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Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Orleans had Katrinia, Lynchburg has the MidTown Plan

In a quiet section of Kemper street the city is recommending to move the main transfer point for buses from the Plaza. Along with other changes, such as form based codes, the city council voted 6 to 0 to embark on the plan.

Lynchburg Area Blog brought out objections of the disabled. They noted that the majority in attendance at the public meeting was representatives of the disabled. The plan they pointed out was not transit friendly for the disabled. A move of the main transfer point for buses would illustrate this. Have you ever tried to move a wheelchair over cobblestones? It is not a pleasant experience.

Besides that, you just cannot help to think that the move was in a sense a stab at Sandor Development Company who owns the Plaza. Sandor has objected, fervently with how the city council with its Dover consultants has virtually told them, "this is how we want you to develop your property." Now the city is planning to take away what little customer base they have.

WSET reported:

"It didn't take long for Lynchburg's Planning Commission to say that wouldn't happen. They don't have support from Lynchburg Realty, owner of the Plaza, but the Citizens' Monitoring Committee says the Commission should go with the overall plan all the same."

"Rowe - "If we start something right away with the Midtown connector, we think that would almost force development at the Plaza."It could take years to get that far. In the meantime, the planning committee will recommend high-priority areas for the city council to get started on. They're basically saying they'll work around the Plaza until the owners come around."

The key word here is "force," and moving the bus transfer point may be an early indication of what the city has in mind.

The Lynchburg News and Advance has made it clear through both opinion articles and its reporting they are steadfast behind the midtown project. Here is their latest article, but we would like to point you to this from the article:

"A top concern was the plan’s recommendation to develop form-based codes that will dictate how buildings look rather than how they are used. Some said that was a serious violation of personal property rights."

'“That is not a government function,' said Mark Peake, an attorney with the Caskie & Frost law firm."

Form based codes will also tell you what you can do with your property, and in the long run with run up both your costs and your property taxes.

And the word "force" seems to start ringing a little more loudly, as the city embarks on the Midtown plan.

Our position has been, yes there needs to be a change in Midtown. It is becoming one of the most poverty stricken areas in the city. But where should the city start? Better jobs for midtown residents, and job specific training, are the areas we consider important.

And one reader of the WSET story tells us in a sense to connect the dots:

"During the 6:00 news tonight WSET ran another story about revitalizing the Plaza immediately followed by this story. It is crimes like this that makes the Plaza and other midtown areas undesirable. Progress has to start with the community. I live near the Plaza and have never had any problems, but other people are more leery, with good reason. "

Sandor has pointed out crime and poverty are the problems of the area. And before the city makes it too expensive for the current residents to live there, we believe the city should tackle the issue improving the quality of jobs and the reduction of crime. Before they "force" this change on us.


At 4:15 PM, Blogger Ken Martin said...

Has there been any input from the citizens? If so what was it? Crime can be anywhere. As compared to the rest of the City and like areas in the county, is there more crime?

At 5:10 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you for your comment Ken. There has been both positive and negative input from the residents of Lynchburg on the Midtown plan. It has been a divided issue.

As far as midtown compared to the rest of the city, yes the crime rate is higher. problem there. Here is one article about the growing crime

I have looked at crime stats for Lynchburg, but they do not define by area. I do live in this area and worked in midtown. And I can say with confidence that this is a high crime area. Sandor development who owns the Plaza makes reference to the high crime in the area also. This would not be in the best interests to expose, considering that depresses their store rental income.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Ken Martin said...

Crime numbers are kept and measured differantly by differant agencies. Here is a link to how Richmond does it.

Chief Bennett use to be a Major in Richmond. I'm sure he is familiar with the system or at least the people responsible for putting it together. Maybe the Hill City could be next.

Of course the numbers are only good if all or most crimes are reported. When you see something happening call the police, even if you don't get involved, your call is another number than can help them.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Thank you Ken,

I looked at the Richmond data base, it is quite complete. Ours in Lynchburg does not have that level of sophistication. Pretty much, when I have looked at the stats on crime in Lynchburg I have relied on the FBI data base, which is somewhat dated. Internally, the Lynchburg Police may have a better data base that is not available to the public, I just do not know.

I will explore this further, and if anyone is familiar with a data base for crime in Lynchburg, I would appreciate your input also.

At 5:58 AM, Blogger Ken Martin said...

It can be taken to the next step, as shown in this link.

Knowledge is power in many ways.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks again Ken, what you have shown with the last link is very interesting. And would be a useful tool for the Lynchburg police if they followed the Richmond model. If you have looked for something similar in Lynchburg, I bet you came up empty handed as I did. I will send Chief Bennett an email, and show him the links to the Richmond data.

Thanks again Ken


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