The Planning Commission on Monday heard much conversation around a resolution that proposes that a lot in Highland Park (South Beech Street) be rezoned from a R-T/Z to a UGC Urban General Commercial Zone so four townhouse units can be built there. The land is vacant at the moment.
Applicant Matt Lyle said, “I intend to sell two of those units for an amount that is affordable for anyone in the 90 percent of adjusted median income.
A problem with Highland Park is that many people are being priced out, and that’s not what we’re trying to do here.”
The staff recommended to deny the applicant’s request, but to approve lifting the conditions of the ordinance. Having four dwelling units in a 0.2 acre area in a R-T/Z zone exceeds the maximum density of 12 units per acre. So instead of changing the zoning to UGC, the agency recommended simply lifting the conditions for the R-T/Z zone.
“I want to say that we are in desperate need of affordable housing for purchase and rent,” said resident Matt Stevens, “and I think it would be great for RPA to work with different developers to solve this problem.”
He added, “We need to be able to balance what is happening in Highland Park with the amount of residences that are selling. We’d also like to see more density, and I would add to the sentiment for adding conditions for UGC.”
Mr. Stevens was not the only person who supported the idea of developing housing in Highland Park. Daniel Heckman said Mr. Lyle had previously come to a neighborhood meeting in Highland Park and detailed his plan for the property.
“I have the same sentiments as my neighbors on the Highland Park board, and it was widely received by neighbors. I think the conditions Mr. Lyle has volunteered has solved the zoning issues. I don’t think it will set a poor precedent for future projects.”
Mr. Heckman said that Mr. Lyle had told the neighborhood that a Homeowners Association could be set up to include these properties. That would guarantee no person could turn those homes into short term vacation rentals.
The Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend to approve the requested rezoning.