The proposed 23-unit condominium project on Bonnie Cove Avenue and Gladstone Street sparked debate during Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting on whether the project would be appropriate addition on the long vacant lot.
City staff initially recommended the commission to deny the Olson Company’s request for zone changes, stating that the project did not “complement existing development in terms of scale and character,” nor did it provide a satisfactory plan for current vacant and unused lots on the property. The plan includes the option of 30 additional units in the future.
The 1,300 to 1,500 square-foot, two-story detached condominiums were estimated to sell in the upper $300,000 range to the lower $400,000 range.
But many nearby residents spoke during Tuesday’s public comment period in support of the project, insisting that a residential project would be more favorable compared to the three-story medical facility expansion proposed in 2007.
Erica Landman, who was involved in the push to prevent the 2007 project from materializing, praised the Olson Company’s outreach to nearby residents.
“Yes there’s 23 condos, but I would take that any day over a 48-foot building with the option of going 80 feet tall,” said Landman.
A representative with the Olson Company said that 104 signatures in support of the plan were collected from nearby residents.
However, not everyone was supportive of new condominiums. Residents and property owners raised concerns that the project would congest parking and increase traffic. Others believed that adding more condominiums in the city would decrease property values.
“We’ve got condos and apartments coming out of ears,” said property owner Madeline Webb. “We are developing a class of people who are happy to stay in a condo. Do any of you all live in a 1400-square-foot place with four bedrooms? That’s an awfully small place and it tends to be a low-income area.”
The three present planning commissioners – Cliff Hamlow, Eric Duyshart and Joseph Battaglia – said the project had potential and believed that it deserved consideration from the two absent commissioners – Michael Matthews and Andrew Jared.
“These are single family detached homes,” said Battaglia. “Granted that they are on smaller lots, they do create from what I’ve seen in this area and in other areas also, nice, clean communities because they have an HOA and they have invested people. I have a hard time turning it down at this point.”
The public hearing was moved to the April 2 Planning Commission meeting.