Ridge/Cherry corner gets nod

Ridge/Cherry corner gets nod

The William Taylor Plaza, a development on the corner of Ridge Street and Cherry Avenue in the Fifeville neighborhood, got the initial favorable push from City Council last Monday. The developer, Southern Development, submitted an application to have the seven parcels that comprise the property rezoned to a Planned Unit Development (PUD).

The planned development on the corner between Ridge Street and Cherry Avenue got its first positive nod from City Council. The developer, Southern Development, applied to have its seven parcels rezoned to Planning Unit Development, giving the design the options of including the goals of all three areas: residential, commercial and mixed-use.

According to staff reports, PUD designation “encourages a better design that could incorporate the goals of the three zones,”—residential, commercial and mixed-use. Currently, the seven parcels have three different zoning districts with varied heights, uses and setback regulations.

Two of the seven parcels were bought by Southern Development last October, when City Council voted to authorize a land purchase and sale agreement for 521 and 529 Ridge St., two not contiguous lots.

Southern Development owns the other five surrounding parcels.  

The proposed plan includes seven structures with housing on Ridge Street and commercial space on Cherry Avenue, a plaza, an underground parking, storm water retention pond and an arboretum to preserve trees.
The applicant has proposed a maximum of 50 residential units and a maximum of 100,000 square-feet for the entire project.

Councilor Satyendra Huja gave the project high marks and voted for sending the rezoning to a second reading. “I think it’s a good project … it will be a good addition to the city,” he told Southern Development’s Charlie Armstrong.

Council David Brown agreed and commended both developer and architects on the project’s progress. “They put a lot of good work into this. It has come a long way and it’s a good thing.”

The project has been reviewed by both the City Planning Commission and the Board of Architectural Review (BAR). The developer has made the changes needed to satisfy both entities. The commission recommended to Council that the entire project, each of the seven parcels, be reviewed by the BAR. The parcels on Ridge Street are in a historic district, and therefore will be reviewed by the BAR automatically. Parcels on Cherry Avenue, however, are not, but under the commission’s recommendations will also be included in the board’s review.

“We have always been submitting the project to the BAR …  We have been submitting it as a whole and they have been viewing it as a whole and we have been addressing their comments as a whole,” said Armstrong.  At the latest BAR meeting, some members of the board were overwhelmingly in favor of the design and scope of the project.

Yet, at least one member of Council voiced dissent.

“I did oppose the selling of the city land for this development, and I continue to oppose it,” said Councilor Holly Edwards. In fact, Edwards was the only member who voted against the sale in the October 2008 vote.

The rezoning application will come in front of Council for a second reading in the following weeks.

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