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Construction has been taking place this spring on a duplex just above the Trinity United Methodist upper parking lot. A photo from a similar view 11 years ago appears farther down on this page .
Westside Pioneer photo

Mirrillion development's final phase smaller, but will church get runoff again from uphill construction? Stay tuned

In a 2005 photo taken from a similar vantage point as the one at the top of this page, Trinity United Methodist Church Pastor Jerry Boles stands on church property, with townhome developments on the hill behind him. In later years, from this view, as Mirrillion built up, its construction would partly block out the previously built Madison Ridge, which is visible here behind the fence in the background.
Westside Pioneer file photo
Eight years ago, despite flooding worries from Trinity Methodist Church, a developer was moving forward with plans for two townhome buildings - containing three and five units each - off Henderson and 20th streets, just above the church.
       The work was to be the final, half-acre phase of the 1.82-acre, 24-unit Lofts at Mirrillion project off Henderson and 20th streets.
       But the buildings never went up.
       Fast-forwarding to the present, construction is finally occurring on that final phase and in that same location. Only it's a different developer now (Cascade Builders LLC) and a much smaller final phase. Instead of the eight-unit construction described above, it will be a one-building duplex.
       This is somewhat acceptable news to Jerry Boles, the Trinity pastor, who in a recent interview expressed weariness with having fought the issue for so long - a saga which has included multiple builders and city planners. The church has found settling and cracking in various parts of the building and, while it was built 55 years ago, Trinity members claim that the problem never happened before the uphill construction.
       Boles and his congregation have complained not only about Mirrillion but also Madison Heights, which over a decade ago built more than 50 close-together townhomes farther up the same hill.
       In a 2008 letter to the city, speaking to Mirrillion's then-larger final phase, Boles asserted that “historically, the hill they [the developers] are purposing to fully develop was completely undisturbed and completely grass covered, and our property was protected by a six-foot ditch, in a still-existing city drainage
Trinity Church's upper parking lot and sidewalk are awash in mud and water in this photo from over a decade ago, illustrating the drainage issues that have occurred during the Madison Ridge and Mirrillion projects on the hillside above. The church has also claimed that seepage from such runoff has affected the soils underlying its building.
Courtesy of Trinity United Methodist Church
easement, Ordinance 83-28 [which was attached to the letter]. During their work of development, they have filled in this ditch and purpose now to cover it with buildings.”
       The church's lengthy stormwater struggle has included a private lawsuit, which Boles says the church won; however, it did not result in any monetary compensation.
       Speaking of Mirrillion's now-downsized final phase, he said, “I'm just glad in a way that the project is going to be done. It's been nothing but a hillside full of weeds for a few years.”
       Boles was encouraged by a recent chat with Cascade Builders, in which he said they pledged to be conscientious about mitigating drainage.
       In a project statement as part of the submittal for city approval, Cascade's engineer, Charles Cothern, recognized that the issue exists. He wrote that the “current proposal is a much lower impact in terms of impervious area coverage and building height.”
       However, Boles is in wait-and-see mode. “We still have a few concerns,” he said. “Until the final grading is in, we're still going to be anxious and nervous, because that big hill drains into our parking lot.”
       The final-phase plan was approved through a city administrative review process led by Mike Schultz of City Land Use Review. A different city planner had been assigned to the project in 2008.
       Schultz would have preferred a larger final phase. “I would have liked that they [Cascade Builders] added more units, but the HOA [Mirrillion Homeowners Association] was fine with the two,” he explained in an e-mail.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 4/23/16; Land: Issues)

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