HARRISONBURG — City Council tabled a proposal for a six-story mixed-use building with residential and commercial space at its meeting Tuesday.
Kathy Hite, whose representative is Madison Lucy Realty LLC, sought to rezone two parcels and obtain three special-use permits for the project on Reservoir Street and Foley Road.
Prior to public hearings on the requests, Mayor Deanna Reed told the audience and council that Councilman George Hirschmann, who was absent, requested he be present for the vote.
Hite’s proposal calls to rezone 6.6 acres from medium density residential to high density residential at 2150, 2152, 2156 and 2158 Reservoir St. and 717 Foley Road.
One special-use permit would allow multifamily dwellings of more than 12 units per building. Another permit would allow for a multifamily building to be greater than four stories and/or 52 feet high.
The third special-use permit would allow retail stores and convenience shops, personal service establishments, restaurants, excluding drive-thrus, and business and professional offices.
The proposed building would have around 10,800 square feet of commercial and professional space on the first floor. The upper floors would feature five one-bedroom, five two-bedroom and 90 four-bedroom apartments along with a pool, gym, lounge, study room and bike storage, according to information submitted to the city by the applicant.
The applicant told the city it would not have more than 378 bedrooms, and there would be a 100-foot setback from the property line with the Woodland Subdivision.
Staff recommended approval of all four requests but recommended a condition on the permits prohibiting standalone, non-residential buildings.
Planning Commission unanimously recommended denial of three of the requests.
The commission opposed the rezoning request, the special-use permit request to allow more than 12 units per building and the special-use permit to allow a building more than four stories and/or 52 feet high.
The request the commission voted in favor of was for a special-use permit to allow for non-residential uses.
More than 10 people spoke during Tuesday’s hearing, all opposing the project.
Matthew Phillipi, a resident of Woodland Drive, questioned whether enough thought had been put into how the development would affect the surrounding neighborhoods, and said the effects on Foley Road have been ignored.
He said a better use of the property would be affordable housing.
Frank Gordon said his main concern is a lack of conditions on the development to protect residents of Foley Road.
“As a resident of Foley Road, I have to ask what is the worst that can happen here? It’s pretty grim,” he said.
Jeff Foster, who lives adjacent to the proposed development, said the oasis of the Woodland neighborhood needs to be preserved.
“We chose our property because it was sheltered and secluded from the city itself,” he said. “Nature too often gets paved over in the name of progress.”
Other residents voiced concern with increased traffic the new development would bring.
Plans show the development would have a one-way in from Reservoir Street and a one-way out onto Woodland Drive, which connects to the intersection of Reservoir Street and Lucy Drive.
Kurt Johnson said he was leaving his neighborhood on Woodland Drive Tuesday morning around 7:50 a.m. and sat through an entire light signal change because the intersection was clogged with cars.
“Even though the traffic impact analysis came back OK, we have a big problem there,” he said.