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    13.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 08/02/2017  
Subject:    PC 17-20: Consider Use Flexibility for Density and Mix of Uses for 128 Unit Apartment Building, 3525 Coon Rapids Blvd.
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

INTRODUCTION
The applicant is requesting Council approval of Use Flexibility for density and mix of uses. The request is included as part of a site plan for a 128 unit apartment building along with 1,800 square feet of commercial/office space. The applicant has also submitted applications for corresponding preliminary plat, land use amendment and zone change.
DISCUSSION
Background

At their July 20th meeting, the Planning Commission unanimously approved a site plan for a 128 unit apartment building and 1,800 square feet of first floor commercial/office space at the former Pederson Floral property.  The site plan also includes three adjacent parcels. The Commission, as part of the site plan approval, also granted design and dimensional flexibility for the following:
  • Building Height
  • Number of Parking Spaces
  • Lot Coverage
  • Open Space
  • Lot Area
  • Building and Parking Setbacks
  • Minimum Finished Floor Area
The plan includes 105 enclosed parking spaces and 53 exterior spaces. The building is five stories high and includes a mix of studio, one and two bedroom apartments. The plan includes 69 one bedroom units, 19 studio units and 40 two bedroom units. The building's unique design, an opening in the center of the building, is a result of accommodating  an existing sanitary sewer line. The opening allows access to maintain the sewer line while allowing units above it. It also creates an opportunity for a unique focal point.

Use Flexibility

The applicant's proposal included a request for use flexibility to allow an increase in density over what is permitted and to allow a mix of commercial/office space. A condition of approval was Council approval of use flexibility.

Per Section 11-1003.16(3), the Planning Commission may recommend a use, a density of use, or a mix of uses different from what is allowed upon findings that:
  1. The modification significantly advances the intent of this Section;
  2. The modification is necessary to develop the property in an efficient, well organized way;
  3. The plan provides significant site amenities, buffers, and other elements to offset any potential harmful effects that could be caused by the use, and
  4. The use does not detract from uses in PORT districts.
Density

The applicant is proposing 128 units at a density of 47.7 units per acre. The River Rapids Overlay District has a maximum density of 7 unit per acre (19 units).
  1. Advances the intent of this Section: The density of 47.8 units per acre promotes a compact and vigorous development that takes advantage of the nearby Anoka Ramsey Community College, Mercy Hospital and associated medical office buildings. It is being developed with an eye towards students and faculty at the college and the medical staff at the hospital and other medical offices. It includes a well organized vehicular and pedestrian circulation pattern. The development is constructed of high quality materials and reflects innovative urban design.
  2. Develop the property in an efficient well organized way: The proposed density will allow for the redevelopment of vacant and underutilized property along Coon Rapids Boulevard.
  3. The plan provides significant site amenities, buffers, and other elements to offset any potential harmful effects that could be caused by the use: The plan includes outdoor amenities for both the adult and children population with a playground and patio that includes BBQ grills and outdoor seating. The outdoor spaces are located in the central portion of the site buffered from the street exposure. Additional screening and landscaping will  will buffer the the outdoor space and building from the adjacent residential uses.
  4. The use does not detract from uses in the PORT district:  The proposed density will help support existing uses in PORT Campus Square and PORT Wellness. It will provide additional housing for those that are associated with many of the principle uses in those PORTS, including Anoka Ramsey Community College and Mercy Hospital.
Mix of Uses

The applicant is also requesting use flexibility to allow for a mix of uses in the building. The applicant has included 1,800 square feet of commercial/office space in the building. The code does not allow for for a mix of uses, it only allows accessory retail shopping.
  1. Advance the intent of this Section: The proposed mix of uses will encourage compact, vigorous mixed use development by combining commercial an/or office uses in the same building as residential. The scale of the proposed uses are compatible with the proposed high density residential development. They will be supported by those residing in the apartments.
  2. Develop the property in an efficient well organized way: The mix of uses is at a scale that can be supported by the area residents. It makes good use of first floor space along Coon Rapids Boulevard.
  3. The plan provides significant site amenities, buffers, and other elements to offset any potential harmful effects that could be caused by the use: The proposed mix of uses should not adversely impact the development. Clients or customers using the commercial/office space will likely visit during the day when the residents are gone and more parking is available.
  4. The use does not detract from uses in the PORT district: The small scale commercial/office space will not adversely detract the PORT Campus Square or PORT Wellness. One possible tenant is a chiropractor that likes the proximity to the hospital.
Planning Commission Meeting

At the Planning Commission meeting held on July 20th, three residents spoke at the public hearing. The resident's comments were related to parking, traffic and site access; they did not discuss density or the mix of uses. One commissioner thought the project's density was too high. He could support some flexibility, but not the extent the applicant was requesting. Another commissioner felt the overall amount of flexibility being requested, including density and mix of uses, was high but was willing to support the project. The Commission voted unanimously (6:0) to recommend approval of the two requests for use flexibility. 

 
RECOMMENDATION
In Planning Case 17-20, the Planning Commission recommended the Council approve the request for Use Flexibility to allow a density of 47.7 units per acre and 1,800 square feet of  mixed commercial and office uses based on the following findings:

Density 

The density of 47.7 units per acre promotes a compact and vigorous development that takes advantage of the nearby Anoka Ramsey Community College and Mercy Hospital and associated medical office buildings. It is being developed with an eye towards students and faculty at the college and the medical staff at the hospital and other medical offices. It includes a well organized vehicular and pedestrian circulation pattern. The development is constructed of high quality materials and reflects innovative urban design. The proposed density will allow for the redevelopment of vacant and underutilized property along Coon Rapids Boulevard.  The plan includes outdoor amenities for both the adult and children population with a playground and patio that includes BBQ grills and outdoor seating. The outdoor spaces are located in the central portion of the site buffered from the street exposure. Additional screening and landscaping will  will buffer the the outdoor space and building from the adjacent residential uses. The proposed density will help support existing uses in PORT Campus Square and PORT Wellness. It will provide additional housing for those that are associated with the principle uses in those PORTS, including Anoka Ramsey Community College and Mercy Hospital.

Mix of Uses 

The applicant has included 1,800 square feet of commercial/office space in the building. The proposed mix of uses will encourage compact, vigorous mixed use development by combining commercial an/or office uses in the same building as residential. The scale of the proposed uses are compatible with the proposed high density residential development. They will be supported by those residing in the apartments.  The mix of uses is at a scale that can be supported by the area residents. It makes good use of first floor space along Coon Rapids Boulevard. The proposed mix of uses should not adversely impact the development. Clients or customers using the commercial/office space will likely visit during the day when the residents are gone and more parking is available. The small scale commercial/office space will not adversely detract the PORT Campus Square or PORT Wellness.



 

Attachments
Location Map
Development Plans
Project Narrative

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