LEXINGTON — The Lexington Lofts apartment complex is back on the docket despite being voted down by the council in November.
The Planning and Zoning Commission discussed revised plans submitted by Norhart at its Jan. 15 meeting.
The commission previously recommended approval of the project to the City Council, however, upon arriving to council, the project was met with resistance from Councilor John Hughes who expressed concern over the project’s proposed height of five stories and what he deemed as inadequate setbacks.
With only four councilors serving and a city code that required a super majority (four out of five council members) to pass, the project failed to gain council’s approval with a vote of 3-1. The project was instead sent back to the Planning and Zoning commission in hopes the commission could work with the developer to address concerns.
In the time it took for Norhart to revise its plans and present them to the Planning Commission, the council undertook a change in the city’s code regarding zoning changes. Under city code, zoning changes only require a simple majority for approval instead of the previously required super majority.
The changes made by council did not go unnoticed by the Planning and Zoning Commission. In fact, Chairperson Mark VanderBloomer acknowledged the change made by council and expressed his desire for the commission to take its time, noting that, whatever they approved would most likely be approved by council.
Norhart President, Mike Kaeding, presented three different revsed plans for the development at the meeting. One of the revisions was intended to address Councilor Hughes’ concerns, which consisted of a four-story building with increased setbacks.
it known, during the review process, that Norhart’s preference was for a version that maintained the original plans for five stories but that called for a modest increase in setbacks.
During the commission’s review process Councilor Hughes, who sits on the commission as a representative of council, made it known that his concerns and objections still remained strong. “You are throwing out your zoning ordinances altogether by looking at five stories. That’s why we have zoning ordinances,” he said.
The revised plans that were meant to address Hughes’ concerns about height and setbacks received a fair amount of attention from the commission, however, ultimately three of the five commissioners didn’t object to the project’s proposed height and approved the revised plans that included only a minor increase in setbacks with a 3-2 vote.
The revised plans will now come before the City Council on Feb.6. With the new rules in place that require a simple majority for approval, the project will likely be approved.
Kaeding reviewed all of the revised plans with the commission making