A lengthy discussion of a multi-use proposal for the so-called Roos property on Harrison Avenue ended in frustration for the developers Monday night after the planning commission again voted to continue debating the project at its next meeting.
Developer Alex Troyanovsky and his team of engineers have been reviewing plans for a massive rehabilitation of the vacant industrial site at 7329 Harrison St. for months. After agreeing to scale down the density of the largely residential rehab, consultants for Troyanovsky said they were looking for a vote from the planning commission at the March 5 meeting.
“We’re not looking to slide in under any requirements,” architect and consultant John Schiess said, pleading with the commission. “That’s not what we’re looking to do. We’re just looking to move forward.”
Lead architect Victor Dzickiewicz said he hoped to break ground in the early spring.
Instead, last minute concerns with drainage and fire safety left commission members feeling uneasy, and any action that might have been taken was deferred.
Planning commission members are considering a plan to install 70 condo units in the dilapidated Roos property. Another 28 townhouses would be erected on the 2.45-acre site. On the first floor of the Roos property several commercial spaces would also be made available.
Red flags raised by Fire Chief Steve Glinke caught the eye of several planning commission members who questioned why the strongly worded warnings were not communicated earlier. Board member Tim Condon said he didn’t doubt the merits of Glinke’s report on the project, but said the deficiencies highlighted aren’t new to the project. He turned to village staff members for an explanation of the risks in having dead-ends within the project’s traffic flow.
“Did the chief say this is making his job difficult, or did he say this is making his job impossible,” Condon asked.
At issue is whether all of the fire department’s emergency vehicles can easily access every unit in the proposed development. Primarily, the southwest corner of the lot provides a narrow roadway with only one access point. The department’s largest vehicle, a 45-foot fire truck, would not be able to negotiate the turn, according to the board’s discussion.
Condon’s colleague, Martin Tellalian also was troubled by the fire chief’s statements and suggested the issues all tie into the density of the project, which he said is still a bit much.
“If it’s true that they can only do it with 28 townhouses … then it’s not in our best interest to see this project go through,” Tellalian said “Do we want to continue to encourage the developer … or do we say right now that this should not go forward?”
Despite the misgivings, several planning commission members said they like the vision of the proposal and agree that saving the Roos property is worthwhile. A handful of residents addressed the board to speak in favor of the development.
“The pros I see so far outweigh the one minor con,” planning commission member William Kirchner said in reference to the fire safety issue. Kirchner reminded board members that every unit will be outfitted with a sprinkler system.
Whatever judgment the planning commission makes on the project, its opinion is strictly advisory and the village council has the final say. At the Feb. 26 council meeting, the development team presented an overview of the project in anticipation of a more detailed discussion in the near future.
“I expected to move forward,” Dzickiewicz, the lead designer on the project, said following Monday’s meeting.