UPDATE: Monday, 8-22-2011, 9:10 AM. I just contacted Belvidere Planning and Zoning. Mr.Linkenheld emailed the office this morning and the written revision will now be submitted this afternoon.
SEE Mr. Linkenheld’s letter below. Any additional information will be presented by August 19. On Wednesday, August 17 Father Geary and the architect presented oral information at a Planning and Zoning staff meeting. Mayor Brereton was kind enough to supply an oral summary of the meeting to three concerned citizens and neighbors of the St. James project on Thursday.
As of 1:30 PM on Friday 8-19-2011 no written revised plan has been received. At 4:30 PM Mr. Linkenheld called the Planning and Zoning Department and stated that there is “just one more thing regarding parking” so he will get it to the Planning and Zoning on Monday. The aldermen will have no written information regarding the revised plan. The neighbors and concerned citizens will have little or no time to consider the changes nor have an opportunity to review the plans. Will Monday’s proceedings regarding St. James really be open and transparent when neither the city council nor the general public have an opportunity to study the revised plans?
I understand that some of the aldermen have had private discussions with the parish about the revision. Perhaps some of them have been given the new plans to study. Are all these actions as transparent and open as they should be? Will some aldermen have information which is not available to the public?
The following appears to be the procedure which the city will follow on the revision (subject to change by the city council). On this Monday, August 22, Mr. Linkenheld will present the revised plan at city council. The aldermen may then ask questions even though aldermen may not have had the opportunity to study the written proposal. The public then can ask questions. The written revision may or may not have ever been available to the public. The St. James zoning request then would be voted at the next meeting—Tuesday--September 6. The public can talk to the aldermen individually or possibly at the Tuesday meeting before the vote. However there will no further opportunity to pose questions to Mr. Linkenheld and St. James. Basically the public’s questions will be unanswered unless they are present at the August 22 meeting and the public is smart enough and quick enough to pose the questions at the August 22 meeting.
The following is the information which we obtained from our meeting with the Mayor and from Jean Christensen’s discussion with Mr. Linkenheld several days ago. Please remember all the changes are merely proposals which St. James may or may not be in the actual revision.
The revised Church will have the same foot print. (length and width dimensions); however, the building has been moved closer to the school/parish center. The baptistery is on the school side rather than on Church Street. The building has also been moved closer to Caswell Street and the porch like effect (see bottom color photocopy, #7) is much smaller. That will have a major effect on the ramp; we will have to wait to see if diagrams of that are provided by Mr. Linkenheld.
The shadow effect of the tall church still will exist but it will shift. How it shifts will be unknown unless that question is answered at the August 22 meeting and Mr. Linkenheld gives a complete presentation of the effect on all of the neighboring property owners. The shadow analysis should consider the relative height of the new church not merely the building height from its foundation. The proposed building has a number of steps from the street before you reach the buildings floor. Thus a 70 foot church will be casting a shadow of a considerably taller building upon its neighbors. If the ground level on the church is 10 feet higher than the neighboring property a shadow equivalent to a 80 foot building will be cast upon its neighbors.
The height of the new church has been shortened slightly. The inside ceiling is now arched and rises above the sidewall in the middle so as to maintain the look and feel of 50 feet high ceilings. The side walls are 48 feet rather than 54 feet. The peak height was not supplied however half way up the peak, the height is 54.5 feet.(This is information on a shadow analysis presented. I estimated the height at the peak has changed from 70 feet to 64 feet.) Half way up the peak (54.5 feet) was the basis for shadow studies that were demonstrated to zoning/planning staff for the houses across Caswell Street from the new church.
Please keep in mind that the above information is all third hand information without written documentation and St. James may even change their oral revision when it is finally written and presented to the public.
OLD—As submitted to Belvidere Planning and Zoning on May 10, 2011
Click on the photocopy to enlarge: