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So everything is set up for demolition on the Joinery block in Woodstock; why hasn't it begun...?

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Sidewalk and road barriers and other materials, in preparation for demolition of the Joinery building on Woodstock Boulevard, have been stored on the block for months. Now another extension for demolition and construction has been requested and granted.Demolition of the building which once was home to Standard TV and Appliance, and later The Joinery, on Woodstock Boulevard between S.E. 48th and 49th, was scheduled for early spring – but there have been delays, and it has not yet taken place. The demolition will include all four houses on the same block.

The proposed Mill Creek apartment development – "Modera Woodstock" – is planned as a five-story complex with 194 residential units and 121 below-level tenant parking spaces, plus 6,750 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. This large-scale development has long been the subject of concern for a number of different neighborhood entities.

The Woodstock Library has fretted about loss of available parking for its patrons along S.E. 49th Avenue, as it has expressed during past public comment periods. Too, some tenants of the new apartment building who opt not to pay the underground monthly parking fee may be parking on the street beside the library, as well as elsewhere nearby in the neighborhood.

The Woodstock Laundry on S.E. 48th wonders if its clients will have problems leaving its own five parking spaces, because the only exit for the Modera's below-ground residential parking would be on 48th Avenue directly opposite the Laundry's parking area.

Residents along S.E. 48th and 49th expect there may be many apartment tenants and retail customers parking in front of their homes, especially since the building's retail spaces will have no designated parking of their own.

Pedestrians fear facing challenges when trying to cross Woodstock Boulevard, due to increased congestion from construction vehicles parked in the middle of the street, or in one lane of the boulevard. And, with two-hundred-plus apartment tenants, many of whom may have at least one car, vehicles negotiating to get onto the boulevard, or turn left from side streets, may create congestion and a frustrating and dangerous situation for both pedestrians and motorists alike.

On July 13th, Marc Gaudin, owner of the Joinery block and the founder and former owner of the Joinery business, e-mailed a member of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association to say the block is still in a holding pattern, and may remain that way for months. He indicated that would be re-negotiating, and that the deal was looking a little more uncertain.

Then, on July 18th, he e-mailed again to say that Mill Creek had asked for another extension, this one for a four-month period. Gaudin agreed to it, he said, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus situation. He said he was somewhat frustrated with the situation; but granting the extension seemed fair to him, given the amount of time and money Mill Creek had already invested.

The Woodstock Neighborhood Association's Land Use Committee (LUC) has spent a good deal of time addressing concerns about the scale of the development and its impact on the neighborhood.

Thatch Moyle, Co-Chair of the committee, reports, "The LUC was highly supportive of DOZA (Design Overlay Zone Amendments) before it was amended in Feb 2020. . .to strike [out] any of the added design overlay areas." In short, design review is no longer an option for the Woodstock neighborhood.

Les Szigethy, the other Co-Chair of the Land Use Committee, wrote in an e-mail that the project has been very frustrating: "The LUC had some very real concerns, not the least of which has been the inappropriate size of this building.  "Our concerns about traffic and access to Woodstock Boulevard were not considered [by the Bureau of Development Services or PBOT]. The building kept on getting higher and higher, which was also upsetting. No one at the city seems concerned about pedestrian safety, or even the impact of this huge building on our schools.

"The LUC followed through every step of the review process with the city, and in each case our concerns were not considered. . . Apparently the city planners' vision of our village bears no resemblance to what makes it a very livable place to call home." Of course, with all the delays, it still remains to be seen if this project actually will move forward.


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