Parking stalls Wienerstube talks
A proposal to redevelop the Wienerstube building got parked at the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday night. Commissioners focused on minimal parking spaces as one of their concerns about the proposed redevelopment at the corner of Spring Street and Hyman Avenue.City planner Jessica Garrow told the commission the proposal from the applicants, 633 Spring II LLC, meets and exceeds the code requirements. But city staff had concerns about the “massing” of the building, which would occupy the current Wienerstube site and the adjacent parking lot. It would be two stories on the corner and three everywhere else. The development would include commercial space on the ground floor, including a section for the Wienerstube restaurant; commercial and office space on the second floor facing Hyman Avenue; 12 affordable housing units making up a split-level second floor facing the alley, offering views of Ajax; and six free-market units on the third floor.In response to city staff’s massing concerns, developers used setbacks and a blend of historic and contemporary design styles to help break up the facade of the structure, giving it the appearance of several buildings.Developers proposed paying cash in lieu of providing all the required parking and pedestrian amenities on-site, as they are permitted to do under the codes, but that was a sticking point for the commissioners.The project calls for only 14 parking spaces to replace the current parking, including the private lot that will be filled in.”That, to me, is a real black mark to this project,” said Commissioner Jasmine Tygre. “If there’s any project that should not be underparked, it’s this one.” Other developers have been allowed to pay cash in lieu of meeting parking requirements (which this development also proposes), but Tygre said that in those cases, parking wouldn’t have been feasible on the lots.Commissioner Ruth Kruger liked the overall design of the building, but was the most vocal about the parking issue, as well as the claim that the building would be more energy-efficient than required. She asked for more information about how that could be verified once the building was constructed.The development would far exceed the city’s requirements to house the employees the project is expected to generate. The city mandates 60 percent mitigation, but the 12 proposed units would accommodate 100 percent of the anticipated employees.Tygre and Kruger expressed some frustration with the code they’re required to use to evaluate the project. The developers submitted their application before City Council enacted the current building moratorium, so it must be reviewed under infill codes. “We have tried to design a project that responds to the code,” said Stan Clauson, whose planning firm represents the applicants.Despite frustrations with the code, Tygre conceded that that isn’t the developers’ problem, but that it did make it difficult to give direction on how to modify the plans.Clauson, who reminded the commission that the project meets and exceeds the codes, agreed to take the commission’s problems back to developers.The plan will come before the commission again Nov. 7.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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