Finally, after dozens of meetings about the updated Zoning Ordinance, the Planning Commission can get back to doing what it loves: hearing appeals of decisions made by the Architectural Review Board.
On Wednesday, the commission will hear two appeals — one related to landscaping and courtyard elevations for the mixed use project slated to replace part of the Village Trailer Park, the other related to building colors, materials, and landscaping for a two-story apartment proposed for 802 Ashland Ave.
Both projects have received varying degrees of public scrutiny. City planners say, in reports to the commission, that both appellants take issue with aspects of the projects that were outside the scope of the Architectural Review Board’s (ARB) purview. City planners say that other aspects that raised concern among appellants, concerns that fell within the purview of the appeal, were handled appropriately by the ARB and the developers. City planners recommend denying both appeals.
802 Ashland Ave.
The Ashland Avenue project would add a two-story, 10-unit apartment building to a plot of land set back off of the street. A driveway would be the only portion of the property facing the street.
The appellant, identified as Stop 802 Ashland, takes issue with the proposed building’s massing. City planners say that the building design carefully integrates with the property’s sloping terrain and other buildings in the neighborhood. Stop 802 Ashland also took issue with building’s proximity to the neighbors, claiming they are too close.
The proposed setbacks, city planners respond, are up to code.
“Setback standards are established to ensure that neighboring properties continue to maintain adequate light and air and Staff believes that light and air for both the neighboring and project residents would not to be impacted,” they said in the report. “Further, the project appropriately balances the need for setbacks from adjacent properties with the need for on-site visual open space and circulation on the site.”
Village Trailer Park
Appellant Ron Goldman challenged many aspects of the Village Trailer Park project but city planners claim that many of them are outside the scope of the appeal. His frustrations that fall within the scope are related to open space.
“The appellant states that the primary public open space at the corner of New Road and Pennsylvania has been moved and is no longer part of the public pathway, as compared to the Council approved plans,” city planners said.
“The approximately 5,000 square-foot open space is located at the northwest corner of New Road and Pennsylvania Avenue consistent with the approved minor modification to the development agreement.”
Goldman also claims that 44 percent of uncovered open space is now covered, when compared to the design approved by City Council.
City planners say that there is more ground floor open space than what council approved. They say that 64 percent of the open space is uncovered.
The increase in ground floor open space was approved, through a minor modification, by the Planning Director, they say.
“Further, having all of the ground floor open space uncovered was not a requirement of the development agreement,” city planners said in the report. “The design concept of having the landscaping and open space as an organizing feature of the development by allowing pedestrians to flow between covered and uncovered spaces is prevalent in the project.”
The Planning Commissioner will make the final call on Wednesday night at City Hall.