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Council green lights senior apartments

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Plans to build a 54-unit affordable senior apartment complex in the village will move forward after Council approved the project at its Dec. 17 meeting.

In several unanimous 4–0 votes, Council determined that the project met the standards and conditions of the Planned Unit Development, or PUD, zoning and approved the project’s requested deviations from the zoning code.

Home, Inc. and its development partner, St. Mary Development Corporation of Dayton, applied for the PUD because the project, located between East Herman and East Marshall streets, exceeds the allowable density and height restrictions and the lot size is smaller than a PUD allows.

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Council member Kineta Sanford recused herself from discussion and voting, stating that she has a conflict of interest because she works at Home, Inc.

Even though Planning Commission could not approve the project in its official recommendation to Council, Council makes the final decision based on both Planning Commission’s work and its own review.

In explaining his position, Council President Brian Housh said the there is no doubt that the village is in an “affordability crisis.” and that even though a project may not match some “higher ideal,” steps need to be taken.

“We have so often in the past not done anything because we are striving for the perfect,” Housh said.

Council member Kevin Stokes urged action rather than just talk to solve village issues. He said his affirmative votes will give “a viable project an opportunity to succeed.” In the end, the height of the building, 55 feet at the peak, didn’t faze him.

“It would just be the tallest non-exempt structure in the village, and only one-third of it is that tall,” Stokes said.

Council member Lisa Kreeger said that the project “hasn’t been a slam dunk,” especially after listening to the concerns of some villagers. Even though she agrees there is a need for affordable senior rentals, Kreeger said she is balancing that with Village infrastructure needs. But with Village assurances and a belief in collaboration, Kreeger believes the project can be pulled off.

“I’m confident that we can do it,” Kreeger said.

Council also agreed with Planning Commission’s suggested conditions for a Village traffic study of the area and for a smaller number of parking spaces, 42, with a provision that the developers would increase the number of spaces to 54 should the need arise.

The next step is for Council to officially rezone the property. Legislation to do so will be considered at its Jan. 7 meeting and again on Jan. 22. Although tight, that time frame would allow Home, Inc. to meet its deadline to apply for low-income housing tax credits, which the local nonprofit has stated is critical for the funding of the project.

Other items from Council’s Dec. 17 agenda will be in the Jan. 3 issue of the News.

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