Park Cities YMCA Asks to Cancel Meetings

Just as our story on the unraveling Park Cities YMCA PD ordinance hits doorsteps, new information shows the Y is asking to cancel upcoming City Council meetings.

John Bunten, project spearhead for the Y, said they requested that Mayor Davis cancel the special meeting and remove the Y from the Dec. 18 regular City Council meeting. 

He said via email that “each continued additional requirement by the City Council and City Staff to our proposed building square footage, operational hours and having to ask for permission to use our own playing field on Sundays for any type of family event incluing birthday parties is just too much.”

He said they’re stepping back from negotiations for the rest of the Holiday season.

UP spokesman Steve Mace said they are aware of the Y’s message and will notify me once something materializes on the situation.

Update: Mace said the council has cancelled the meetings and will wait for word from the Park Cities YMCA before placing the item on a Council agenda.  

By Andrew Plock Dec. 6, 2012 | 10:48 am | 25 Comments | Comments RSS
  • Another Mother

    This is sad. Now the neighborhood may well be left with an unattractive very outdated facility and continued parking issues along with the car break-ins that happen regularly. It really amazes me.

  • Working Together

    It remains mind boggling that this decision has dragged on for as long as it has. It certainly appears to this observer(who was in attendance at the last meeting)that City Staff’s input and recommendations into the approval process mean little when it comes to the final decisions -which means politics and Council members kowtowing to influential neighbors and creating operating restrictions that many would feel go WAY beyond that of being reasonable.

    Alternatively, the Y could also be seen as trying to side-step building use restrictions by attempting to rely on strict interpretation of zoning ordinances and creative language.

    Both situations have gotten out of hand. Given that this is a stressful time of year anyway, perhaps a ‘time-out’ is needed for both sides to get some perspective. I’m just hopeful that some thoughtful reflection will be made on both sides.

  • Riddex

    Oh boo hoo! It’s just all too much for those “grown ups” at the Y to handle! Geez Louise, first we had to endure Y officials openly crying while they addressed the Council, now they are upset at the Council for wanting to negotiate details of the PD with them? Bunch of spoiled unprofessional brats. Let’s go ahead and drag this on into next year, that’s gonna be real good for the community.

  • Avid Reader

    YMCA asks the city to break it’s rules so the YMCA can build a bigger building. City says, meh sure, but we’ll only let you past the line in the sand 50% of the distance you are trying to go and we need info on how this will work. YMCA says, whoa now, who are you to tell us what to do and takes it’s ball and goes home. Sounds reasonable.

  • Make it fit or quit

    Hard to believe that an experienced arcitecture firm did not know that the measurements would be from the outside of the walls – that is what the P&Z staff are saying is the standard.

    I have made my share of mistakes and can sure identify with how the YMCA crew must feel about this one that they have made. On the other hand, There is just too much going into this proposed facility for the surrounding streets to support and it is will make the look of the neighborhood decidely more commercial.

    As dissappointing as it is, the YMCA should take off a third of the gym (limiting them to half-court sports like younger b-ball and all volleyball) and make a proposal that meets the City Council motion. Surely the currently un-named financial backers would not mind a smaller gym?

    Make it fit or quit.

  • Just Sayin’

    Sounds like Riddex and Avid Reader are a couple of the affected neighbors blaming only one group for the whole mess. Seems to me there’s blame to go around.

  • Just Sayin’

    Same comment for Make it fit or quit.

  • MGBHStar

    It is amazing that UP P&Z doesn’t hesitate to approve a variance when requested by a homeowner. How many times have we seen too much impervious cover, square footage, fence heights or set backs overridden? Yet, when the YMCA, who provides a great value to the neighborhood, gets nickel and dimed on its request due to a few overly vocal homeowners, most of whom moved in after the Y was built, it is tragic. If I were on the Y board, I’d vote to sell the land, and use the money to build a new facility outside of the Park Cities. For the benefit of a few, the majority gets punished.

  • Normandy neighbor

    If the Y would eliminate the school it has planned, I think everything would be agreeable

  • Riddex

    @Just Sayin': I don’t live near the Y. I just dislike cry babies very much. Want me to blame someone else? Ok. I do place blame on the P&Z for not taking a strong stand on this project and punting to the Council. I blame the Council for not being rigorous enough with the Y in the first place. But mostly I blame the Y for proposing a project too large and totally out of character with the neighborhood then trying to sell the project with crocodile tears, traffic study trickery and now, gee wiz we didn’t know you guys were measuring by the outside walls! It’s been the Y’s fault all along.

  • bm

    Chase Bank 10 plus years! Any bets on how long this will drag on? Only in University Park can this happen.

  • http://none well duh

    ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards are that square footage is calculated from outise wall surface. The Y is playing games.

  • http://none well duh

    ANSI (American National Standards Institute) specify that square footage is calculated from outside wall surfaces. The Y is playing games.

  • Coincidence?

    Clearly no one is without a role (blame?) in this. Still I agree with bm’s comment that this is very reminiscent of Chase taking their parking lot out of use due to frustration. Seems like we need all involved to focus on the goal of improving our community. Neither the Chase debacle nor this one is succeeding on that note.

  • Make it fit or quit

    Hey Just Sayin’, can you clarify your message?

    Are you saying that I sound like a neighbor because I am wondering aloud (in print) how it could come to this goofy impasse on inside/outside of the walls and shouldn’t the architect be the one to know what information is required for the request for re-zoning? Or that I sound like a neighbor because I believe the applicant bears the burden of making their request clear to the City? Can you not believe that a supporter of a new YMCA facility would be disappointed that the YMCA leadership cannot figure out how to overcome the obstacles of the basic part of the application process?

    Maybe I am just not close enough to the details of this situation to understand how this particular slip up could be the fault of anyone other than the applicant?

    The news says that there is a need to take a few thousand feet off the plan. Is it disappointing, sure. Is it worth putting this plan in mothballs for a decade or two? Really?

    Maybe I am too far from the details to understand how every aspect of the “activity areas” is worth killing the project?

    You sound too close to the YMCA to be objective … Just sayin’

  • Another Mother

    I agree with MGBHStar. If I were on the Board of the Y I would recommend leaving the Park Cities entirely. In fact I plan on bringing this up to a friend who is on the board. Then let’s see what happens to the land when it’s sold.

  • Avid Reader

    @Just Sayin’
    I also do not live in the area near the YMCA, just thought they would be more adult like in this process. Instead; they whined, decided that they didn’t have to follow the council’s outline by bringing back a plan that broke the square footage amount agreed upon, only to get approval anyways, then tried to pull a serious gimmick by saying they were going to measure the size of the building from the inside (never heard/seen of this being done before, and then when asked to provide further details about how their updated YMCA/School would actually operate they cry about actually coming up with concrete answers.

  • XT

    Of course all sides share in some of the blame, but the Y seems to be playing by some different rules (inside dimensions? Really?). I actually am in favor of the Y expanding, but they seem unwilling to compromise. And I don’t live anywhere near the Y, don’t know anyone who does, and only use the Y to sign my kids up for youth sports,so truly no dog in this fight. Having been in Real Estate for quite some time, I’ve seen my share of NIMBY’s, and rich NIMBY’s are particularly difficult. That being said, rarely has my company not been able to reach a compromise. The Y has handled this all wrong, as has UP P&Z.

    As to those who say they should sell and move elsewhere, exactly where would they move? Go north, and you run into Town North Y. Go East and you run into Lake Highlands Y. But the “they should take their ball and leave” chorus is indicative of the Y’s attitude during this whole ordeal.

  • Pat

    We definitely need to expand the Y…. Because the neighborhood could use more creepy older men in yoga pants.

  • DIANE

    I am one of the infamous neighbors on Normandy (west side) who opposed the big Y building. I take full responsibility for moving into a congested neighborhood, just as people who move into the lower Greenville area must do. In the years we have lived here, we have become accustomed to the traffic, the speed of the traffic and the sometimes nice/sometimes not Y patrons who park in front of our homes. We were disappointed by the Council’s decision to allow an oversized building for the new Y; just as some of our neighbors (who moved on Normandy because of the proximity of the Y) were disappointed by some of the parameters directed by the Council. The Y was dissatisfied with the original size outlined by the Council-it got more square feet. This is not at all the same situation as with Chase Bank. The Y was not turned down – they were approved. Now, they need to stop insisting that we be good neighbors, they need to become one!

  • PC Res

    well duh:
    The ANSI standard is consistent with the Y’s position.

    The Y’s PD application was specifically based on air conditioned area. This appears several times in the application and consistently throughout their other materials. The ANSI Standard for building measure is ANSI Z65.1. This defines several types of gross area and the one which equates to air conditioned area is Gross Measured Area, also known as Interior Gross Area. Per to ANSI Z65.1, this is measured to the “INSIDE finish of the permanent exterior enclosure [wall]”, which is exactly what the Y said they did. The Y isn’t playing games. Two on council think what was proposed was just fine, but now after nine months, three others have decided they want to change the standard.

  • bm

    Diane,
    The Chase Bank was not turned down.

  • Riddex

    PC Res- The standard is and always should be the UP Code of Ordinances since it reflects the will of the citizens and the accepted practices in our community. The Code says measure the outside walls. To do otherwise is either arrogant or stupid. In this case the Y is arrogant to propose it and those who voted for it are stupid.

  • Another Mother

    What would be really stupid would be to take the time and effort to raise the funds and build a facility that is inadequate to meet the needs of the current and future members and the community well into the 21st century. If you are going to have a capital campaign and ask people to donate their money then it needs to be done right or not done at all. Perhaps a vote should be taken to see what the will of all of the citizens of UP is.

  • PC Res

    Riddex – This is a PD, not straight zoning and per the UP code the standards are established in the PD ordinance. Both the City Attorney and Development Director have specifically stated there is nothing improper about including area measurement provisions as PD condition – and the one proposed aligns with a generally recognized standard (if you rent space anywhere, your square footage is most likely measured to the interior face of the outside wall). So using PD as it was intended is neither stupid nor arrogant – it why the City Code has PDs. It’s also how the Council is able to dictate provisions that significantly deviate from City code such as requiring underground parking, 100 more parking spaces than would otherwise be required, removing perimeter parking, intersection improvements, limited operating hours, extra landscaping, parking studies, a specific site plan, specific elevations, specific materials, and about 2 dozen other provisions that aren’t in the UP Code, but are in the PD conditions. Implying that it’s somehow wrong for the Y to suggest specific provisions, when everyone else in the process is doing so, is an example of the double standard that been applied to the Y throughout much of this process.

    FRIEND, FOLLOW, AND SHARE US
    Classifieds - This Just In
    SEARCH OUR SITE
    THIS MONTH’S ISSUE