ROCHESTER – A zoning change to make way for a 72-unit apartment building project on the southern outskirts of Country Club Manor received unanimous council approval, but also a nod to neighbors’ concerns.
“It’s a life changing situation for the people who live nearby,” Rochester City Council member Mark Bransford said Monday.
As a council member representing the neighborhood that includes the site, he said he understood opposition from First Street Northwest residents whose backyards are adjacent to the property, but also responded to his constituents who support the project.
Steve Fields, who is one of the neighbors whose property is connected to the site of the proposed three-story apartment building, told council he and others viewed the plan as prejudicial.
âThe size of the building does not match the surrounding neighborhood,â he said in a post shared by five other residents of Country Club Manor, who also highlighted concerns about traffic, potential flooding and lack of privacy related to the proposed building at the intersection of Country Club Road and 36th Avenue Northwest.
Brian Haack, Titan Development’s vice president of development – affordable housing, said the planned building size is necessary to meet the goal of providing affordable apartments to families earning 50% and 60% of the region’s median income, which is $ 51,500 to $ 61,800 per year for a family of four.
“For this to be economically feasible, we need to have the density,” he said of the plan to create 72 apartments on the 2.3-acre lot with the help of tax credits from the State.
He added that 75% of the apartments on offer will be two- or three-bedroom accommodation for families.
Council member Molly Dennis said the proposal addresses the need to develop more affordable housing in the city, but she expressed understanding of neighbors’ concerns.
âI don’t want it in my garden,â she said. “Nobody wants in their garden.”
Reverend Dan Doering of the People of Hope Lutheran Church, which sells the property to Titan, said the project was sought by the church congregation as a way to meet a specific need in the community.
âThere is absolutely an affordable housing crisis in Rochester,â he said, noting that many Rochester residents are struggling to pay their rent in the city.
Church member Annette Homburger said this was not a direction taken lightly by the congregation, noting that research began in 2019 and included a review of how the workforce is housing. artwork can affect property values ââand crime rates.
âWe’ve been with Country Club Manor since 1999 and we never forget we’re neighbors,â she said.
The board’s decision is not the last word on development.
With the zoning change, Titan Development will present plans to the city’s community development staff for review, which will require addressing stormwater issues, as well as landscaping and other requirements to provide an area. buffer between neighboring houses.
Jason Scrimshaw, a Kimley-Horn project manager who designed the project, said efforts have been made to address neighbors’ concerns and will continue.
âWe are very determined to work with the neighbors,â he said.
Fields and others said concerns persist as the zoning change would leave options open for further development if Project Titan fails.
Community development planner Emma Miller-Shindelar said zoning decisions are not based on a project, which leaves the site open to other qualified development.
“A zoning change cannot be conditioned,” she told council.
Doering, however, said the People of Hope congregation had placed conditions on the future sale of their additional property.
“We kind of have the final say on whether or not this sale ends,” he told the board. âWe are not interested in developing anything other than affordable housing around the corner from our property. “