Planners delay loft decision

Published 9:50 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Planning Commission on Tuesday delayed a recommendation on a conditional use permit that would allow a developer to transform aging retail buildings on West Washington Street into new loft apartments and ground-floor retail space.

Tom Dickey of Monument Construction requested the delay to allow the company more time to gain approval for the project through state and federal bodies that regulate the rehabilitation of historic structures.

The Planning Commission delayed a decision on a conditional use permit for a proposed new loft apartment development on West Washington Street, seen here behind the sign announcing the public hearing.

The Planning Commission delayed a decision on a conditional use permit for a proposed new loft apartment development on West Washington Street, seen here behind the sign announcing the public hearing.

“At this point, we’re still getting feedback from them, so there could be some changes,” Dickey said in the public hearing.

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The project would convert the buildings along the south side of West Washington Street in the block between Main and Saratoga streets. It does not include the Salvation Army thrift store or the adjacent building, formerly the Red Thread Studio.

The new project also does not include the buildings at the other end of the block, which Monument Construction already has renovated and which include loft apartments with retail space on the ground floor, similar to what is proposed in the new project.

The 68 new loft apartments require a conditional use permit request because of residential density requirements that otherwise would limit the number of units in the development to 24.

About 6,000 square feet of retail space would be developed on the ground floor of the buildings.

According to a staff report presented Tuesday, the city’s Traffic Engineering division believes there are enough parking spaces in nearby public lots to support the lofts — a conclusion that has been supported by parking surveys conducted by the Economic Development Department.

The developers also propose to acquire property from the city in order to landscape the residents’ entrances to the buildings, which will be at the rear, and to build an enclosure for a Dumpster on a portion of a landscape island in the Cherry Street parking lot behind the buildings.

The buildings in question are located at street numbers 121, 129, 133, 135, 137, 139, 141, 143, 145, 147 and 149.

In other business Tuesday, planners recommended approval of conditional use permit requests for a church located at 3537 Pruden Blvd. and an accessory dwelling unit at 900 Pembroke Lane.

In addition, the commissioners were told a church that had hoped to lease a building at 1931 Holland Road — a lot that will likely be acquired by the city in the process of widening Holland Road — had withdrawn its request. Planners tabled a decision on the church’s conditional use permit at their April meeting.