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A compromise for Chateau Circle?

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The site's ready and there are plenty of signs, but Rochester city officials say there's no recent action on the Chateau Circle development on 55th Street Northwest. The project got hung up when the developer asked to make changes in the original plan, which included a Walgreens store.

A proposed compromise seeks to bridge a gap between neighbors and developers near the intersection of Rochester's 55th Street and Villa Road Northwest.

Last week, neighbors and developers disputed the purpose of the special district created to guide development when Walgreens and other businesses planned populate the site.

Resident Sanna McKinzie said she bought Chateau Road home in 2015 expecting a special district would protect the property from being overshadowed by retail businesses. She worries changes sought by the district's primary developer, Chateau Circle LLC, will allow businesses to hamper the view from the home she shares with her husband, Peter Conner.

"The special district protects our neighborhood," she said.

Scott Moe, senior vice president of Launch Properties, sees things differently, noting the proposed changes to the special district already provide detailed design standards to protect the neighbors' view. He said the goal is to streamline the development process within acceptable guidelines.

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"The purpose of this long laborious process you've gone through is so that we don't have to go through this over and over again every time we bring a project to you," he told the council last week.

Monday, Council Member Nick Campion sought a compromise that might work to meet both goals by keeping some flexibility for developers while addressing neighbors' concerns.

"My sole goal is to increase compatibility with the neighborhood and clarity within the document," he told his fellow council members, noting he plans to meet with developers to address any potential concerns.

Changes in the latest document seek to ensure finished architecture covers all sides of the development, outline screening requirements, clarify buffer and fence guidelines, make sure lighted signs face away from the neighborhood and add images to help guide potential development.

Council members voiced appreciation for the draft, following a meeting that include multiple versions of the ordinance. They, however, noted other changes could be made next week, when the council must make a decision.

"I think we are trying to get to one version that we can all add our thoughts to," Council President Randy Staver said.

The public hearing on proposed special district changes continues during the council meeting at 7 p.m. March 6 in the city-county Government Center.

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