Save Madison Valley met with the Developer and Architect on January 4

At the Second Design Review, the Board asked Velmeir and Meng-Strazzara to work with the community as they incorporate the Board’s guidance in preparation for the third Design Meeting. We reached out to Charles Strazzara and Geza De Gall and invited them to meet with some of us.

During our meeting on Jan 4th, we offered specifics based on the Board’s Report of how we hope they will incorporate the guidance the Design Review Board has offered at the last two meetings (July and October). We covered four priorities:

● If the current tree canopy can’t be saved, we asked that any replacement provide habitat for small animals and insects, intercept rainwater, have large and smaller native trees and plants, and provide understory for foraging. This language was provided by ecologist Matt Patterson of Steinbrueck Urban Strategies, who suggested that we move the discussion from numbers to function or service – he suggested we look for any replacement to be ecologically responsive and maintain the current link to the larger urban forest corridor.

● A minimum of a 20-foot setback. While one could argue the bigger the better, Patterson felt this is sufficient to create an ecologically responsive landscape that maintains urban ecological functions, and benefits the neighborhood. This is also the standard used in residential neighborhoods.

● The garage fully underground on all sides: no one should have to see it, smell it, or hear it.

● No entrance on Dewey. Traffic engineer Ross Tilghman strongly questioned the viability of putting traffic from 70+ residences on the small, oddly configured streets of Dewey, Republican, 29th, 32nd, and the surround.

Strazzara and De Gall listened, but repeatedly emphasized that while they are listening to the community, they will take their guidance from the Design Review Board. At the October meeting the Board asked that the developer offer an option that has residences on Dewey; Strazzara and De Gall said they will offer that as one option at the EDG on January 25. Their next design will be available on the City’s website ten days prior to the EDG meeting on the 25th. Strazzara and De Gall said this design is different from the first two in substantial ways. We’re waiting to see and will be looking closely.