Below is a copy of the letter we sent to our Council Representatives regarding the proposed drive-thru at 923 Broadway. The best thing residents can do right now to oppose this type of development is to contact the City Council Members. We encourage you to voice your opinion to the council. Contact information for all members can be found here.
It has come to the attention of the Downtown Neighborhood Association that the building located at 923 Broadway Boulevard in the heart of the Historic Garment District will be demolished to make way for a drive-thru fast food restaurant. This news is deeply troubling to our organization as this type of development is in direct contradiction to the currently adopted Greater Downtown Area Plan (GDAP). The following are reasons why we feel this type of development does not follow the GDAP:
1. It violates the integrity of a registered historic district. Downtown's historic assets are part of what makes the City attractive, livable, and competitive. We erode this character with pad site drive-thrus.
2. It would not create a walkable downtown. Auto-oriented uses are not supportive of a walkable downtown.
3. It would not help to double the downtown population. Fast food pad site drive-thrus do not represent the highest and best use, and do not add needed density.
4. It would not retain and promote safe, authentic neighborhoods. This proposal directly undermines the authenticity and historic character of the surrounding Historic Garment District.
5. It would not promote sustainability. Auto-oriented uses are not compatible with the multi-modal policies and urban development strategies that the City has been pursuing to support a more sustainable region.
6. It would not increase employment downtown. Pad site fast food does not build the thriving economic base that downtown needs to compete in the 21st century. There is a need for retail and services, but this design and this site are not appropriate.
7. The City's recent zoning update specifically discourages auto-oriented uses in the downtown. This is a direct undermining of the City's land use policy goals.
8. The City is in the process of adopting and modifying policies to make the Streetcar TDD more transit-supportive. This is a good idea in general, but also because supportive land use policies and development are criteria that are a consideration for federal funding. The City removed parking requirements, assessed surface parking, and other actions to support high density, transit-oriented development, and an auto-oriented drive-thru is certainly not the highest and best use for this site within the Streetcar TDD.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association supports development that preserves and compliments the historic nature of our neighborhood, embraces the street on all sides to improve walkability and enhance the pedestrian experience, and fully integrates with and supports the existing uses and character of our neighborhood. While we support and encourage redevelopment of this site, a drive-thru facility simply has no place in our neighborhood. We encourage you to consider our opposition and take steps to ensure that new development in our neighborhood follows the guidelines of the adopted GDAP.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association Board