Answer Man: DMC assumes thousands of parking spaces

Six sub-districts make up the full-blown DMC Development District, which was approved by the Rochester City Council as part of the general development plan in March 2015.

Dear Answer Man, in the April 21 paper , an article stated that preliminary plans call for adding 16,000 parking spaces in Rochester. Is this in the DMC area only, or all of Rochester? If limited to the DMC area, how much parking is there now? -- Steve Harper

That's a lot of parking, isn't it? Every man, woman and child in Byron, Kasson, Dodge Center, Hayfield and Brownsdale could have one of those new parking spaces and there'd still be room for all the residents of Dexter.

That figure was cited by Rochester's Assistant City Administrator Gary Neumann, who said that over the next 20 years, about $1.8 billion in infrastructure spending is planned as part of Destination Medical Center , including $720 million to add 16,000 more parking spaces.

I took a spin through the Biblical-length DMC Development Plan and was able to find a factoid about $79 million to be spent on creating 3,147 new parking spaces as an "early phase improvement" for DMC, but frankly, I have potato salad and pies to make for Memorial Day weekend and don't have time to review both the Old Testament and New Testament.

I contacted Gary and he said that on short notice, he's also hard-pressed to find the precise source of that 16,000 figure, but it's accurate, he said, and it just applies to the DMC development district area, which is mostly downtown and around the Saint Marys Hospital area. FYI, the current array of city ramps downtown have about 3,000 parking spaces .


Here's another quick DMC-related question before I get back into the kitchen:

Dear Answer Man, refresh my memory: When were the DMC "sub-districts" created and were they put into state law or can they be modified? Was the Saint Marys Place sub-district expanded to accommodate the proposed luxury apartment project west of the hospital?

This is an excellent question, and frankly, the Post-Bulletin archives are fairly mute on how the lines of the district were drawn.

One of my associates talked with a DMC official a few weeks ago and was told that the boundaries of the sub-districts were laid out in the 2013 enabling legislation , but that's not quite accurate. The statute says only that "as part of the development plan, the (DMC) corporation may create and define the boundaries of medical center development districts and subdistricts at any place or places within the city. Projects may be undertaken within defined medical center development districts consistent with the development plan."

The six sub-districts were included as part of the DMC Development Plan ( page 13 of the executive summary, if you bother to open the PDF online) , which was approved in March 2015 . (There was council discussion about the exact outlines of the sub-districts at that time.)

The boundaries of the development district are important, needless to say, because it's the property owners and features within those boundaries that are eliglble for the pot of gold of DMC money, tax breaks, etc.

Mary Welder, communications director for the DMC Economic Development Agency, says the Saint Marys sub-district hasn't been expanded. "The development plan, which includes the district boundary, may be updated at any time and at least every five years. Per statute, modification of the plan must follow the same process that adoption of the plan did, including public hearing and posting, board approval, and council approval.

"Bottom line: the plan only changes following public input and approval by DMC Corp. and the City Council," she said by email.


Who was involved in drawing up the sub-districts? In the end, it was the city, county, Mayo and an army of consultants: Hammes Co., EE&K, Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Inc., Kimley-Horn & Associates, AECOM, Himle Rapp, and Dorsey & Whitney LLP.

It's interesting to look at the district boundaries and wonder how and why decisions were made. With the Saint Marys sub-district, for example, there's a teeny-tiny extension that protrudes across U.S. HIghway 52 on the north side of Second Street. Why is that? Someday maybe we'll find out.

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