In hindsight, maybe Friday AM during the summer was not the best time. One has to wonder how many CSD parents might have been in attendance if this event had been held in just two weeks after school starts and drop-off had just ended.
There was considerable discussion about pedestrian safety with regards to the school and large numbers of children walking in the area. In fairness it did sound as if some of the changes brought on by this project (and likely any project on the site) would bring some enhancements for pedestrian safety. These include closing the driveways to the property off Griffith and the one directly across from Community School of Davidson on Davidson Gateway. There was also talk of a mid-block crossing over Griffith connecting to the Spinnaker Cove neighborhood and pushing the sidewalk back from Griffith as it crosses the creek on the eastern side of the property headed towards Roosevelt Wilson Park.
Those are definitely a good things and would certainly make things better for pedestrians, particularly the sidewalk being pusbed back from Griffith as that sidewalk is regularly used by CSD for walks to the park with dozens of kids. However, there would also be drawbacks - the primary one being that the sole entrance to the hotel would be the shared driveway with Woodies off of Davidson Gateway.
Parking was also a hot topic, one that would have also been much more apparent if the walk had been done at a different time. There was repeated mention of what will the impact be to CSD. While the problem is not solely the responsibility of the developer, the Town needs to do everything it can to remediate this issue by fully enforcing its ordinance. The current plan from the developer is 36 spaces short of the 149 required by the ordinance.
To give readers a frame of reference for what this will mean if this site for the proposed hotel goes away and the parking issue is not addressed, take a look at the below picture. This picture was actually taken last September on a Sunday when CSD was in use for church services. The church no longer uses the facility, but this same picture could be taken whenever the school has special events.
Woodies is pictured on the right. The proposed hotel site is directly center where the bulk of the cars are parked. CSD is off camera to the left.
Clearly this is going to be a major issue, and if the Town handles it poorly, it will negatively impact the quality of life in this neighborhood, not to mention hurt Woodies business. The hotel looks to use 50% of Woodies off street parking as part of a shared parking agreement required by the town.
To give more of a frame of reference for what this will look like, see the below pictures. The first shows the rough footprint of the building relative to Woodies, the trees on the property and CSD across Davidson Gateway. The second is taken from ground level at the rear of where the building foot print will be.
That brings up another obvious issue with the plan, the trees. The canopy trees along Griffith will come down. It was unclear if the three largest trees off camera to the right will be able to stay. The answer seemed to be no, but if the footprint changes a bit that could change.
Nothing on the sitewalk addressed many parents' concerns about having a hotel next to a school which seemed to be an obvious question the Town hasn't addressed, but there was still plenty to discuss besides that.