Street rezone brouhaha comes
back to life
�We didn�t want it then, we don�t want it now,� Adelia Street homeowner Jim Spenser told city council. �We thought it was over, I guess it�s not.�
At the February 23 city council meeting Spenser and a group of neighbors submitted a petition with 58 signatures asking council to rezone the area for single residences only. They specifically asked council to block the proposed Adelia Commons project, which would build ten fourplexes at the east end of Adelia Street.
While staff and council members agreed some parts of the city could be candidates for single-family housing only, the rules as they stand were the rules the Adelia Commons project had to play by. �In the future there may be some changes in zoning that comply with what you�re talking about,� said city manager Gary Tomsic. �To go back now and revisit the zoning doesn�t mean that project can�t move forward. The owners complied with the zone that now exists.� Tomsic said that zoning changes could be part of the city comprehensive plan review this year, but they would not take effect for more than a year.
The Oak Stone Group of Ferndale acquired the Adelia Commons property after previous developer Doug Connelly filed for bankruptcy. The two fourplexes Connelly put on the property in 1996 were never completed but Connelly had approval for a 10-lot subdivision, which could accommodate up to 40 units in fourplexes, according to current zoning. �This proposal is virtually the same: same subject property, exact same parameters,� said city planner Russell Nelson, though the new development would have to comply with new regulations for stormwater management.
In December 2003 the owners applied for a preliminary plat to revive the project and notification letters were sent to neighbors. During the month-long comment period the planning department received one phone call and three letters opposing the project. By the time the proposal came to a planning commission public hearing February 12 more people spoke out against it. �They were very vocal,� Nelson said. �They had some concerns for the community they feel this development would exacerbate.�
Opponents of the project primarily expressed concern with the increased traffic the subdivision would bring to their quiet streets � the city estimates the 40 units could mean 80 cars for residents. Orville Gordon suggested visitors cars parked on the street could block public safety vehicles and that higher population in the area would only exacerbate an existing problem with petty crimes, such as the current spree of mailbox-bashing. �We�ve got enough trouble as it is,� he said.
Nelson said Connelly had already paid most of the cost of upgrading Adelia Street, with other property owners responsible for the remainder, and further upgrades were not planned. A new cul-de-sac into the subdivision, built to city standards, would be part of the new developer�s responsibility but would become city property, as would all utility extensions. Buffer zones and planned open spaces should soften the impact of the new development. The planning commission closed public testimony at the end of their February 12 meeting and will likely make a final decision on the Adelia Commons development at their February 26 meeting. Spenser said if they approve the project, neighbors will consider legal action to stop it.