Even after the votes were in, members of the planning commission continued to debate the merits of developer Alex Troyanovsky’s massive renovation project, but ultimately, the commission signed off on plans for the Roos property.
The approval granted at Monday’s meeting comes after a lengthy review process that scrutinized the proposal’s density, on-site parking, traffic flow and other facets perceived by some as likely to have an adverse impact on the neighborhood. Plans call for a mix of condos, townhouses and commercial space that will incorporate the long-vacant manufacturing facility at 7329 Harrison St. All told, there are 98 residential units expected to be constructed on the 2.45-acre site.
The planning commission’s approval of the planned unit development is strictly advisory and will be weighed by the village council when that body sees the proposal.
“We have a nice development that saves a historic part of Forest Park, and if we traded anything off, it was for that,” planning commission member Tim Condon said.
Condon voted with the majority to approve the design. Commission member Martin Tellalian, who is running for a seat on the village council, cast the lone vote against the project. Chairman Steve Bitter was absent from the April 2 meeting.
For several months now, Tellalian has expressed his frustration with the density of the project and would prefer that a handful of the 28 town homes be eliminated from the plan. The density of the project only exacerbates what Tellalian described as an unacceptable shortage of parking.
Each of the 28 townhouses has two parking spaces, which falls in line with the village’s code requirements. The 70 condominium units, however, have only 80 parking spaces that will be deeded to those residents. Within those condos are 130 bedrooms, Tellalian said, which works out to .61 parking spaces per bedroom.
By comparison, Tellalian argued the Madison Commons mixed-use development has .91 parking spaces per bedroom. Approving the plans will simply lower the threshold for future development, Tellalian said.
“It’s purely, simply not enough parking,” Tellalian said. “We’re going to make a problem over there. We’re going to make a problem with parking.”
Commission member William Kirchner said the Roos property’s proximity to rail transit makes it likely that residents there will take advantage of the service. He also reminded Tellalian that over the years, the village has seen plans that called for some 200 residential units at the site.
“You have been against this development from the start and you’ll be against it no matter what we do,” Kirchner said. “We have to agree to disagree.”
Several issues held over from a March 5 meeting on the proposal were resolved as a matter of course on Monday. Concerns with fire safety, soil tests and a property line on the north side of the development delayed a vote in March.
The lead architect on the project, Victor Dzickiewicz, said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting. Despite the sometimes rancorous debate among commission members, Dzickiewicz said the public has largely spoken in support of the development, and expects it will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
“We’re eager to break ground,” Dzickiewicz said.