TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Sat, Sept. 21

LeMain Development stirs up controversy over limited parking, balconies, building height
Black Bear Diner, McDonalds designs to move forward

An artist rendering of the new Black Bear Diner. (Courtesy Image)

An artist rendering of the new Black Bear Diner. (Courtesy Image)

COTTONWOOD - The Planning and Zoning Commission met Monday to discuss building plans for the future Black Bear Diner, the McDonald's redesign, and zoning changes for the LeMain Development in Old Town.

Black Bear Diner

The commission unanimously approved the interior and exterior remodel designs for the future Black Bear Diner, located at 1041 S. SR 260, at the southeast corner of SR 260 and SR 89A. The property was formerly a Sizzler restaurant, which was shut down earlier this year. Applicant Steven Frome said the renovation would be a "complete gut."

McDonalds

The commission unanimously approved the interior and exterior remodel designs of the existing McDonalds, located at 1129 S. SR 260. Applicant Dan Filuk said the main change would be the addition of two drive-thru lanes, with traffic merging back into one lane at the window. The upgrades are slated to begin around April 2017, and the construction is expected to take 6-8 weeks. New signage will also be installed under a separate permit application by others, and will need to be approved by the commission.

LeMain Development

The hot topic of the evening centered on proposed plans for the LeMain Development, located at 920 N. Main St. and 925 Cactus St., specifically in regards to limited parking, balconies, and building height.

The applicant, Steve Biasini, requested a zone change and design review on two parcels from light commercial to Planned Area Development in order to develop vacant land for construction of one mixed-use residential/commercial building and one residential building in Old Town.

Background of the Project Proposal

According to the agenda from the commission, the intent is to provide an in-fill development by constructing one new multi-use building facing Main Street and one new multi-unit residential building facing Cactus Street. The lower level of the building located on Main Street will be used as commercial space, with the upper two floors being used a residential space. The building facing Cactus Street will have a ground level parking garage, with the upper two floors being used as residential space. The residential space will be sold as condominium-style housing.

The building will be modern, yet will still fit with the surrounding historic buildings lining both streets, according to the agenda from the commission. The project was presented to the Historic Preservation Commission in March 2016 with a positive reception from the commissioners.

The site consists of two parcels, both of which are currently vacant. The applicant would like to rezone the parcels to Planned Area Development and build two new buildings. The building on Main Street will be three stories, with approximately 2,200 sq. feet of commercial space on the lower floor, and three residential units on the two upper floors ranging from 1,100 sq. feet to 1,800 sq. feet.

The Cactus Street building will provide two residential floors situated above a ground level parking garage. A total of six residential units will be offered for sale in this building ranging from 950 to 1,400 sq. feet. Both buildings will be a maximum 35-feet in height. A total of nine residential units will be sold between the two buildings. The proposed use does not conflict with the city's general plan and does not require an amendment.

Parking

The Main Street building is located in the Cottonwood Historic District and is exempt from parking requirements as set forth in the city's zoning ordinance.

The Cactus Street building will require additional off-street parking spaces. The applicant is proposing a ground level parking garage below the two residential floors on this building, accommodating a maximum of eight off-street parking spaces.

It is the intent of the developer to provide reserved parking for eight of the nine residential units to be sold. One unit will be sold without a dedicated off-street parking space.

Site Development Standards

The Main Street building will also have a deck that projects 5-feet into the city's right-of-way above the sidewalk, providing some coverage over the first floor entry. There will also be decks on the second and third floors on the alley side, projecting 3-feet into the alley.

City Council will need to approve an encroachment agreement with the property owner to allow the Main Street building decks to overhang above the city right-of-way.

Discussions

It was voiced by many at the meeting that parking was already a concern in Old Town. It also was mentioned that residents living in one of the condos could have more than one car, which will further put stress on the limited parking available on Main Street.

Two residents from Cactus Street addressed the commission with their own concerns about the project, both focusing heavily on the parking issue. One resident added that his neighborhood was a quaint, single-story residential street, and found the 35-foot building to be inappropriate for the area. Another resident voiced her concerns about the safety of a balcony hanging over the sidewalk on Main Street.

"We have to consider the people who live on Cactus Street," said Chairman Kiyler. Kiyler said that Cactus Street is not designed for heavy parking, and that the fire department would have a hard time getting through if there was parking on both sides of the street.

Two-part motion

At the end of the discussions surrounding the LeMain Development, the commission made a two-part motion. The commission approved the zone change request for the project, with the stipulation that the decks overhanging the city's right-of-way are approved by City Council in the form of an encroachment agreement, slated for Sept.20. The design review for the project has been tabled until the next Planning and Zoning meeting Oct.17.

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