Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rezoning Update + Open House

Regular visitors to neighborhood meetings and this website are aware of the proposed rezoning adjacent to Ray's Splash Planet.  This week the petitioners, John Arciero and Vincent James, have shared a proposed update to their zoning plans (zip file).  The update incorporates new detail on phasing and several revised zoning notes (these have not yet appeared on the Planning Department site).  Please be aware that the petitioners will be available to answer questions on Wednesday, February 3rd, at Ray's Splash Planet from 7:00p to 8:00p. 
Please also be aware that CMS representatives have recently corrected the impression that the potential project would be a "public-private partnership" as once reported.  If the rezoning and land transaction are successful, CMS will not remain a development partner to the project (though CMS does still intend to receive 25,000sf of office space in consideration).
Please feel free to contact me or other board members with your thoughts, and stay tuned to third-ward.org for updates.
The petitioners also have requested that their website be shared: http://www.sycamoreatgateway.com/.  At the time of this posting the site has not been activated.

Victoria Avenue Sewer Project

In coming weeks, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities will be repairing and lining sewer lines serving Victoria Avenue homes.  Affected residences will be notified via flyers and a project sign.  The contractor will additionally give advance notice of planned outages.

CharMeck Court Watch

CharMeck Court Watch is an opportunity for volunteers to sit in on court cases, especially those relevant to their communities.  The group is designed to keep repeat offenders off the streets.
Friends of Fourth Ward has provided volunteers for this group, and Officer Welch suggested the Third Ward Neighborhood Association consider the same.  Please contact me with your interest!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vacancies on City Council Boards

Interested in serving on one of the City Council's boards?  Vacancies are listed here.  Contact Jeanne Peek at (704) 336-7494 for more information.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meeting Tonight

Join friends, neighbors, CMPD representatives, and the Third Ward board tonight at Hartigan's Irish Pub for our first association meeting of the year.  Hartigan's is providing free hors d'oeuvres and all bottled beer is $2.00.  The event starts at 7:00p.  All neighbors and friends are welcome!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pie Town Menu Changes

On February 6th Pie Town will launch four new additions to its pizza menu.  Join chef Peter Reinhart and the Pie Town pizzaiolos for a special dinner beginning at 6:30p.  $28/person includes tasting of all four pizzas, salad, gelato, and soft drinks.  Reservations are required and seating is limited.  RSVP to briana@sonomarestaurants.net today!

Streetcar Grant

Today's Observer editorializes on the benefits of pursuing a new federal grant for construction of a portion of the Streetcar line, which would require a $12 million commitment from the City of Charlotte.  This first phase would run from Time Warner Cable Arena to Presbyterian Hospital.
Supporters of the commitment will gather at tonight's City Council meeting.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trash Delay

Trash pickup is delayed one day this week.  For more information, see this link.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Transit Plans Gone Awry"

Local planner Michael Gallis presents some new/old arguments on regional transit in today's Charlotte Observer.  Read the editorial here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January Social

The first Third Ward meeting of 2010 will be Tuesday, January 26th, 7:00p at Hartigan's Irish Pub.  Hartigan's will provide free snacks and hors d'oeuvres, and all domestic and imported bottles will be $2.  The agenda will be light; come out and meet neighbors and friends.  See you then!

Design After the Age of Oil

Design After the Age of Oil” is the first in the Visions of the City Speaker Series presented by the School of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in conjunction with the inauguration of its Master of Urban Design program and Charlotte’s Center City 2020 Vision Plan.  It will take place Wednesday, January 20th at the Wells Fargo Auditorium.  Admission is free but requires an RSVP.

Friday, January 15, 2010

CMPD End of Year Statistics

From the CMPD website:

"Through the end of December, the preliminary total for Index Offenses was -18.5% lower than last year. Property crime decreased by -18.2% while violent crime was down -20.5%.

  • 56 homicides were reported in 2009 compared to 83 in 2008, resulting in a decrease of -32.5%.

All but one of the violent Index crime categories experienced decreases:

  • 2346 robberies were reported compared to 2984, resulting in a decrease of -21.4%
  • 299 rapes were reported compared to 266, resulting in an increase of 12.4%.
  • 2916 aggravated assaults were reported compared to 3731, resulting in a decrease of -21.8%.

Burglary overall was down -18.5%, (9722 compared to 11933) with declines of -14.3% in residential (7766 compared to 9063) and -31.8% in commercial cases (1956 compared to 2870).
3336 vehicle thefts were reported compared to 5266, resulting in a decrease of -36.7%.
Total larceny cases declined by -14.7% (25371 compared to 29735) with the larcenies from auto down by -22.1% (12604 compared to 16187).252 arson cases were reported compared to 335, resulting in a decrease of -24.8%."

For the full press conference, see this link.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

EatCharlotte and Local Dining

The recent closure of Cans is a serious reminder that local establishments need our support.  Pie TownPress, and Hartigan's Irish Pub have all offered their resources to the Third Ward Neighborhood Association and surrounding communities.  Don't forget to repay the favor!
According to a recent press release, "Sonoma, Press and Pie Town are proud to be a part of EatCharlotte, a community of independently-owned neighborhood driven restaurants working together to ignite the local dining scene in Charlotte. As members of EatCharlotte, we will feature bottles of wine for half price today through ... June 27th."
Join the EatCharlotte mailing list.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Leisure & Learn 2010

Active retirees, empty nesters, and baby boomers are invited to the Winter Leisure & Learn 2010 events presented by Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation on January 21st and 28th, and February 4th, at the Mallard Creek Recreational Center. See this flyer for more details!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Streetcar Technology Showcase

The Streetcar Technology Showcase is open to all citizens and will feature "new technologies being proposed to run systems like Charlotte Streetcar Project."  It will take place Friday, January 29th from 8:00a to 6:00p at the Government Center, room 267.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Panthers Recycling Recap

"The Carolina Panthers and their community partners sacked waste and scored big for recycling. The pilot recycling program for tailgaters, launched at the Carolina Panthers first preseason game and continued through the last Panther home game on January 3rd, exceeded expectations and target goals.

There were three games where close to 50% of tailgating material was recycled instead of going to the landfill. City Services collected over 30 tons (30%) of recyclables throughout the season. The pilot program goals for this first year were to divert 20 tons of recyclables from the landfill (20% of tailgating material).

'We are excited to exceed the goal we set of 20 tons of cans and bottles for this first-year pilot program,' says Scott Paul, Operations Manager for the Carolina Panthers.  'Combined with our stadium recycling program, we exceeded 75 tons of recyclables that we diverted from landfills for the 2009 football season.    We look forward to working with our partners to expand this important program for the 2010 football season.  A special thank you goes out to all Panther fans for their participation in the program.'

'An unprecedented success, far exceeding our expectations! Thank you to all of you who made this happen' says Jake Wilson, Executive Director of Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful. 'We know we can grow from here.'

Success is attributed to the combined efforts of many partners. Bojangles’ purchased the bright yellow bags for all recyclable bottles and cans. Parking lots operators in Center City distributed the yellow bags to tailgaters as they entered surface parking lots. Before heading into the stadium, lot attendants instructed fans to leave bags at the curb to be picked up by the City of Charlotte’s Special Services team.  Carolina Panthers, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful and Charlotte Center City Partners worked to get the word out to fans through the parking lot attendants, media and fan communications."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Parking Passes

Parking permits for Victoria Avenue, South Clarkson Street, Westbrook Drive, and other Third Ward streets will expire on January 15th.  To get your decals, hang tags, and stadium event tags, visit Park It! at 1440 South Tryon Street.  Decals are $30 and typically come with one or more hang tags for a second car or guests.  Please note that certain information is required to prove residency; see the Park It! website for details.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Congratulations to CMPD

Yesterday's Observer profiled a drastic drop in crime in Charlotte for 2009, for which Chief Monroe and all of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department deserve congratulations!  The print edition of the article presented graphs illustrating per capita homicides, violent crimes, and property crimes at or near historic lows since modern record keeping began in 1977.
Third Ward enjoys frequent interaction with our Area Commander, Sergeant Pellicone, and Community Officers Stillman and Welch.  In 2008 we were one of the first neighborhoods to be honored with a visit from the then newly-installed Chief Monroe.  We are fortunate to enjoy the fruits of your work in Third Ward and beyond, and applaud your success.

Rezoning Update

Last month the Third Ward Neighborhood Association joined with Friends of Fourth Ward and Charlotte Center City Partners to seek a delay of the public hearing for rezoning petition 2009-074.  After this broadened expression of community concern, the petitioner complied.
Perhaps as early as this week, representatives of Third Ward and other community and governmental organizations will meet with the developer at the Planning Department to discuss options for the site.  Bringing all the stakeholders together has been the recommendation of the Third Ward Neighborhood Association since October, as the proposed development does not observe the standards of Planning documents currently applicable to the area. (However, the Planning Department has recommended approval of the petition.  As noted in this Observer article, the Derita-Statesville Road Community Organization faces a similar situation.)
The Third Ward Neighborhood Association has spent considerable energy cultivating the input of residents, adjacent neighborhoods, and other stakeholders.  Concerns have ranged from particular zoning conditions (architectural materials, traffic, etc.), to the compatibility of an intense development among townhomes and bungalows, to the creation of "barrier conditions" between neighborhoods.
Third Ward is not a stranger to new development and will continue to promote intentional, responsible planning that reflects the values of residents/homeowners.  Please stay tuned for further updates.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bechtler Museum Opening Today

What: The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art opens its doors to the public for the first time on January 2, 2010 at noon and will offer free admission all day. Preceding a short ribbon cutting ceremony, remarks will be given at 11:40a by:
  • John Boyer, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art President and CEO
  • Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx
  • Mecklenburg County Commission Chairman Jennifer Roberts
  • Andreas Bechtler, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art Patron
  • Scott Provancher, Arts & Science Council President
  • Cyndee Patterson, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art Board Chair

When: January 2, 2010. Remarks begin at 11:40a. Ribbon cutting at noon. Museum closes at 5p.

Where: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC

About the Museum: The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is named after the family of Andreas Bechtler, a Charlotte resident and native of Switzerland who assembled and inherited a collection of more than 1,400 artworks created by major figures of 20th-century modernism and donated it to the public trust.
The Bechtler collection comprises artworks by seminal figures such as Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miro, Jean Tinguely, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Le Corbusier, Sol LeWitt, Edgar Degas, Nicolas de Stael, Barbara Hepworth and Picasso. Only a handful of the artworks in the Bechtler collection have been on public view in the United States. Until now, the collection was privately held by the Bechtler family of Switzerland and has since been committed to the city of Charlotte.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is located at 420 South Tryon Street in Charlotte, North Carolina. Regular operating hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10a-5p; Sunday 12p-5p; closed Tuesdays. Admission is $8 for adults; $6 for seniors, college students and educators; $4 for youth (11 to 14) and free for children (up to 10). For museum details visit www.bechtler.org.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Message from the Mayor

"I hope you and your family are enjoying a well-deserved rest and an enjoyable holiday season.

On behalf of our family, Samara and I want to thank you for your support and friendship. We could not have made it through this past year without you.  As we turn the page from 2009 to 2010, we wish you and your family health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

Since the November 4, 2009 election, things have been moving at a whirlwind pace. After the December 7, 2009 oath of office ceremony, I have been working to move Charlotte forward:

  • Jobs Summit. During my Oath of Office, I promised to put together a Jobs Summit to focus discussion among employers about how to improve job growth. As a first step, I met two weeks ago with a number of business leaders, workforce development specialists and nonprofit leaders to begin planning this summit. The summit will occur in the first quarter of 2010. 
  • Efficient and Effective Government Task Force. We will have to be proactive to avoid property tax increases now and in the future.  Next week, I will name a task force of citizens to help review the city budget and recommend budget adjustments that improve efficiency and effectiveness, and I am in final stages of selecting members of this task force. Just as families and businesses are pouring over their budgets to find savings, city government should do the same thing.  The new City Council deserves credit for embracing this effort, which has not been undertaken in 20 years. 
  • Small Business Opportunity Task Force. The City of Charlotte Small Business Opportunity Program has been maligned for several years by concerns about its effectiveness in promoting small business. Because small businesses create an estimated 96% of the jobs within Mecklenburg County, helping small businesses will also help job growth, which is why I am also forming a task force to review this program.
  • Small Business Loan Program.  On December 14, 2009, the City Council approved taking a look at an extension of the city small business loan program. After many discussions with small business owners, I know that one major barrier to increasing jobs is obtaining credit.  For nearly 10 years, the City of Charlotte has supported small businesses through a loan program, which has yielded generally good results.  The idea here is to promote new and growing businesses in key growth sectors.  For the next 60 days, city staff will be reaching out to lenders and small business owners to identify specific gaps in the credit markets that an expanded loan program could address.  
  • Criminal Justice Improvements. On December 8, I met with Police Chief Rodney Monroe to begin working on a strategy to push broader criminal justice system reforms through in Raleigh. I strongly believe that court system technology is a key to improved efficiency and effectiveness in the criminal justice system, and I am going to press for innovation here in Mecklenburg County. 
  • Joint City-State Staff Working Group on Independence Boulevard. I have met with N.C. Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti to discuss Highway 74 (Independence Boulevard). For decades, city planners and state transportation officials have been working in isolation from each other, which has played a significant role in the decline of that corridor.  The next mile is slated for construction in 2011. Before that work begins, we are putting together a joint city-state work team to explore ways to construct future portions that take into account transportation, economic development and neighborhood challenges and opportunities.  The work team will look at whether a better design can be achieved and is slated complete its work in 90 days or less – not impacting the construction schedule. 
  • I-485 Completion.  I have been in constant contact with state leaders on I-485.  You may recall that Governor Beverly Perdue has put together a proposal to complete the remaining loop portion of I-485 by 2014 -- one year before it was slated to start construction.  In proposing a novel way to fund this project, it is not surprising that questions have been raised about it.  I remain highly confident that, in the end, the accelerated schedule will remain in place.  
  • U. S. Conference of Mayor's Climate Change Agreement.  More than 1000 mayors across the United States have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayor's Climate Change Agreement.  With a stroke of a pen, Charlotte has now joined them.  

As we close out 2009, things are clearly looking up. Just consider the following encouraging signs surrounding our economy and the spirit of civic activism that has kept Charlotte moving forward:

  • The Bank of America Board of Directors has selected Brian Moynihan as the company’s new CEO. While much has been speculated about the future of Bank of America’s headquarters, the new leadership has made clear that Charlotte will remain as the corporate headquarters.
  • Electrolux announced that it will relocate its headquarters to Charlotte and grow 700 new jobs here. 
  • Two weeks later, Zenta announced that it will bring its headquarters to Charlotte and grow 1000 new back office financial services jobs.
  • Wells Fargo/Wachovia has donated $6 million to the Charlotte community, making critical investments in education, arts, human services, business corridor improvements and combating homelessness.
  • The Spangler Family Foundation donated millions of dollars to public education, including a $2 million scholarship to my alma mater, West Charlotte High School.

I am grateful to serve the City of Charlotte as Mayor, and I thank you for the vital role you have played in making it all happen.

I love hearing from you, so please never hesitate to call or write.  The best way to reach me is as follows:

Anthony Foxx
Mayor’s Office
600 East 4th Street
15th Floor
Charlotte, NC 28202
704-336-2241
afoxx@ci.charlotte.nc.us

We are already overwhelmed by the number of scheduling requests that have come to our office -- many more requests than I could possibly make.  However, if you have such a request, I urge you to contact Pam Young directly.  She handles my schedule and reaching her is the most efficient way to get a scheduling request processed.  Her contact information is 704-336-2064 or pyoung@ci.charlotte.nc.us.

Sara Forman will continue supporting the campaign as our Finance Director.  Any campaign-related questions should be directed to her (sara@anthonyfoxx.com).

Best to you and your family for a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,
Anthony"