The Auburn Planning Commission will take up the issue of academic detached dwelling units once again when it considers an amendment to the zoning ordinance at its meeting tonight.
At the behest of City Councilman Kelley Griswold, who lives in the North College Historic District, the City Council unanimously voted at its June 4 meeting to send the amendment to the Planning Commission for its consideration.
The amendment would make academic detached dwelling units "prohibited entirely in the North College Historic District and on parcels abutting the District," according to meeting materials.
Longtime Planning Commissioner Warren McCord objected to the proposed amendment as written at Monday's Planning Commission packet meeting.
"This is giving favoritism to properties within a zone or putting some restrictions on some properties based on their location within a zone without any consideration of each of the projects on their own merits. So my concern is this is arbitrary. That's why we have created performance standards."
McCord suggested a compromise, where ADDUs would be prohibited on properties within the historic district, but be conditional on those abutting the district, where the commission and council could gauge whether proposed projects were compatible with surrounding properties.
Griswold, who attended the packet meeting, said afterwards that he would have no problem with ADDUs being conditional for abutting parcels as long as they were prohibited outright within the historic district.
Griswold first proposed the amendment when the City Council adopted the ADDU ordinance at its first meeting in early April, but it was not included after shouts of protest came from developers in the audience who said it had not been vetted by the Planning Department or public.
The concern about ADDUs on parcels zoned RDD within or abutting the historic district would likely not have come up if the City Council followed the Planning Commission's recommendations, which called for ADDUs to be conditional on parcels zoned RDD. At its April meeting, the City Council approved making ADDUs permitted by right in RDD east of Donahue Drive. The council also went against the commission's recommendation that ADDUs be prohibited in the Neighborhood Redevelopment District, which includes some properties abutting the historic district along Cecil Lane, when they voted to make ADDUs conditional. The Planning Commission originally recommended that ADDUs only be permitted by right in the city's three Urban Neighborhood Districts.
The Planning Commission will make its official recommendation today during its meeting at 5 p.m. in City Council Chambers on North Ross Street.
In meeting materials for the commission, more details on the planned student-housing project, 320 Magnolia, were included with site plans submitted for review by the city's Development Review Team.
The project, which will be on 3.57 acres boxed in by Magnolia and Genelda avenues and Thomas and Toomer streets, will be a 75-foot tall student-housing complex with ground floor commercial and five stories of residential above consisting of 201 units with 719 beds.