Plans to create affordable housing, a future residential project site and two commercial lots near the intersection of Viola Road and East Circle Drive would end six years of incremental changes to property owned by Hersch Hoaglan and Sally Book.
“I would like to see this thing go through, so we can get on with our lives,” Book recently told Rochester’s Planning and Zoning Commission, regarding a 9.3-acre development plan.
Book said concerns date back to 2013 and the city’s purchase of land for the fire station near Viola Road and East Circle Drive.
“When the city wanted to put the fire station in, we were more or less forced to sell 8 acres of out of the middle of our property,” she recently told the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
The later addition of a bike trail and retention ponds in the area left the couple with a divided piece of land east of their home.
“In 2014, we decided we didn’t want to keep the rest of it because now we are split in half,” she said.
With plans by Joseph Development to build a multi-family housing complex on 4.25 acres closest to East Circle Drive, the couple is seeking to define options for the remaining 5 acres in the divided parcels.
The plan, however, includes proposed commercial designation for two areas largely surrounded by the planned 76-unit apartment development, the fire station and a planned Kwik Trip on East Circle Drive, south of the Viola Road intersection.
While the proposed affordable housing complex is working to change the allowable use for its portion of the property, the two proposed commercial sites are zoned for single-family homes.
Ryan Schwickert, who is representing Joseph Development in the neighboring apartment project, said the developer supports changing those sites, especially since the location and size of the remaining land would limit uses for the property owner.
“They are worried that by having this a single-family designation, it might turn buyers off, thinking the city is opposed to commercial uses on those sites,” he said.
Planning and Zoning Commission member Tyler Despins suggested that worry isn’t valid and commercial use eventually could be part of the overall plan.
“I can see it making sense, but there is a process that needs to be followed,” he said.
Ryan Yetzer, a principal planner with the city’s Community Development Department, said the standard process calls for changing zoning before approving a development plan with a conflicting use.
He said approval of a development plan requires finding that the proposal is compliant to the land-use plan and zoning.
“Future commercial use is not compliant to the land-use-plan or zoning," he added.
The Planning and Zoning Commission ended up recommending the plan with the proposal to remove the commercial designation until it can be changed through the appropriate process. The council will consider that recommendation during its 7 p.m. meeting Monday in council chambers, following a public hearing.
The council is also slated to hold a variety of other public hearings on proposed developments, including:
• A final plat for the Stonewood Subdivision development, which would include 30 residential lots on 41 acres southwest of U.S. Highway 52, north of Thaddeus Road Southwest and east of 30th Street Southwest.
• A preliminary plat for the Hart Farm South Ninth development, proposing to create 25 lots on 10.18 acres of land sitting north of 40th Street Southwest and west of Starburst Drive Southwest.
• A conditional-use permit to build a six-story hotel on the northwest corner of the intersection of Fifth Avenue Northwest and Second Street Northwest.
• A conditional-use permit to build two multi-family residential buildings, containing a total of 15 residential units combined along the west side of 14th Avenue Southwest between Peace Garden Drive and Sixth Street.