Developers of the proposed Lexington Club neighborhood reduced the number of units in the planned project in revised plans presented to city leaders, but numerous residents opposed to the project were not swayed.
Those residents were further dismayed when the Planning and Development Committee voted 7-2 to approve the proposed design changes to . Aldermen Jo Krieger and Maureen Lewis cast the dissenting votes.
The proposed changes include the removal of 12 proposed row homes from the northeast corner of the property, reducing the number of units to 130. Additionally the developers proposed some improvements to the streets around the project area and repair sidewalks that border the project. The changes were in reaction to questions and concerns raised by committee members and members of the public at a February meeting, said Henry Stillwell, attorney for Lexington Homes, the project developers.
To help allay anticipated concerns over traffic conditions brought on by the construction and potential new residents, Stilwell said the developers also planned to give the city an additional $200,000 for any traffic developments necessary to the project when the development reaches 50 percent occupancy, which is about 60 units.
Numerous neighbors spoke out against the project, stressing concerns over increased traffic from construction and eventual residents. Neighbors also urged city officials to have the developers clean up the property, which is strewn with debris from the demolition of the building that housed Applied Composites.
Planning Committee Chairman Clifford Carrigan said he was concerned about the debris and hopes the developers will soon clean the property.
Neighbors also urged city officials to seek the $200,000 up front rather than wait for 50 percent occupancy.
“What if the project goes belly up?” one resident asked.
While residents were pleased to see the removal of the row houses, they also urged the Plan Committee to reject the revised plans until the number of town homes was reduced. The development currently has a ration of 3-1 of town homes to single family homes. Lexington Homes is proposing construction of 28 single-family detached units in the northeast part and another 102 attached units
Before developers begin construction they still have to determine if the project meets guidelines for funding by Tax Increment Financing due to the proposed changes. City Finance Director Chris Minick said staff is in the process of evaluating how the reduction of housing units would impact the revenue stream from the development and how that would affect any TIF involvement.
Prior to approving the amended plans, committee members said residents will still have plenty of time to voice concerns before the project reaches final approval, which could be by summer’s end.
That reassurance did not salve the disappointment of resident David Amundson, who has about the development multiple times.
With the city council comprised of the same members who make up the Planning and Development Committee, Amundson said he believes final approval for the project is all but done.
“We’ve sold our soul. They’ve placed profit over principle,” he said.