Advocacy Update: Laurel Island
preservation-admin , October 5, 2020
City Council will host a Special Meeting this Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 PM, on the Laurel Island PUD and St. Julian Devine Smokestacks. These items will be up for a vote at the next regular meeting of Council on Tuesday, October 13, making this a critical opportunity for the public to weigh in on these top line community issues. For full background on Laurel Island and the Smokestacks and detailed information on how to engage at the upcoming meetings, please visit the PSC website.
LAUREL ISLAND PUD
Aerial view of Laurel Island, courtesy of the Post and Courier
In light of Council granting first reading to the Laurel Island PUD last month, this week’s special meeting is a crucial time for the public to speak up on the project’s shortcomings before next reading. Once a PUD is approved, the fundamental zoning elements are set in stone, and there will be no further opportunity for public involvement. The PSC was pleased that Council heard the call for additional community engagement at the last meeting, but we feel a single virtual meeting does not go far enough. The Laurel Island PUD approval process should slow down and be vetted more thoroughly through robust community engagement.
As proposed, the PUD presents an incomplete land use plan and requests the City cede considerable zoning authority to the developer. The PSC has additional concerns with the PUD regarding workforce housing, design review, and livability impacts on surrounding neighborhoods, and feels far more refinement is needed before moving forward.