December 2017 Zoning Update

At the December meeting of the Encanto Village Planning Committee, there was a presentation from the company that recently bought (parts of) Park Central for $57 million.  The plans were, in my mind, very disappointing.  The new owners will spruce up the property with new signage and new marketing concepts but not really change anything.  There is no plan for new construction, the focus will remain office space with more or less the same restaurants, and the view from Central Avenue will still be parking lot and cars.  The one piece of good news was that the temporary library (to fill the void left by the Burton Barr Central Library problems) is being set up in the basement of the old Goldwater’s store and will be opening the first of the year.

The committee heard plans for a self-storage facility proposed for Turney Avenue just east of 7th Avenue in the Melrose.  This would be due north of The Curve apartment complex under construction.  The developers were requesting a height waiver to allow 56 feet on land zoned for a maximum of 30 feet, along with a special permit to allow a self-storage facility.  The apartments already under construction due south will be 60 feet high.  The land was already zoned for commercial (C2) and has laid empty (with one unused building) for several years.  The developers sought input on design from the neighborhoods and had a design competition from 3 architecture firms.  The result was a unique, striking design that even the opponents of the plan seemed to like.  There are several self storage facilities in the area but they have a leased rate of over 90%.  Such businesses typically serve people within a 1-3 mile radius and generate relatively little traffic.  3 people from the neighborhood spoke against the plan.  Someone from the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association spoke in favor.  The committee voted in favor of the plan 12-2.  The Planning Commission will hear this proposal on January 4th.

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