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Development projects hit a rough patch

The City Council tonight is scheduled to deal with the first of three major development projects totalling 364 housing units that the Plan Commission has rejected in recent weeks.

The Carroll Place development — a proposed 18-story, 165 unit condominium project — goes before the Planning and Development Committee after receiving a 5 – 3 thumbs down from the planners.

So far this year the City Council has approved four planned developments totalling 388 units — 2100 Greenwood, Mather Lifeways, Church Street Village and Prarie Place Residences. It has rejected one development, Darrow Corners, with 27 units.

During all of 2005 the council approved five planned developments totalling 351 units and sent the Kendall College project back to the Plan Commission.

The Plan Commission, which approved four of the six projects that reached the City Council during 2005, has now approved four and rejected four that have gone or will go before the council this year.

Here’s the track record of planned development projects that have reached a final council decision this year or are expected to do so over the next several weeks:

  • 2100 Greenwood The public notice for this project to convert an abandoned factory building into 26 loft-style condominiums was issued Sept. 1, 2005. After two hearings, the Plan Commission approved the project on Dec. 14, 2005. The City Council approved the project unanimously on Feb. 13.
  • Mather Lifeways The public notice for this retirement home project called for two 10-story buildings, at 1615 Hinman Ave. and 422 Davis St., with a total of 309 units. After eight hearings starting in June 2005, the Plan Commission voted 5 – 0 in favor of the project on Dec. 7, 2005. After a variety of changes to the placement of the buildings on the site, the City Council approved the development on March 13, 2006.
  • Church Street Village Following a community meeting Nov. 18, 2005, this project at 1613 Church St. started through the approval process with a public notice published Nov. 23, 2005, that called for 42 townhouse units. The Plan Commission held two hearings and approved it unanimously on Feb. 8, after design revisions and a reduction to 41 units. The Planning and Development Committee approved it unanimously on April 4, 2006, after the number of units was reduced to 40. The City Council gave final approval to the project on April 11, 2006.
  • Prairie Place Residences This project, at 2607-2617 Prairie Ave., started through the approval process with a public notice published Feb. 16 that called for 13 condominium apartments and 1,200 square feet of commercial space. The Plan Commission, after two public hearings, voted 5 – 0 to approve the project on March 15. The City Council gave preliminary approval to the project April 11 and final approval on April 24.
  • Darrow Corners This project on the northwest corner of Church Street and Darrow Avenue started through the approval process with a public notice published Oct. 20, 2005, that called for 27 rental apartment units with an option to purchase after 15 years. The Plan Commission held four hearings on it and voted 5 – 0 with two abstentions to recommend rejection of the project on March 8. The Planning and Development Committee appointed a special subcommittee April 11 that failed to work out a compromise on the project and the City Council rejected the proposal 5 – 4 on May 22.
  • Carroll Place After a community meeting Oct. 5, 2005, this project at 1881 Oak Ave. started through the approval process with a public notice published Oct. 11, 2005, that called for 175 condominium units, 7,000 square feet of commercial space and 175 enclosed parking spaces in an 18 story building. After four hearings and a change in architects the Plan Commission voted against the project 5 – 3 on May 10. The project design the commission rejected called for 165 condo units, parking for 257 cars and 1,200 square feet of retail space on 18 floors. The City Council’s Planning and Development Committee is scheduled to review the proposal tonight.
  • Kendall College Redevelopment of this property at 2408 Orrington Ave. has been in the works since at least mid-2003 when residents asked that it be rezoned R1. The original public notice for this project called for 36 townhouses and 16 single family homes with 113 parking spaces. After two hearings, the Plan Commission rejected that proposal on April 13, 2005. The City Council directed the Plan Commission on July 11, 2005, to reconsider a revised proposal for the site. A public notice for the revised proposal for redeveloping the Kendall site called for 16 single-family homes and 10 townhouse units. That proposal was further revised in February to cut out two of the townhouse units. After five hearings the Plan Commission cast a preliminary vote 4 – 1 to reject the proposal on May 31. It is scheduled to take a formal vote on the project Wednesday.
  • Optima Promenade This project started through the approval process with a public notice published Jan. 19 that called for building 175 condominum units, 9,450 feet of retail space, 30,000 square feet of office space, and 340 off-street parking spaces in a building 185 feet tall. After five public hearings the Plan Commission cast a preliminary vote 5 – 0 to reject the proposal on May 31, but with indications that commissioners would approve a plan with somewhat less height and some additional revisions. The commission is scheduled to take a formal vote on the project Wednesday.

Here’s the track record for development projects that came up for a final City Council vote in 2005:

  • Three Crowns Park The public notice for the expansion of this retirement community at 2320 Pioneer Rd. called for 224 apartment units and 138 parking spaces in buildings up to 4.5 stories tall. After three public hearings the Plan Commission approved the project on an 8 – 0 vote on Feb. 9, 2005. The City Council approved the project with 122 units and 120 parking spaces on April 12, 2005.
  • 1800 Ridge Ave. The public notice for this project called for 34 condominium units and the addition of two more floors to the existing two story building. The proposal called for 53 parking spaces, the number required by the zoning ordinance. The Plan Commission approved the project 8 – 0 on Jan. 12, 2005. The proposal received a favorable hearing at the Planning and Development Committee and won final City Council approval on Feb. 28, 2005.
  • 1228 Emerson St. The public notice for this project called for building 60 condos in a seven-story building with 81 parking spaces on a site that had been vacant for 15 years. The Plan Commission approved the project on December 8, 2004, but recommended that its height be reduced. The City Council approved 50 condos with 87 parking spaces in a five-story building on April 12, 2005.
  • 645 Custer Ave. The public notice for this project published Jan. 20, 2005, called for four townhouse units and 15 condos with 28 off-street parking spaces. After four hearings the Plan Commission approved the project on June 8, 2005. The City Council approved it on July 25, 2005.
  • 1567 Maple Ave. This project was first proposed in a public notice on July 22, 2004 that described a 165-unit building 220 feet tall with 258 parking spaces and 6,378 square feet of retail space. The Plan Commission voted against it 9 – 0 saying it was too tall and too dense and with some members objecting to the traditional architectural style. The City Council asked the commission to hold new hearings on a revised proposal from the developer. Notice for those hearings was published on April 21, 2005. The revised proposal called for 126 condo units, 210 parking spaces and 5,200 square feet of retail space in a 180.5-foot-tall building. After four hearings, the Plan Commission rejected the revised proposal Aug. 10, 2005, on a 5-2 vote. The City Council approved the project on Oct. 24, 2005, after the developer reduced the overal height of the building by reducing the ceiling heights on each floor.

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