginning balance is $2053.  Income for 2015 is $415.
Expenditures for 2015 are $218   Current balance is $2499

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AGENDA: Proposal for TOD (Transist Oriented Development) designation of the Pepsi Bottling Plant on Union Ave

Presenters:  Samuel K Himmelrick, Jr. Founder- Himmelrich Associates
Kenneth L Rice, Managing Director and Al Barry, Consultant

Locally Himmelrich Associates are known for Mt. Washington Mill and the Meadow Mill

Himmelrich Associates has recently purchased the Pepsi plant which is comprised of 13+ acres. They request support from the Woodberry, Hampden and Medfield Community Associations as well as the Hampden Merchant’s Association to effect a change in zoning for the property.  Currently the site is M-2-1 Industrial designated. The developer seeks a TOD designation prior to the finalization of TransForm Baltimore anticipated for 1st quarter of 2016.  If the TOD designation can be awarded prior to finalization of the new Zoning maps, significant time (a year or more) and dollars can be avoided. The presentation and concept plan is for a TOD designation only; otherwise the property remains Industrial.

Pepsi will continue at the location, leasing back the property for at least another year.  Bottling was discontinued some years ago with only distribution from Union Ave. Pepsi is building two new facilities in the suburbs that have better thoroughfares for trucks.

-The TOD concept would be budgeted in excess of $100 million and similar to the Rotunda in scope.
-The plant property is surrounded along the back boundary and along the river by a flood wall and now FEMA certified.
-The Salvation Army on Buena Vista has traded the developer their property in return for a much larger building on 29th St.  This will allow the Salvation Army to expand their food pantry and allow a second egress for the proposed TOD.
– The concept plan is for mixed use of green space, retail, office, apartments and parking.
-Proposed to the rear of the property (North) would be a grocer (80,000 sq. ft.) with auxiliary parking on the building roof.  Harris Teeter was mentioned but there is not a letter of agreement or any formal negotiation at this point.
-Proposed to the front of the property (South) and closest to Union Ave would be four story office building with ground floor retail.
-Proposed to the East side approximately adjacent to the Union Mill parking lot, would be a four story parking garage and above that, a high rise with 320-380 apartments.  The garage would be shared by residents in the evening and the offices during the day.  From the garage, two aerial bridges would connect with the grocer or the offices leaving surface parking for the retail units.
-Height and density of the apartment structure is unresolved.  Luxury Loft apartments would attract  Millenium and Empty Nesters The building would be stepped into the grade at Buena Vista and graduated to the lower lot at the Union Ave entrance. Density and height will be determined by TOD designation and traffic considerations.
-Traffic flow throughout the day and early evening for retail and residential should not overly impact the area.  Peak times are more directly tied to start and stop time for the offices.

If the TOD designation is granted, the developer will work with consultants and the Dept. of Transportation for traffic mediation.  As height, design and traffic pattern recommendations are developed, the developer will continue dialog and meetings with the neighborhoods and merchant group, as well as Open Community meetings.

Q & A
-Having another grocer isn’t seen as a negative but rather giving shoppers a choice.
-Elevation designs are premature at this time. Height of the high rise is yet to be determined. Additionally, the developer feels that a fake mill look could not be done well at a reasonable cost but will be sensitive to community input and the Mill Valley appearance.
-It is premature to speculate as to traffic burden to Union, Buena Vista, 41st Street and the intersection of Falls & 41.  Recommendations will come from Traffic mediation studies/consultants, as well as the City.
-Although the apartment market is targeted upscale, there will be the allocated number of affordable units per regulation.
-Some Light Rail commuter parking will find their way into the shopping complex or garage, however with monitoring this can be minimized and discouraged.
-Ample parking for the campus will be afforded with surface parking, garage and roof top parking over the grocer.

The developer asks that the community evaluate, for the Pepsi campus, whether industrial use remains the best choice for that location or whether a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) might better serve the Hampden/Woodberry/Medfield communities. The developer further asks that if the Woodberry Community is in support of a TOD designation, that we submit to the Planning Commission and Councilman Nick Mosby’s office, a letter of support.

Please consider whether an Industrial site such as Pepsi OR a TOD complex such as the Rotunda, compliments Woodberry.  Additional information will be forthcoming as it becomes available.
The WCA is not polling opinion at this time.
We are however, interested in any input you wish to be forwarded to the developer.