The Village of Oregon Planning Commission is still not in favor of putting townhomes along Hwy. CC as part of the Bergamont development.
And that could sink the plan.
Despite the Village Board’s support for the idea – which administrator Mike Gracz said it had expressed in December – the commission’s approval would be required to make it happen.
That’s because the two lots that Fiduciary, which owns the property, wants to build on are zoned for commercial development in the comprehensive plan, which requires commission approval for amendments.
“Even if the Village Board … wants something approved, if the commission doesn’t approve it as part of the comp. plan, it can’t move forward,” Gracz told the commission.
The Feb. 1 discussion about the idea, four months after the commission first expressed skepticism, indicated approval was unlikely at this point. A third lot the developer wants to turn into townhomes, to the east of Bergamont Boulevard and north of Drumlin Drive, seemed to have a better chance at approval.
The plan would bring a total of 12 four-unit townhomes to the Bergamont development, with five of those along Hwy. CC and the other seven in the spot to the south.
But commissioners seemed not to be ready to give up on the Hwy. CC properties as commercial developments, even though Fiduciary claims they’ve been on the market since 2003 and received little to no interest for that type of development. Commissioner Scott Meier, a real estate agent, said he was not sure it was an “entirely accurate statement” that they’ve been on the market since 2003, as he couldn’t recall seeing them on real estate websites.
“I don’t think the premise here is necessarily correct,” Meier said. “I don’t think it’s had a fair shot at market value either.”
Meier’s information persuaded commissioner Patrick Molzahn, who had said during an October discussion on the idea that he was OK with townhomes in that spot, now to be “pretty lukewarm” about changing the zoning at this point.
After that initial discussion in October, Gracz brought the proposal to the Village Board in December to get their thoughts. Trustee Jeanne Carpenter, who sits on the Planning Commission, said board members “wanted to get some property tax revenue” out of the land, but would “respect the plan commission’s recommendation.”
Commissioner John Bieno said he understood why Fiduciary wanted to develop the property as townhomes, but he still opposed the idea.
“We have the benefit of time on our side,” Bieno said. “I still have not heard a good enough argument to give up on the prospect of putting some commercial property here.”
Gracz offered to have Fiduciary come to the next meeting to discuss the proposal, which the commission was open to but not asking for, commission chair Greg Schnelle said.
“If they feel they want to talk to us, fine, otherwise we’re not encouraging them to come here and convince us,” Schnelle said.
While the seven townhomes proposed to the south received far less discussion, Schnelle was also “uncomfortable” with those, as they would be next to single-family homes. While he said he was “open” to them, he still needs “some convincing.”