Friday, October 25, 2019

Caissa Public Strategy Holds Public Meeting on Carrefour-- in Video and Pictures.

Like the meeting one year ago, also hosted by Caissa Public Strategy, (see Carrefour Meeting in Video and Pictures ) there were large posters on foam board around the room, yellow sticky notes, and no power point. This time there were more seats along the back, but there seemed to be fewer elderly people attending that needed them.

I arrived a bit late but got the spiel about the plans recorded, and some of the questions that the public was able to squeeze in before the crowd was forced to break into groups-- you know, so we can't hear anybody else's questions and concerns.  This technique keeps the crowd under better control by the organizers. Of course Caissa Public Strategy representatives don't say that, and when several people complained about the format, they said it is preferable for citizens to engage in private conversation with the experts.

The developers want all three phases of the development finished in five or six years, if the marketing goes well.

A few questions were left hanging, the most notable being "Are the owners applying for tax incentives?". 
The answer: I don't know.

Why is a hotel needed?
Answer: We aren't marketing people. 

How is Fountain Square going to fit in?
Answer: That has not been decided. This is an outline plan. 

How many residences will there be? 
Answer: 250, but the crowd corrected him that at the Planning Commission the number was over 300.

Will the residences be apartments or condominiums? 

Answer: We don't know, this is for the site plan, not usage or ownership. 

How tall are the buildings? 
Answer: First, "I don't know", and then someone read the T5 and T6 zoning code which stated that the Phase I building could be eight stories by right, and ten stories by warrant.  

Here is the video of the main presentation for Phases I, II and III of Carrefour, and a video clip of someone talking to the traffic expert afterwards. I urge you to listen to the traffic questions and answers. The traffic study is several years old.


I headed over to an empty table where there was a ten question "online" survey. I tried to answer by touching the screen but it required using arrows and a touch pad on a small computer. Since I am used to a mouse, I had a bit of a time with it.  I asked if this was really online, as had been claimed, and could people take it at home? No, they said, they did it this way because it was "secure". Caissa, which is a PR and marketing firm, apparently has never heard of a secure online survey. There are, of course a wide variety of ways online surveys can be made secure.  

There were ten questions on the survey, and the above are three typical examples. Click on the pictures to enlarge them and read, if need be. As much talk as there is about the Thornwood Residences not having balconies, I was happy to be able to select my preferred design for the balconies.

I think I was the only person that took the survey, and that was only because I wanted to snap a few shots of the questions. The Caissa employee at the survey table did not seem exactly happy that I was doing that but she was quite polite anyway. There were some cool virtual reality glasses at the same table, but after I put them on, I could feel myself sort of reeling and leaning, so I took them off pretty quickly.

Nobody much really bothered with the yellow sticky notes either. Here are the only ones I saw:  

Caissa Public Strategy has been in the news lately, as a temporary employee charged that he was told by a supervisor to continue issuing "ballots" at the last election after a judge had issued an injunction against their use. The company states that they had not been officially told about the injunction, which happened just before noon on the election day.

From the Commercial Appeal,  7 things to know about the coordinated effort to distribute deceptive election materials in Memphis

"Four candidates appeared on both a genuine Republican ballot and a bogus Democratic ballot. Their management company, Caissa Public Strategy, distributed both ballots, according to temp workers."

Renditions of the site plan for Carrefour are on the Developments in Germantown web page.

The Planning Commission will discuss this application on November 5.

Citizens and other people affected may express their viewpoints by emailing

Here is the audio of the subcommittee meeting last week. I have not yet listened to all of it, but did not want to delay posting this. Carrefour was discussed, as were the latest suggested Smart Code changes, banning " single-use, stand-alone" apartment buildings (see Oct. 24 Daily Memphian).

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