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City Council approves PUD zone, concept plan for 4-story apartment house on Spruce Street

       A proposal for a 48-unit apartment house at 22 N. Spruce St. received a decisive nod from City Council Feb. 23.
       The body agreed without a negative vote to change the half-acre property to a planned unit development (PUD) zone, allowing a 64-foot height limit and a break on parking requirements; and to approve a concept plan for a four-story structure with units sized from 450 to 950 square feet.
Looking southwest from Spruce Street while standing in Kiowa Street, this is the current view of the site approved for the four-story apartment complex at 22 N. Spruce St. Both buildings are vacant. A Dollar Store had most recently operated in the larger building a few years ago.
Westside Pioneer file photo
The plan was submitted on behalf of Challenger Homes, a local homebuilding company. Amenities will include a gym, a café and a patio.
       A development plan, providing more precise detail, will need to be submitted and approved by city staff before construction can occur.
       The apartment complex is bordered just to the west by an older neighborhood of mostly one-story single-family homes.
       Earlier in the process, there had been some neighborhood concern, particularly about parking. However, a traffic study done for Challenger showed that Spruce has plenty of available on-street space. Council did not dispute the recommendation of Michael Turisk, the city planner assigned to the project, that this should be sufficient, in addition to spaces provided on-site by the developer (including an underground parking garage).
       Supporting Turisk's view was City Transportation Manager Kathleen Krager. She opined that the complex will appeal to “millennials” (meaning the current younger generation), saying they use cars to a lesser degree than previous generations. “They want to live closer to urban areas,” she told council. “They're perfectly content to walk, bike or bus to work.”
       City Councilmember Jill Gaebler concurred, expressing the belief that this living style “will become more and more prevalent as more millennials choose this type of property.”
       The site currently has two vacant one-story buildings, one of which was home to a Dollar Store a few years ago. Both buildings are to be torn down.
       One person spoke in opposition at the meeting. She said the only people she's seen on bicycles in that area are the homeless and expressed concern that the building will get rundown before too long.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 3/2/16; Land: (Development Proposals)

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