I am a landlord. I own a business. I have concerns with the proposed Kingstonian project.
My sense is that most people aren’t against development per se, but they are upset with how the Kingstonian application and planning process are being mishandled. The point of a more thorough process is not to halt quality development, but weed out bad projects and help make good projects better. Notwithstanding that, all I hear from developers and their supporters are fallacious attacks against those who merely want a more thorough review and labeling them as anti-development. It doesn’t help the discussion and only serves to further polarize the community.
There are many areas of concern, but I will merely touch on a few.
• When you have “independent’ boards and commissions being influenced and shaped to reach a desired outcome — that raises flags.
• When you have a planning department that doesn’t follow the statutory timelines or seem to even understand how to correctly handle an application — that raises flags.
• When you have developers and supporters continually misrepresent that the project will result in increased parking for the community — that raises flags. And let there be no misunderstanding, there will not be additional community parking spaces with the current proposed version of the Kingstonian project. While the total number of parking spaces will increase, there will be a net loss because of the spaces that must be allocated to apartment tenants and their guests, the hotel guests and employees, and the occupants and guests of the commercial spaces. This isn’t conjecture — this is fact.
• When you have a Common Council that hasn’t fulfilled its duties as an involved agency — that raises flags.
• When the city doesn’t hire its own experts, but relies on the developers’ (which is not the norm for projects of this scale) — that raises flags.
• When you have a mayor, who in March — way before studies had been submitted, reports filed — states that the project will get a negative declaration — that raises flags.
• When the project doesn’t appear to comply with city housing guidelines with regard to affordable housing requirements — that raises flags.
Again, I don’t know anyone who is against developing the city property at the end of Wall Street. Nor do I know anyone who is against a true increase in parking spaces available to the community. What I hear and see are that people want a project that aesthetically fits the area; that benefits the community, and that addresses historical, societal, and environmental needs. The Kingstonian project, as it is currently designed, fails in most of these areas.
I hope that the application is withdrawn and the project redesigned and resubmitted with these issues addressed so that I can support it.