City eyes waiver for old Legion building

3/30/2013

By The Telegram

By The Telegram

On Tuesday, the Garden City Commission will consider waiving zoning regulations that prohibit ground floor apartments in the central business district, which if approved, would clear a major hurdle for a proposed renovation of the old American Legion Building at 125 Pine St.

CCS Properties, LLC, owned by Carlos and Candace Gamino, submitted a proposal that was accepted by the city commission last fall to renovate the old building into several high-end apartments. The issue then went through the planning commission to address the property's zoning.

Due to its split-level design, the American Legion building doesn't fit well under existing central business district zoning. The planning commission is not in favor of changing zoning ordinances to allow ground floor apartments downtown because of the potential impact on the character of the area if other building owners wanted to do the same.

Last month, a divided city commission voted 3-2 to not change zoning ordinances, but indicated the developers could ask for a waiver.

Normally, the waiver request would first go through the planning commission, but City Manager Matt Allen decided to expedite the process by putting the question directly to the city commission on Tuesday, a decision that rankled some planning commission members who felt slighted by the bypass.

Approval of the waiver may also address a parking issue with the property.

Typically, apartment zoning rules require a certain number of dedicated parking spaces based on the number of apartments.

The waiver would eliminate parking requirements since they are not a part of C-3 district requirements.

If the waiver is denied, the city may decide to ask for a new round of proposals to do something with the building.

The city commission meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the commission chambers on the second floor of the City Administrative Center, 301 N. Eighth St.

Other items on the agenda include a resolution to set a hearing about a potential building condemnation at 705 Taylor Ave; a lease/purchase agreement for police vehicles and cemetery equipment; a request to repeal a section of city code that prohibits drive-up windows at liquor stores; approval of commission goals set on Feb. 28; applications for street project funding from Kansas Department of Transportation programs; appointing city delegates for a Kansas Municipal Utilities annual meeting; and discussion of adjusting the Bellevue Mausoleum agreement to accommodate unforeseen expenses incurred by the owner, and to consider the addition of another project.

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