Rochester urges developer to amend proposal for a gated community
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - A developer behind a proposed 220-unit housing complex in south Rochester is expected to drop its request to secure the property with gated entrances.
Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik confirmed early Thursday that the developer, Continental Properties of Menomonee Falls, Wis., will move forward with the project without gated access.
"The developer's asked us to come back and take a look at a similar plan without it," Wojcik said in a video posted to his personal blog. The city council is expected to discuss the amended proposal in two weeks.
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The City Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-4 last month against a plan to build the complex on about 34 acres of land near the Broadway Commons Shopping Center in south Rochester.
Gated residential communities do not currently exist in Rochester, and the city's comprehensive plan discourages them from being built.
Logan Tjossem, the city's zoning administrator, told commissioners that fenced-in communities can create social and economic segregation.
However, Continental insisted the company has gone into areas where gated communities previously did not exist, and received positive feedback.
Officially called the "Springs," the development would include 11 apartment buildings and one clubhouse. Each apartment would be two stories and have ground-level access to provide a "townhome feel," according to the proposal.
City staff is generally supportive of the project. Multi-family housing units, especially those at market-rate prices (compared to expensive downtown condos), are already in high demand as a result of the city's growth and changing demographics.
The Planning and Zoning Department recommended to the city council on Wednesday night that the project move forward, but only if 11 points of criteria are met.
Number two on the list was: "The city of Rochester is committed to building an inclusive community. Gated access to the development is not permitted.”
Derek Sullivan of the Post-Bulletin notes the council unanimously approved amendments to the property's land use and zoning district. However, members did not take up the general development plan because of a conflict over whether to allow gates.
The primary reason people move into gated communities is to escape problems in the city, while still maintaining close access to jobs, services and entertainment.
Across the U.S., more than 10 million housing units are in gated communities, where access is “secured with walls or fences,” according to the most recent census data.