After the Planning Commission approved the Track 29 project, located on the north side of the Midtown Greenway between Bryant Avenue and Aldrich Avenue, William Casey, on behalf of the Midtown Lofts Condominium Association, appealed the decision. The matter will go before the City Council Zoning & Planning Committee on March 3, 2011.
According to the City Staff report, Mr. Casey outlines that their concerns are related to the northern building facing Bryant rather than the one facing the Midtown Greenway. They request that the project be modified to step down in height to better transition to neighboring properties. In testimony from Mr. Casey at the Planning Commission hearing prior to the appeal, much of the testimony focused on density concerns where he said the original project called for 112 units and now it’s 225 units in total, which was concerning to him. The applicant responded that the density allowed on the site is between 40-120 units (per acre) and that their proposal is for approximately 80 units per acre. City staff confirm it’s 81.5 units per acre and that it was appropriate for the site.
It’s unclear what will happen at the City Council with regard to this appeal, but the decision will likely be based on whether the City Council believes the decision by the Planning Commission is consistent with adopted City policy, such as the Lyn-Lake Small Area Plan and the Midtown Greenway Land Use and Redevelopment Plan, as well as zoning ordinances. If the plans and code indicate that the project exceeds recommended density levels and/or if the project largely does not conform with the plans, then granting the appeal would be likely. But plans often have many recommendations and statements that can be argued for or against a project because the documents are very long and try to address a variety of issues. That usually means that there are lots of shades of gray and not a lot of black and white to make decisions.