Help may be coming soon to solve city housing issues

When Wayland area residents are polled about what the greatest need is in the community, the most common response very likely is residential housing.

After Tuesday night’s City Planning Commission meeting, they have good reason to believe help is on the way.

The commission handled three requests on behalf of residential development and gave the green light to all of them. Two were recommended in concept to the City Council and the other, the return of Wayland Family Dentistry to residential, appears to be headed for approval as early as later this month.

Planning Commission members held public hearings on two massive and ambitious projects. One is a 144-unit apartment complex near the corner of Sycamore and Commerce streets. The other is a 53-unit single-family subdivision just to the north of 133rd Avenue on the south edge of the city.

Realtor Brian Silvernail appeared on behalf of his partner, Zachary Wilson, to provide details of the proposed apartment project. The property has been zoned Planned Enterprise Commercial with a small area for industrial. Silvernail and Wilson are asking for Planned Unit Development (PUD) for single-family residential.

Silvernail said, the six-buildings, 144-unit complex will be intended as “good, solid working apartments… we see a continued market for this (kind of housing) here.”

He said the complex will have garden style rather than townhouse style apartments.

City Manager Josh Eggleston said the project will extend Commerce Street near the intersection with Sycamore, and noted it’s very close to Baker Elementary School.

Zoning Administrator Lori Castello of Professional Code Inspections said the City Council will receive the recommendation, but site plan approval for the project is still needed.

The 133rd Avenue project had a little tougher sledding because it is likely to cause increased traffic in the Wildflower Drive and Court and Willow Run subdivisions just to the north, not far from the high school and middle school.

Matt Cole, engineer representing the developer, said the request is for preliminary plat review for two parcels on 27 acres. They seek rezoning from R-A to R-1 single-family residential to handle 53 houses.

But Cole acknowledged that down the road there are plans to connect to Willow Run and Wildflower Drives.

Debbie and Norm Taylor objected to the possibility of increased traffic in an area loaded with children and insisted residents should use 133rd Avenue instead for ingress and egress.

Carol Harwood concurred essentially for the same reason and Tonya Lyons noted there are 56 houses along Wildflower Drive and Court.

Steve Kerber said there are about 350 daily vehicle trips already in the Wildflower and Willow Run areas and connection with the new subdivision would create new and dangerous headaches.

Plan Commission Chairman J.D. Gonzales said, “I do have some of the same concerns about traffic as well. It will be a concern. I will be bringing this up as we move along.”

Castello reminded everyone that the commission was merely recommending the concept of the project.

Also during the evening, the commission had no trouble recommending returning the former Wayland Family Dentistry building at 404 W. Superior St. to its former residential zoning. It had been zoned for office since the mid-1980s when Dr. Carol Elve used it for her dentistry practice. Drs. Elizabeth and Scott Robinson bought it when Elve retired and left the facility intact for low-income patients when they moved out to a new practice on Reno Drive.

It is believed the rezoning will help the Robinsons to finally sell the building, which is on the edge of the city’s downtown district.


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