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Changes at developments frustrate Rochester council

The Rochester City Council's frustrations with the city's incentive and restricted development process continued Monday as the council approved amendments to three development projects it had previously approved.

Developer applicants and representatives requested amendments to the Nicholas apartments, the Flats on Fourth (formerly referred to as the Buckeye apartments) and a multifamily residential development at 211 11th Avenue Northwest by JLR Dwellings, LLC.

Incentive and restricted developments are held to a higher standard because they ask for city assistance or variances from the city's zoning and land use standards, pointed out council member Michael Wojcik at a Monday council meeting. When the council approves incentive and restricted developments, there is a standard clause in the agreements that states developers will construct the project as proposed in plans reviewed by the council.

Several of the amendments requested at the Nicholas apartments were for changes already constructed at the project that differed from approved plans. The changes arose from various miscommunications, according to staff and developer comments at Monday's meeting.

Wojcik said he was "terribly disappointed" by both the plans that were approved and the construction that had already taken place.


The council agreed to ask city planning staff to prepare a report on what constitutes a level of change from approved plans that would require the council's review for approval. Assistant Planning Director Dave Dunn said the department would prepare information for a future committee of the whole meeting.

The council approved the requested changes for each of the three projects.

Also at the meeting:

The council approved a land use plan amendment, zoning map amendment and general development plan for West Eighty, a proposed multifamily residential development by Sterling Real Estate Trust. The development site is west of Commercial Drive Southwest and north of 48th Street Southwest.

The West Eighty applications had received a recommendation for denial at the City Planning and Zoning Commission and were continued at the last council meeting. The council approved the three applications Monday with 10 conditions on the general development plan that addressed earlier city staff concerns.

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