Plans for what was to be a 40-unit affordable housing apartment complex on Schoolhouse Lane are expected to be pared down to 33 units, a county official confirmed Tuesday, July 23. Other expected changes include moving a community center included as part of the complex further south on the site, away from neighbors to the north, and use of Craftsman-style design elements, according to Airlin Singewald.
The original plan called for building 40 two- and three-bedroom units on 2.46 acres of a 7.4-acre site, which is adjacent to the existing Self Help apartment complex of 24 units built in 1997. The plan also included dedicating vacant land, much of it steeply sloped, as permanent open space.
John Fowler of People’s Self-Help Housing, the project’s developers, was on hand at the July 17 North Coast Advisory Council meeting. He said that night’s discussion was “a concept review, to get the council’s input on design and architectural” suggestions. “We’re looking for you to give us any feedback on architecture, densities” and other aspects of the plan before Self-Help submits revised plans to the county for planning review. He said Self Help is “already working on a traffic study” for the project.
Singewald told the council that, “they’ll adjust their plans and resubmit them to the county, which will resubmit the project to the council. So this is definitely not the last time” NCAC will review the project plans.
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Fowler did get few comments, including specific criticism from council Chairwoman Claudia Harmon Worthen and some encouragement from council Vice Chairman Bruce Fosdike, who then moved to table the discussion until Self-Help submits the actual revised plans. The motion passed unanimously.
Harmon Worthen said the neighborhood already has a lot of children, with people coming home late at night and a lot of noise, and adding 33 more units to that confined area would make it worse. She told Fowler, “I’m asking you to reduce the amount of units at least, and reconsider putting it in that neighborhood at all.”
Fowler said the likely residents are an important asset to North Coast communities, providing workers for area hotels, restaurants, gardening and other services.
Fosdike praised Self-Help reps for apparently listening to and, perhaps, reacting to previous criticisms from the council.
He told Fowler that, compared to the previous plan, “you’re getting on the right path,” especially moving the community center location, “which will be helpful to the neighbors” Kathryn Clayton and Curtis Viets, who have been highly critical of the project and its effect on their property and driveway access.
Fosdike advised Self-Help to “watch your roofline, break it up. Listen to the traffic report about turnarounds (and suggestions about) spacing, the breakup of buildings.”