Council Mulls Transit Village Zone Ordinance
The TOD-N ordinance would affect the north side of the street only, between McDonald’s to the east and Central Street to the west. The zone is within a quarter mile of the Netherwood train station and reflects tenets of transit-oriented development by allowing increased density of 75 units per acre and building heights up to five stories. Rules call for mixed use, commercial at street level and residential above. The parking ratio would be one space for each unit and one bike rack space as well.
Although no applications are on file, there has been talk for weeks of an Ohio firm being interested in the G.O. Keller property at South and Leland avenues. Omnipointe has sought a conceptual hearing by the Planning Board of its plans. Click here to learn more about Omnipointe.
On Monday, the council was asked to decide whether studio apartments should be included. Council members had no objections, but preferred ownership of residential units to rentals. Planning Director William Nierstedt also brought up a new issue, a Supreme Court decision that came down just last week regarding open space. The new zoning would allow a developer to pay for open space somewhere else in the city in lieu of providing it on site, but the court had ruled against such arrangements, Nierstedt said.
Councilman William Reid, who was appointed in January to replace Councilman Cory Storch as liaison to the Planning Board, assured members that planners had thoroughly examined all aspects of the zoning change. He said the change would create the “first of the transit-oriented districts” and that perhaps people who work in New York would choose to live there.
Storch said the city should not just look at “narrow strips,” but should look also across the street and at North Avenue. He said having the zoning changed before a developer filed plans “strips us of our elbow room” to negotiate terms. Storch called for more community input, saying ”I don’t want to go ahead with this.”
In public comment, Netherwood Neighbors Association President Tony Rucker spoke against the proposed changes.
“When we lower the bar so low they could crawl over it,” he said, there would be no way to say “no” to a developer.
The council agreed to put the ordinance up for a vote on first reading July 21, but it was unclear whether there would be enough votes to pass it. Click here to view or download the ordinance.