City Council last night approved plans and a blight report for a multifamily project in the Rountree neighborhood where a development moratorium currently is in place.
Introduced at council’s Aug. 7 meeting, the plans for the project, at 1325 and 1329 E. Cherry St., call for the demolition of two current structures and the construction of two 12-unit buildings. Following that meeting, Butler, Rosenbury & Partners Inc. architect Geoffrey Butler, who represented Roza Homes LLC, shared a letter the developer penned to council members. According to the letter, the project would have a $301,252 tax abatement over 10 years.
“This is truly a case where the project will not be built but for the tax abatement,” the letter reads. “If it isn’t built, the property will stay underdeveloped for the foreseeable future.”
Last night, Councilman Richard Ollis expressed concerns about the potential overuse of blight and abatements.
“I’m conflicted on this. I will say it’s going to remove dilapidated homes in the area and the developer is proposing a very nice project,” Ollis said. “I’ll support it, reluctantly, but really feel strongly that we ought to work with staff to come up with a workable [blight] program.”
Built in 1905 and 1920, both of the old houses have sagging patios, rotting window frames and outdated gas heating systems, and they’re likely to contain lead-based paint.
The project was approved 5-3, with council members Mike Schilling, Craig Fishel and Kristi Fulnecky in opposition. Councilman Craig Hosmer was absent.
Roza Homes is sidestepping the Rountree neighborhood development moratorium because it does not require a lot combination or rezoning.
Council members also last night approved an amendment to a redevelopment plan submitted by the Beverly Lofts Corp.
The plan, originally approved in April, needed changes after developer Jason Murray was advised floor plans should be revised in order to receive state and federal historic preservation tax credits. Changes to the redevelopment plans at the corner of Cherry Street and Kimbrough Avenue mean the increase to as many as 50 units compared with the original 41.
The amendment passed 7-1, with Fishel in opposition.
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