Concern was shown over parking planned for a 46-unit housing complex proposed for Monticello, but the city planning and zoning board voted 4-1 on Jan. 21 to recommend an amendment to permits that were approved for the project last year.
If the city council concurs, construction will begin in March or April and take 12 to 14 months to complete, according to developers.
MVAH Partners first came to the city council in January of 2019 for a conditional use permit for senior housing planned for the current Monticello Bowl site at 1412 N. Market St.
The permit, along with a variance allowing less parking than spelled out by zoning code, was approved.
At the more recent session, the PZB discussed an amendment allowing the complex to be open to those of all ages. MVAH spokesman Hume An said the change is aimed at making the project more amenable to federal funding after application requirements were changed.
“The physical design has not changed,” said An, noting it will still include 35 one-bedroom units and 11 two-bedroom ones. Also unchanged is a total of 58 parking places. That is less than the 92 required by local zoning law, but more than the 46 recommended by a parking study commissioned by MVAH.
He added that, while the new application procedures automatically deduct 14 points from total scores if a development targets seniors only, he felt the Monticello units would still attract tenants 55-years-old and up.
“We still plan on marketing this to a senior population as well to others, and we feel this would be a good candidate because it has that elevator so it is accessible. It also has building amenities that would be useful to a senior population,” An told the zoning board.
But some expressed concern that opening the project up to those of all ages could increase the parking requirements at a site where on-street parking is not possible, since it would be along Route 104.
“I am concerned about the parking. I feel like when we approved it the first time, we talked a lot about parking. I felt like if it were seniors in that spot, they likely wouldn't have more than one car,” said PZB member Amber Goebel, who voted “no” on the amended permit. “I feel like, when we open it up, I feel like the building might need more than one spot per unit.”
Adjacent property owner Steve Dunn of Over Dunn Service was afraid his wide open lot would attract overflow parking from the housing development, possibly blocking delivery vehicles.
“Our property is directly adjacent to it, and it's a wide open parking lot we use to move around large trailers with. People are going to want to park there, and we're going to not want them to park there,” said Dunn.
Steve Shreffler agreed, adding his belief there is “good reason” why zoning codes require two parking places per unit in housing projects.
An said the 58 spaces proposed is more than recommended by the parking study conducted by Sam Swartz International Parking and Traffic Consultancy, which, based on transportation engineer guidelines, estimated 46 spaces would be needed at “peak capacity.” He added that a majority of the units are one bedroom ones.
The MVAH spokesman also noted that there would be two full-time employees on site once it opens, who could monitor parking issues.
After discussion, PZB members voted to recommend approval of the amendment to the city council, which will consider it on Jan. 27.
If developed, the housing would be restricted to those below a certain income level, which An says is generally 60 percent of the median income for that area.
The project would generate about 30 to 40 temporary jobs during construction, with the two permanent jobs after completion. One bedroom units would total around 600 square feet, with two bedroom floor plans of about 900 square feet.
MVAH is also pursuing construction funding from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which funnels federal funding to state housing projects.