City to hear old Legion waiver request

3/16/2013

By The Telegram

By The Telegram

The decision to have the Garden City commission hear a waiver request for the old American Legion Building renovation project at the April 2 city commission meeting instead of stopping by the planning commission first will be brought up at Tuesday's city council meeting.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, planning commission member Ken Rishel requested 30 minutes to address the commission about the issue.

Rishel doesn't like the waiver request bypassing the planning commission, and is concerned about the precedent that would be set allowing first-floor apartments in downtown commercial buildings.

Two weeks ago the city commission decided 3-2 to back the planning commission's recommendation to not amend the current zoning ordinance to allow ground floor apartments in the central business district.

The planning commission felt it was important to maintain the integrity of the downtown core area by not changing zoning and that the American Legion building project would do little to address the city's need for housing.

Carlos and Candace Gamino want to build a high-end apartment complex out of the former American Legion building at 125 Pine St. The two-story property would be renovated into either four three-bedroom, two bathroom apartments, or a combination of four two-bedroom and two one-bedroom apartments.

Due to its split-level design, the American Legion building doesn't fit well under existing central business district zoning. It is unclear which of the two floors would be considered the ground floor under zoning definitions.

The commission suggested the Gaminos could request a waiver of zoning requirements, starting with the planning commission, to allow the project to move forward.

After consulting with the planning department and the city's legal counsel, City Manager Matt Allen decided the waiver request ought to come directly to the city commission, arguing that the project has already been through the planning commission several times over the past few months and additional input at that level was unnecessary.

The city commission will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the commission meeting room on the second floor of the City Administration Center, 301 N. Eighth St.

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