Planning Commission Recommends Approval for 4-Story St. Elmo Commercial/Residential Building

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Planning Commission on Monday afternoon approved a four-story commercial/residential project near the Incline Railway in St. Elmo.

A number of residents of the historic suburb had expressed concern about the height of the building near Mojo Burrito on Old Mountain Road.

Paul Teruya, a developer from the Southside, said he had held several meetings with neighbors and made several concessions.

He said the building will include 5,000 square feet of commercial space, 15 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units.

Mr. Teruya called it "the first multi-unit development in St. Elmo in decades."

There was also a request for several single-family homes to the rear, but that had to be delayed because the request had changed from R-1 to RTZ.

Mr. Teruya said the initial request was for six homes and that has been cut to four.

There is a 12-foot rise in elevation from the front of the property to the rear.

One of the foes was Alan Fields, who has long occupied a commercial building next to the site. He said he had dozens of hand-written letters from those who are concerned about the height of the structure.

He said it goes against the land use map for the area, which he said called for one or two stories and a maximum of three.

The president of the St. Elmo neighborhood association Paige Wichman said that the developer and architect have invited residents to participate in a series of meetings about the development.

A man who bought a lot nearby with plans to build a house for his family agreed that clustered rentals would be better.

Mya Abernathy, who said her 100-year-old grandmother has lived all her life in the neighborhood said she was concerned about traffic and blocking of views.

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