Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – February 2017

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, and to specific projects with sun/shade issues in particular. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition


Yorkville condo project forgoes second tower for townhouses | The Globe and Mail

Nine townhomes will be incorporated into the 27-storey tower.

“The tight dimensions of many infill sites in downtown Toronto often limit projects to tall towers with a few townhouses, if any at all.

But when Metropia and Diamond Corp. gained clearance to redevelop a parking garage with two towers at 181 Bedford Rd., they opted to construct a single high-rise with 245 suites and a courtyard flanked by over three dozen townhouses with three or four floors and private garages.”…

https://t.co/lYMZuW9Asj


Winthrop Square Project Updates Listed | Beacon Hill Times

“…concerns about the project’s proposed design and impact upon the surrounding neighborhood, including its potential wind and shadow impacts.

Beaton is requiring the developers to provide information and analysis regarding building height and shadow to disclose potential impacts and response to concerns expressed by State Agencies and other stakeholders.

DEIR will address the project’s consistency with Chapter 362 of the Acts of 1990 and Chapter 384 of the Acts of 1992 regarding the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden respectively (also known as the Shadow Acts).

The DEIR will identify whether legislative approval will be required to provide relief from the Acts and if new legislation is passed the DEIR should identify those efforts and the related review process.

Beaton made note that the State laws which protect the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden from new shadow applies by its terms to approvals by the City of Boston, however it does not address approvals by State Agencies or MEPA. While the MEPA process will serve to disclose potential impacts, the City of Boston through its review and permitting will address the project’s consistency with these laws.”

“Recently, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) proposed a plan to push legislation that would allow the building to use up the rest of the shadow bank, which is currently reserved for buildings only in the Midtown Cultural District. The Winthrop Square site sits about two blocks away from the designated zone.

The current Shadow Laws created the shadow bank for new buildings in the Midtown Cultural District of one care from which the City can allow developers to withdraw for shadows cast for longer than the two-hour exemption.

Legislation for the shadow bank to be used up by a building outside of the Midtown Cultural District needs to be passed by the Boston City Council and then the by the State to allow the building to move forward.”

https://t.co/D0zuujmZCL


RT @SocketSite: Zeitgeist likely to lose literal NIMBY challenge next week  #RealestateSF



“As proposed, a new five-story building with 28 condos over 6,300 square feet of new retail space and a 19-car garage will rise upon the Oil Changer site at 198 Valencia Street.

In August, shortly after anti-tech flyers were posted in front of the bar, the owner of Zeitgeist filed a formal challenge of the project, citing concerns that the development would cast additional shadows on Zeitgeist’s (back yard) beer garden at 199 Valencia Street and adversely affect the bar’s business.

Last month, Zeitgeist’s challenge was heard by San Francisco’s Planning Commission, which requested an additional shadow analysis and continued the hearing to next week.

From Zeitgeist’s latest plea to the Commission, which seeks to have the height, design and positioning of the development altered:

“Throughout this process, the developer has demonstrated an unwillingness to cooperate with Zeitgeist in order to adequately address the valid impact that this proposal has on our business.

We recount the sequence of interactions during this last 10 months and implore the Planning Commission to recognize that the developers are actively choosing to ignore this issue, hoping that the Planning Commission will approve their proposal in the [2/16/17] meeting.

In our view, the developers have followed the “letter of the law” rather than the “spirit of the law” in holding the required Pre-Application Meeting, but not actually discussing and addressing the concerns of the stakeholders.”

But with the new analysis in hand – which projects that the proposed development will add 255,000 square
foot hours of net new shadow on Zeitgeist’s garden, a total annual increase of just 2.06 percent but with the maximum impact occurring on April 26th and August 16th (“when some new shadow would be present in locations within the Beer Garden for a period of approximately 2 hours” and affecting up to 37% of the garden area) and the days between – San Francisco’s Planning Department is recommending that the development be approved as proposed.

The Department’s reasoning for its recommendation:

  1. The Project complies with the Planning Code and advances the Objectives and Policies of the General Plan
  2. The Project is in an appropriate in-fill development that will add 28 new dwelling units to the City’s housing stock and 6,269 square feet of commercial space in an area that encourages the development of moderate-scale buildings with a pattern of ground floor commercial with upper story residential units.
  3. The Project fully respects the character of the adjacent mixed use and residential neighborhoods.
  4. The Project will include at least four units of on-site, permanently affordable housing

Keep in mind that neither San Francisco Planning Code nor the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) require a project to consider or design around the shadowing of a neighbor’s back yard, unless said yard is a public space.

And while Zeitgeist has been designated an official Legacy Business by the City, said designation doesn’t confer any special protections beyond financial support.”

https://t.co/4aJKaGpPAo https://t.co/MO146xFboN


Seeing the bright side of a shadow | via @BostonGlobe

Boston Common.

“The fight over Boston’s next skyscraper has pit poor people against shadows.

And the crazy part is, if some well-meaning but deeply misguided people get their way, the shadows could win.

Some months ago, the city reached a deal to sell the long-shuttered Winthrop Square Garage near Downtown Crossing to Millennium Partners for a whopping sum of $153 million. The developer has proposed a 775-foot tower for the site. Of the city’s windfall, $35 million has been allotted to the Boston Housing Authority, $67 million to the Parks Department — both perennially underfunded agencies — and $28 million each for the Boston Common and Franklin Park. Plenty of bureaucratic obstacles remained, but they didn’t seem major.

Somehow, no one had considered what may turn out to be the most imposing obstacle of all: the “shadow bank.”

The “shadow bank” is the creation of two state laws that limit the total amount of shadow construction can cast on the Common and the Public Garden. The laws, which date to 1990 and 1993, are complicated. But the gist is that they establish a limit on the size of shadows new buildings are permitted to cast on the two beloved parks. The size takes into consideration time of day and time of year, and there is an entire district near the parks that is exempt. The laws date back to a time of intense anxiety that development around the Common and Public Garden could wreck them as sanctuaries.

The Winthrop Square project as proposed would violate the law by casting shadows onto the parks too late in the mornings. On the worst days of the year, according to models provided by the city and the developers, parts of the park would be in shadow until 9:30 a.m.

That’s not much of a reason to derail a project with enormous public benefits, but right now that’s the threat.

Mayor Marty Walsh plans to ask the City Council and the Legislature to pass a home rule petition that would exempt this project — and only this project — from the law. In exchange, the Walsh administration would promise to limit the height of other new buildings near the park.

“In my view this is a litmus test of what we hold dear in our city,” said Bill McGonagle, head of the Boston Housing Authority. “Homes for poor folks, improvements to our parks, jobs for Boston residents. This isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a tough decision.”

The Millennium deal would provide millions for the upkeep of the Common and Franklin Park. If you haven’t visited them in a while, rest assured that both desperately need the help. The Common, in particular, has become a victim of its popularity. Its 1.5 million visitors a year simply inflict more damage than its maintenance budget can restore.

“What we have discovered over the past year is that the Common is receiving an enormous amount of use, compared to even 10 or 15 years ago,” said Parks Commissioner Christopher Cook. He says slightly more shadow won’t really be a problem, especially weighed against millions of dollars for improved maintenance. “Most people’s experience of the park won’t be any different, except that it will be better.”

Despite that, parks advocates fret about the impact of an estimated 90 minutes a day of shadow. And they don’t trust the city’s assurances that this exemption would be a one-time event.

“It provides a blueprint for future developers to seek exemptions,” said Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of Friends of the Public Garden, an advocacy group. “The mayor would like everyone to be reassured that it’s just for one project, but I haven’t talked to one person who agrees that this is not precedent-setting.”

Vizza is a thoughtful advocate for the city’s parks. But in fact, there aren’t any more projects like this one, because the city isn’t sitting on any more parcels like this.

Better housing for the poor and upkeep for the parks, in exchange for a shadow few will ever notice? This really isn’t a hard choice.”

https://t.co/f7wuuuK2tR


Australia's Tallest Tower Will Cast More Shadow over Shrine of Remembrance  on Broadsheet | Broadsheet Melbourne

Shrine of Remembrance. Image via Wikipedia France.



“Crown Resorts’ recently approved skyscraper, One Queensbridge Street, has already attracted some criticism. Neighbours claim the 90-storey building was exempt from the regular approval process.

Another criticism is that the new tower, once it is completed, will reportedly overshadow the Shrine of Remembrance on winter afternoons.”

“But, according to a shadow study conducted by consultants for owners in a neighbouring Southbank tower, One Queensbridge Street will cast the Shrine in shadow for 58 afternoons in winter, the Age reported.

On those days the shadow will reach the Shrine after 3.45pm. Current legislation protects the Shrine from 11am until 3pm each day.

The consequences of building shadows have subtle but important consequences on city life. And according to Davis, development projects in central Melbourne consistently neglect cultural importance. “The impacts on specific cultural or heritage spaces need to be closely examined,” he says.

As Melbourne grows so too does the number of high-rise residential developments in the inner city. Often these developments are built at the expense of heritage destinations, such as The Corkman Hotel, which has been demolished, and The Great Western Hotel, which is earmarked for demolition.

“What that intense growth means is that you do have to protect your heritage, and you do have to ensure that key precincts are protected … Shadowing is a critical component of that,” Davis says.”

https://t.co/o1fI2p5Ir9


Zeitgeist About to Lose Patio Shadow Battle, and More A.M. Intel | via @EaterSF



”Late December brought news that beer garden Zeitgeist’s sunny patio is under threat by a development at 198 Valencia St. (across the street) that could cast a literal shadow over the business. The bar filed a discretionary review with the city, which then ordered Sternberg Benjamin Architects to do a third shadow analysis measuring how the building’s height (and lessening it) would impact the beer garden. The report is in, and it has found that the building will only increase shadow hours by 2.06 percent. With that information, SF’s Planning Department is recommending that the development be approved as proposed, Socketsite reports.”

https://t.co/7AvySpGCTg


RT @SMSpoke:  We would like this kind of parking problem .... yes please.

RT Elena Christopoulos‏ @Elenach: Yes, all cities do have parking problems. #Amsterdam #dcp #theplansm @santamonicacity @SustainableSM @urb_mag

Seems to be an epidemic of parking problems in Holland. I took this pic in Assen. @Elenach @urb_mag @santamonicacity @SustainableSM


https://t.co/ILugZaDHnF


RT @Urban_Toronto: Breaking: Cresford announces @KohnPedersenFox-designed 98-storey, 343.9m supertall at Yonge & Gerrard #Toronto:

YSL Residences at 385 Yonge, Toronto by Cresford Developments, Kohn Pederson Fox

“Rising to an incredible 98 storeys, Toronto's—and Canada's—tallest building could be coming to the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard. Designed by New York's Kohn Pedersen Fox for Cresford Developments, the super-tall tower would feature a mix of retail, office uses, and residential space. The height? 343.9 metres.”…

https://ow.ly/f7ar309libn


Cheers, Ralph

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