Rick Farmer, president of the Arlington Park Neighborhood Association, says the primary focus of the group is to maintain the neighborhood’s residential quality.
That’s why Farmer is a little wary of what will come out of the city’s switch to a form-based code and the work of the Urban Design Studio.
“The jury’s out,” Farmer said about the Urban Design Studio. “They’ve got a choice. We’ll know pretty quickly here whether they work for the citizens, who pay taxes, or for the development community.”
Karin Murphy and Andrew Georgiadis, the city’s urban design team, spoke at Tuesday’s Arlington Park Neighborhood Association meeting to allay concerns like Farmer’s.
They provided the neighborhood an overview of what they will be doing over the next three years, discussed the fundamentals of a form-based code and tried to gauge the points of emphasis the residents would like to see.
Carolyn Fishel, an Arlington Park resident since 1993, said one of the major points of concern she’s had for the area is the Cabana Inn. She said the motel is a blight on the neighborhood, and that she’d like to see it redeveloped.
She was pleased to discover during the design team’s presentation that they were on the same page.
“I was actually very encouraged to see one of their slides show 41 and actually show the Cabana Inn,” Fishel said. “I think they realize it’s a critical area.”
Georgiadis said one of the areas at which the studio has already been looking is the stretch of U.S. 41 from Hillview Street to Webber Street. They’ve had conversations with the owner of the Cabana Inn about making the front of the building better fit the street, rather than having so much visible parking. The back of the building could be redesigned, too, providing a better image for the residential neighborhood that it fronts.
Overall, Georgiadis said there’s interest from both residents and developers in Arlington Park to produce more walkability. Now, the Urban Design Studio is focusing on writing a code that allows for that sort of walkability to be embraced.
“I’ve noticed that there’s great enthusiasm for the form-based code and what it can do,” Georgiadis said. “In fact, some of those landowners are eager to do some of these things the community has talked about.”
For Farmer, walkability is one goal he thinks will enhance the neighborhood’s residential quality, alleviating traffic concerns in the process. He said he used to drive his son to Southside Elementary, counting the hundreds of cars that drove past before they could turn from Sunnyside Court onto U.S. 41.
Farmer still isn’t entirely sold on the Urban Design Studio, but, after Tuesday’s meeting, he’s optimistic.
“My hope is that we come out of this with delightful outcomes,” Farmer said.
Contact David Conway at [email protected]