Rainey: A Two-Way Street
Over the years that Rainey Street has been a city policy football, its National Register Historic District had been considered the biggest obstacle to the redevelopment most of its residents and property owners have long sought. But the initial 3-3 vote on city staff's zoning and land-use proposals Daryl Slusher has recused himself because a family member has an interest in a house on Rainey indicates the real hurdle may be this conflict over what Rainey Street should become.
As Alvarez sees it, his proposal is true to what Rainey once was a mixed-use working-class enclave and to what Rainey stakeholders in previous efforts said it should remain, before city staff decided the National Register district could be sacrificed, or at least relocated. When Dunkerley talked instead about a minimalist approach to regulating Rainey redevelopment in other words, intense downtown zoning across the board Alvarez expressed frustration, saying he had cut almost two dozen regulations from his plan. "I don't understand how you could claim I'm adding on so many items," Alvarez said. "We peeled off the vast majority of what was causing concern and consternation."
Alvarez may represent what Rainey Street stakeholders wanted before, but Dunkerley represents what most property owners at least those who've participated in the current round of process talk want now. Roy's Taxi owner Bobby Velasquez, who has led Rainey Street owners through the maze of board and commission meetings, has made his mantra "zone up and get out." "We're here again, talking about an area that has, I think, the highest consensus of the actual owners here that are here begging for density," Dunkerley said. "We're trying to come up with the right plans for doing that."
Dunkerley's offer to require an affordable-housing component in any new Rainey residential development was not enough to bring Alvarez to the middle. And there may not be a whole lot of middle ground on Rainey Street. The value of Rainey is in the land, which with downtown zoning would bring top-dollar. As developer Tim Finley told his colleagues on the Downtown Commission when it kicked off the latest round of plans, a rezoned Rainey Street is not meant for single-story retail, low-end restaurants and drive-through banks, but rather for high-intensity, high-dollar development.
Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Aug. 3, 2012
Rachel Feit, Fri., May 25, 2012
Claudia Alarcón, Fri., May 25, 2012
Kimberly Reeves, Fri., Oct. 8, 2004
Kimberly Reeves, Fri., Aug. 20, 2004
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