Proposed private dorm on Samford Avenue

The Auburn City Council postponed considering a conditional use request for a private dormitory planned for Armstrong Street at the request of the developer, who has agreed to bring the project before the Downtown Design Review Committee in the coming weeks.

All City Council members except Ward 2 Councilman Kelley Griswold voted in favor of postponing consideration of the project.

The council previously tabled consideration of the project at its second meeting in October.

The project has drawn backlash within the community because of its proposed design. City staff comments relayed concerns that "the design of the development will inhibit its ability to blend in with its surroundings."

"In this instance, staff is not concerned about the use's compatibility with the community, Instead, staff is concerned that the design of the development will inhibit its ability to blend in with its surroundings," said Planning Department staff comments in meeting materials.

The project has also drawn opposition from residents who say it would negatively impact traffic and be out-of-scale in the neighborhood. 

The project, which falls under the use of private dormitory and is a conditional use in Urban Neighborhood–South, would replace a home located at 355 Armstrong St. on the northeast corner of Armstrong and Samford Avenue. 

The developer plans to bring the project before the Downtown Design Review Committee this month, Assistant City Manager Megan Crouch said at the council's agenda review meeting last Friday. She added that it is anticipated that the project will come before the committee twice. No date for the first DDRC review of the project has been set. 

The three-story project would include 18 beds on a 0.23-acre lot. The two outside units would consist of five-bedrooms, with the two interior units having four. 

The project is considered a private dormitory, although it could fall under the city's town home use if the floor plan was reconfigured. Private dormitories typically have no master bedroom, private bedrooms, each with a dedicated bathroom, and are found in four- and five-bedroom configurations. 

At the second City Council meeting in October, Planning Director Forrest Cotten said that the City Council has the ability to review a development's "neighborhood character," which includes architecture, size, scale and other elements, as part of a conditional use consideration.

The architect also previously spoke about the design, defending it and saying that he persuaded the developer to use brick and incorporated design elements, such as symmetry, inspired by the neighborhood and the home currently sitting the property. 

The project will next come before the City Council at its meeting on Dec. 3.

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