Marion planning group considers senior-housing project



The Marion City Planning Commission will recommend the Marion City Council approve a $5.4 million preliminary and final plat for the construction of 14 senior housing units, along with the renovation of September II Apartments.

After more than 90 minutes of discussion April 24, the commission unanimously agreed to the project with four exceptions.

The first involves right-of-way. According to Chad Gormley, commission chair, one concession is to allow 45 feet with an additional 9 feet for utility easement instead of the subdivision regulations requiring a 66-foot right of way that is standard for urban density subdivisions.

The commission will also recommend allowing a front yard setback of 13 feet on the south side with 19 feet back of curb to front of building and 4 feet on the north side with 20 feet back of curb to front of building instead of the depth of the front yard being 25 feet.

A third exception involved rezoning the property located across from the Marion High School football field to high density residential. It currently is a low density residential zone, Varenhorst said.

?Accepting this plat is granted with the understanding that the property would be rezoned to meet all other criteria of the subdivision regulations,? he said.

The fourth exception was waiving the requirement for conditional use permits on additional buildings.

Known as Homestead Victory Plaza Addition, the new structures would be located across from Marion High School?s football field.

City Administrator Doug Kjellin said more specifically the property north of the old U.S. Department of Agriculture building, that goes along a straight line to the west to the cemetery, then north, following the hedgerow.

?This is big (for Marion),? Kjellin said following the meeting.

The developer, Tom Bishop of Homestead Affordable Homes Inc., requested a letter of support for the project and a request for issuance of taxable bonds for a 10-year tax abatement on both projects.

Bishop also wanted Kjellin and the council to know that in no way would the city be responsible for any of the $5.4 million revenue bonds it would take to move forward.

During the meeting, Commissioner Paul White said he was not against the idea, but wanted to make sure everything was worded correctly.

Commissioner Ruth Herbel added that she too was willing to make concessions, but had some questions she wanted answered.

Margo Yates, also on the commission, said she didn?t have a problem with the right-of-way being narrower.

?It?s not going to be a through street,? she said.

Based on the rezoning of Homestead Victory Plaza, Marty Fredrickson, city zoning administrator, said a public hearing will be May 29.

The commission also tabled the review of Marion?s subdivision regulations until its next meeting.

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