Architect Damian Farrell, hoping to assuage neighbors’ concerns about density on his 3.5-acre parcel on South Monroe Street, showed city council plans for a slightly smaller development at Monday’s council meeting.
In July, Farrell drew opposition from neighbors when he showed council plans for a 44-unit condominium development on the parcel. That was 14 units more than the city’s planning commission and city council had approved before the supplier of Farrell’s modular condominiums went out of business – bringing the development to a standstill.
At Monday’s meeting, Farrell explained that once he found a new manufacturer for his project, the market had changed.
“It left me without a manufacturer. When I received four new bids, it became apparent that because of the rising costs of materials and labor, the original scheme wasn’t financially viable,” Farrell said.
So, he worked out a deal to purchase a sliver of property from the neighboring church and increase the density of his development to 44.
Farrell acknowledged the density was a problem with neighbors. He said Monday that’s why he reduced the number of units to 38.
But a neighbor who collected the signatures of 177 residents opposed to the development did not signal any satisfaction with Farrell’s concession. James Dell’Orco told council that concerned residents didn’t believe the change warranted another meeting with the development.
“Mr. Farrell did reach out to me and said he would make an effort to scale back the plan. When he wrote to me by email that the plan had gone from 44 to 38 units, the consensus I arrived at with my neighbors is that it wasn’t a very significant change and that it didn’t warrant getting all of us together to meet with the developer,” Dell’Orco said.
Dell’Orco said neighbors want the density closer to what it was in the approved plan, as enumerated in Farrell’s purchase agreement with the city.
A few other neighbors spoke. One was unhappy with the parking provisions on the site, which has no on-street parking and a lot with 10-11 spaces. He suggested there’s room to stack two vehicles in the garage and driveway.
A previous concern was more traffic on Monroe. Farrell said the development would cause about 216 trips each day.
Mayor Brian Marl said council understands the passion and interest in the topic. Council will revisit the issue Oct. 14.