Moving more than a thousand students to the intersection of three Eugene neighborhoods creates a lot of stakeholders. That’s why different organizations have joined together to form the Eugene Community Advisory Team (Eugene CAT) to examine the proposed Capstone project, which would bring 1,200 students into a downtown complex at 13th and Olive by fall 2014.
Even with the many stakeholders involved in Eugene CAT, the group isn’t looking to go all Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the project if (or when) it runs into controversies. “Our primary interest isn’t in making a recommendation,” CAT Steering Committee member Paul Conte told a public question-and-answer town hall on March 13.
Instead, the committee is working with the involved neighborhood associations, developers and city staff to ensure that information is available and accessible to the public — and City Council, too.
The March 13 meeting, attended by Capstone representatives as well as EPD and LTD representatives, a city of Eugene community development manager and parking and transportation representatives, among others, covered the basic outline of the project, the guidelines for City Council’s decision on the proposed $16 million Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption (MUPTE) and questions and concerns submitted in writing in advance and by attendees.
Among the questions addressed by the panel were concerns about enforcement of noise alcohol and drug violations, traffic on West 12th Avenue (a popular bike corridor), the extra sensitivity to construction dust and noise of some elderly and disabled Olive Plaza residents, the adequacy of the eight-story parking garage and developers’ desire to have a decision by the end of April.
Among the questions that city staff and Capstone couldn’t answer (both entities said they needed to consult a lawyer for legal details) was what provisions — such as permanent on-site building managers or conduct code guarantees — City Council might be able to insert into the MUPTE.
To meet its goal of keeping information accessible to the public, Eugene CAT has a website that includes a calendar of future events and an archive. Audio from the March 13 meeting is available at the bottom of the archive section, located at www.eugenecat.org/calendar.html