Perhaps the folks at Lincoln Property are skint of holiday party invites? I mean, why else would they expect the neighbors surrounding their proposed project at Carlisle and Bowen to be available to meet the week before Christmas? And with less than a week’s notice?
You may recall I reported on this particular project just before Halloween. I noted that Lincoln had met with neighboring property owners who wanted input into traffic and shadow studies for the proposed building. At that point, over a month after the initial meeting, Lincoln representative Angela Hunt had stopped replying to neighbors.
Well, the neighbors never met or heard from Hunt or Lincoln again until a hasty December 12 invitation to the last-minute meeting on December 18. No input, nada.
And the results were as expected.
There was no traffic study and the shadow study was tilted towards Lincoln. First of all, the two comparisons were between a by-right three-story structure and the proposed five- and six-story building. What was missing is the status quo. What’s the current shadow fall of the existing building?
By including two, three, and five/six stories, the neighbors would have gotten a complete picture. The problem with that is that the disparity between two stories and six would be alarming.
Above is the view from the top floor of The Vine townhomes if a by-right three-story building is built. As I said, the problem is that what’s there currently is two stories and it should have been shown. The other problem is that The Vine’s third floor is the master bedroom where most time spent is with eyes closed. The real question for The Vine owners is what’s the view out of your second floor living room? That’s the real question.
Here’s what a Vine master bedroom will see through closed eyes with a five-story building. A lot less great. But hey, isn’t quite a bit of the proposed Lincoln Katy Trail building six stories? Where’s that model? Yeah, oops.
Lincoln Bungles Itself
Of course, were I Lincoln, I’d have also been a little smarter too (natch’). If they get their proposed building, Lincoln will apparently be burying the electric lines and poles. But at three stories, buried utilities ain’t happening, now are they? Ya shoulda shown that, right?
More smarts would have also showed what the proposed tree coverage along Carlisle would look like. Were I trying to slide this jumbo in, I’d be planting so many trees I’d need Vaseline to get ’em all in. Camouflage is key. I’d be guaranteeing a certain quality (evergreens?), maturity and height of tree (no cheapo saplings) to ensure coverage at height. Maybe a vertical garden component? Anything to break up the blank wall of crappy apartment windows.
Shady Shadow Study
The other problem is that the times of day used were inconsistent. In two of the three examples the shorter building is shown 60-90 minutes later in the late-afternoon than the taller building.
In the picture above, it’s pretty easy to imagine how much less shadow the three-story building would cast an hour earlier at 5 p.m. Equally obvious is that The Vine would be buried in shadow from the proposed building an hour later at 6 p.m.
The third example shows a theoretical November shadow cast with the three-story shadow an hour earlier. This took me a minute to figure out. By having the five-story proposal an hour later, the majority of the shadow appears to be originating from taller neighboring buildings and not the five-story. This gives a light gap unlikely at an earlier time. I suspect the five-story shadow unfolds as “bad, bad, less bad, bad, bad, bad.”
It’s exactly the type of self-serving “study” the residents of The Vine townhomes across the street feared when they asked to be involved in the study’s parameter creation months ago. And don’t think these shadow studies are extra tough to create. Architects use software that can be easily changed to reflect any number of conditions — ya want snow? Done. A full moon? Done.
Had Lincoln wanted, they would have created clips of how the shadow changed throughout the day. Had they really wanted to push the boat out, they would have had a laptop and projector in the room to show any attendee any shadow on any date, at any time of day. A few clicks of the mouse and bingo-bango, there you go. But they didn’t. I assume because it was bad.
Notes to Lincoln
- Don’t ignore the neighbors for months on end. If you’re paying someone to liaise, make sure they are.
- Don’t show up with the exact same self-serving data they said they expect. Surprise with respect.
- Don’t show up without trees and without utility poles where necessary. Use the tools you have.
- Don’t call meetings with little notice the week prior to the biggest holiday CF of the year. Just because you’re drinking alone from a tear-stained carton of egg nog …
Remember: High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. If you’re interested in hosting a Candysdirt.com Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards. Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make? Shoot me an email email@example.com.