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updated: 1/29/2017 9:09 AM

Batavia plan panel gives thumbs-down to One North Washington plan

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  • The former First Baptist Church in Batavia would be torn down as part of a $43 million plan to build apartments, a parking garage and stores at Wilson Street and Washington Avenue. The Batavia Plan Commission has recommended rejecting the plan.

    The former First Baptist Church in Batavia would be torn down as part of a $43 million plan to build apartments, a parking garage and stores at Wilson Street and Washington Avenue. The Batavia Plan Commission has recommended rejecting the plan.
    Daily Herald file photo/2013

 
 

The Batavia City Council should not accept the plan for the proposed One North Washington Place development, according to the city's plan commission.

At least, not without some changes.

The commission voted 4-2 Wednesday to recommend denial of the plan, which requested deviations from city law about the building's height and how many parking spaces have to be provided.

The vote came after a public hearing that started Dec. 7 and continued to meetings Jan. 4 and Wednesday. Some residents and business people spoke against the proposal, according to minutes from the Dec. 7 and Jan. 4 meetings. Besides the height and the parking, they raised concerns about traffic congestion on Wilson Street.

Portions of the building could be up to 81 feet tall; Batavia's maximum in that area is 50 feet. The tallest part is at the bottom of a hill, on the western edge of the 2.2-acre site. It would range from six stories on the western edge to about 4 stories on the east.

It would include 186 apartments, space on the first floor for stores and offices, and a 350-space parking garage.

The parking garage has been controversial. Normally such a building would have to provide 402 spaces, according to city code.

"I believe the type of resident this project will attract won't need as much parking as people believe," Alderman Dan Chanzit said Friday.

The developer, Shodeen Inc., expects the building to attract single people, childless couples and empty-nesters.

The developer proposes to tear down an existing city parking deck, which has about 129 spaces. The new garage would be open to the public, but downtown residents would receive 200 permits to park in it overnight.

No date has been set for aldermen to discuss the matter. Scott Buening, director of community development, said it may be put on the Feb. 7 committee-of-the-whole agenda.

Plan Commission Chairman Thomas LaLonde could not be reached for comment.

"The commission's vote seems to mirror what I have heard from residents I represent and my own view of the Shodeen project. Therefore, I am inclined to accept the commission's recommendation," Alderman Kevin Botterman said Friday.

Alderman Marty Callahan said he is reserving judgment, and will see if the developer makes changes based on the commission's suggestions.

The project's cost has been estimated at $43 million. The city will supply the land for it, including razing the parking deck and the former First Baptist Church. The city would supply money upfront for constructing the parking garage by borrowing. The development would pay back that cost, either through property taxes collected in a special tax-increment financing fund or through a backup special service area assessment on the building.