The Town Council reviewed concept plans last week, including for an office project on Weaver Dairy Road and 112 new apartments proposed for Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Concept plans are not formal development applications. The council hears about projects and provides developers with feedback that can be used in actual applications. The council does not vote on concept plans.
The council offered several suggestions for those projects Monday:
1165 Weaver Dairy
▪ Address: 1165 Weaver Dairy Road, near the southeastern corner at MLK Jr. Boulevard
▪ Property owner: ComProp LLC (Michael and Peter Slomianyj)
▪ Applicant: Coulter Jewell Thames
▪ Rezoning: Mixed Use Office/Institutional to a higher-density zone
▪ Proposed: 3-story, with ground-floor retail and offices above, on 1.8 acres
▪ Parking: 3-story, 210-space deck
▪ Comments: There were some concerns about the size of the parking deck, but council members liked the change from a previously proposed storage facility and that the project could provide needed density and office space.
Too much parking is better than too little, Council member Maria Palmer said, suggesting a fourth level. Mayor Pam Hemminger recommended talking with nearby businesses about collaborative parking.
Council member Nancy Oates thought the project might offer a good space for Deep Dish Theater, which has closed after leaving University Place. Palmer said non-medical office tenants would be good.
The project needs more work to make the path in front of the project feel as pedestrian-friendly as possible, council members said.
▪ Address: 970 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
▪ Property owner: Sawmill Development Co. (Larry Short)
▪ Applicant: Ballentine Associates
▪ Rezoning: Office/Institutional-2 to Office/Institutional-3
▪ Proposed: Four 5-story (70 foot) buildings with 112 one- and two-bedroom apartments on 7 acres
▪ Affordable housing: 15 percent possible
▪ Parking: Below each building
▪ Environmental: Site includes resource conservation land and steep slopes
▪ Comments: Council member Ed Harrison noted that 70 feet “is a lot of height, even under the existing zoning.”
Council members also wanted to know more about whether the project complies with the 2013 Central West small-area plan that guides development near the Estes Drive-MLK Boulevard intersection.
Council member Michael Parker, a Central West committee co-chair, said it was “broadly consistent.” His only concerns, he said, is that the buildings are really six stories with under-building parking, and the Central West plan called for about 80 units, not 112. But that was a guideline, he said.
Council members said they appreciated the affordable units; Oates asked if they could be priced at 60 percent to 80 percent of area median income (up to $39,600 a year for a single person).
Council members also liked the project’s creativity and under-building parking, but they were concerned about drivers trying to exit on busy MLK Boulevard.
Council member Sally Greene suggested making sure the parking courtyard actually works for drivers and parked cars.