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October 09, 2007



Evidently, there is a literature on how to do successful charettes -



Here's a brief report I sent to the SUNY grad students:

"I attended the Comprehensive Plan Community Meeting last night at the Albany Housing Authority. I thought I would report back what I gathered from attending. The purpose of the meeting

"There was a guy there, I believe a city planner, who gave a brief presentation of what the comprehensive plan process was supposed to accomplish and what the process looked like. Barbara Smith, councilwoman from Arbor Hill, was also there as a resource. She is who put together this meeting.

"A brief recap of what was said: A number of people spoke about the fact that Albany has had numerous plans before, such as the Recapitalize Albany plan, and all the various neighborhood plans. One woman spoke about the defects in the affordable housing the AHA has built with respect to water drainage. Another woman spoke about the difficulty in maintaining her house when historic preservation ordinances are applied to her house, but she is not given funding to adhere to those ordinance requirements, and that those requirements are too strict. One man talked about the excessive amount of bars downtown, and he thought that wasn't downtown economic development. I mentioned the need for the plan to include youth centers where young folks can organize their own stuff, and how the shows at the church on lark street were shut down by some rude and mean-spirited people. I also mentioned how many of the problems people were identifying stemmed from the Mayor's office and the fact that we in Albany have a "strong-arm mayor" kind of government. It would certainly help the cause of planning to have a weakened mayor's office.

"I also mentioned the University and the planning department. I said there were many students perspiring with anticipation at the chance to help an Albany Comprehensive Plan effort. The planning guy said that there was an effort being made and that there would be volunteer opportunities and internships.

"There were many complaints about the quality of people moving into some neighborhoods, particularly Arbor Hill, but also a few others. There was a comment about what happened during the building of Empire State Plaza, when 15,000 people were pushed out of downtown to Arbor Hill and other neighborhoods; traumatized renewal refugees, if you will. Many complaints about the affordable housing situation, and a discussion about the relationship of Albany to its surrounding communities.

"At 8pm, the meeting wrapped up. "

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