Orr Block Update — Final Votes on May 30 and in June

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As you probably know, developer Robert Korff has resubmitted his original proposal for rezoning the Orr Block to MU4 but with one extremely significant change. He proposed NOT to rezone a narrow strip of land at the back of the property. This so-called “devil strip” would lie between the abutters and the rezoned area. Because the abutters would no longer directly abut the rezoned portion of the property, their petition to require a three-quarters vote of approval by the City Council would be nullified. Mr. Korff would need only 16 votes to pass his proposal, making it much more likely that he would prevail.

In effect, Mr. Korff is trying to make an end run around the community, to usurp the spirit of the law that protects residents.

In effect, Mr. Korff is trying to make an end run around the community, to usurp the spirit of the law that protects residents. This move is all the more menacing because it would set a dismal pattern for other developers to follow. The Land Use Committee will have its advisory vote on the new proposal next week, May 30. They are likely to approve it, but our presence at the meeting could affect any LUC member who is truly on the fence.

The decisive full-Council vote will come in June (date to be determined). That’s the vote that matters, the one that will finally determine whether the zoning will be changed. The outcome will have an impact on the whole city because of the red or green light it will give to other such development. So the June meeting will be a very important one to attend. Public comment will probably not be allowed but our presence will make a big difference. Sometimes councilors don’t decide how to vote until the last moment.