#City & Town Planning
Mayor & City Council of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
United States of America

Note: This petition now endorsed by Tuscaloosa Neighborhoods Together, "TNT." See their letter:

Paste the following link to your browser: https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AVNWIoxaKu_PZGdzcG1wanpfMThndmpncDM5Yg&hl=en

The Issue: Downtown redevelopment is happening on our doorstep. A key part of the Downtown development plan, as stated in the Greater Downtown Plan created by the Greater Downtown Advisory Committee Report (and endorsed by the City Council) calls for the protection of existing nearby residential neighborhoods.

The residential neighborhoods are recognized as a resource worth preserving. The plan calls for "no commercial intrusions" into the residential districts, and calls for a safe and walkable greater downtown.

Recently the city council has licensed business adjacent to our district that have had a negative impact on residents. Moreover, there is the possibility that things may get worse in the near future if we do not make our views clear to city officials. The City needs to stay true to its commitment to protect and promote safe and attractive places to live near downtown. To do so, it will have to make changes and work with residents to insure that further damage is not done.

What has already happened: In what was the Norris Garage (20th Ave & University Blvd), now sits the Innisfree restaurant and bar. The Innisfree is a popular business, but it is not popular with many nearby residents. It draws a very large number of students and other customers in the late evenings. Unlike "The Strip" near the university, customers do not walk to the Innisfree. They drive, and they make use of parking provided by taxpayers along 20th Ave. They are driving towards and away from this establishment through our neighborhood. They do so in large numbers. They do so late into the evenings. This is not consistent with the City's stated pledge to help preserve our neighborhood as a "residential resource." It is also not consistent with the "walk-able" and safe downtown called for in its greater downtown plan.

What may happen soon: We need to get ahead of new risks to our neighborhood. Most importantly, the city announced that the Focus on Seniors building (located next to the Innisfree, and behind Hooligans on the Corner of 20th Ave, and 6th Street) will be sold (Tuscaloosa News, Jan 17th, 2009.) The question is: What will take its place? Will it be another mega-restaurant or bar that will turn a bad situation for the neighborhood into something worse?

What can be done: We need to make a strong statement to our city officials and elected leaders. Downtown redevelopment does not need to threaten our neighborhood. Establishments that serve drink should be encouraged to locate away from residential neighborhoods. There is plenty of room to go around. The City has built an enormous parking garage (the "Intermodal Center") so that bars, restaurants, and shops can locate downtown without fear of losing customers for lack of parking. If clients of drinking establishments are unable to park in existing non-residential entertainment zones, the City Council should adopt policies that encourage these customers to park at the Intermodal Center and walk.

We want your signature: To help save our neighborhood, we request you sign this petition. It calls upon the City Council to keep its promise to protect where we live by fixing current problems and by denying licenses to businesses that threaten to undermine the conditions that allow for successful residential neighborhoods.

Residents and friends of the Druid City Historic District hereby request the following of the Mayor and City Council:

1) That it deny licenses to businesses that will sell alcohol either within the Historic Districts (including the Druid City Historic District), or within adjacent properties. We also specifically request that licenses to sell or serve alcohol be denied to any future tenants or owners of the Focus on Seniors building (at the corner of 6th and 20th Street), as well as to any other such businesses that may locate along 6th Street and 7th Street between the 21st Avenue and Queen City Boulevard in the future. Likewise, we request that these restrictions be applied to properties between 20th Avenue and 21st Avenue adjacent to the border of the Druid City Historic District along 20th Avenue.

2) Because the peace and quiet necessary to sustaining a successful residential neighborhood is already at risk, we ask that the City take steps to remedy the problems created by existing drinking establishments. The parking along the west side of 20th Avenue has been paid for by public dollars. It ought not to be made available to customers who may drive through our residential neighborhoods after drinking.

3) Because the downtown redevelopment plans approved by the City Council calls for a walk-able and safe greater downtown, it ought to make changes in its current practices and remediate past mistakes. The Intermodal Center parking lot should provide all the additional parking required for downtown establishments. With provisions for adequate traffic control, the Intermodal Center will (and should) remain sufficiently distant from residential neighborhoods to insulate them from detrimental automobile traffic. The City Council needs to insure that future businesses such as bars and restaurants that serve drink are located a sufficient distance from residential neighborhoods to preserve them. The detrimental traffic generated by those already too close to residential neighborhoods ought to be remediated. Parking built in conjunction with Federal Courthouse that borders residential areas ought not to become a launching point for drunk drivers, and those that do park near these establishments should be routed away from our homes.

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The Ensure the Integrity of the Druid City Historic District Neighborhood petition to Mayor & City Council of Tuscaloosa, Alabama was written by DruidCityNeighborhood and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.