Planning Commission postpones decision to rebuild Mission Mall

Hunan House and other tenants of the Mission Mall destroyed in a fire over the summer will be waiting until 2013 for a new building to be approved and constructed.

The Mount Pleasant Planning Commission voted to postpone action on the redevelopment of the Mission Mall property, 2157 S. Mission St., at its meeting Thursday night.

LaBelle Limited Partnership leased the space in the former Mission Mall to the tenants and asked for a Special Use Permit to allow the construction of a 7,315 square foot retail building within the Mission Redevelopment Overlay Zone.

However, commissioners did not feel comfortable approving the plan presented Thursday because of numerous variances requested and unresolved questions.

“I don’t have a plan. I have bits and pieces of a plan that keeps coming in,” Chairman Peter Orlik said. “I can’t support this.”

In August, a fire destroyed the building leased by Hunan House, MetroPCS, Central Barbershop and Advance employment.

The building was previously L-shaped but the new design proposed a rectangular building facing Mission Street. Brandon LaBelle said this option was more aesthetically pleasing and said working with the small lot size has been difficult.

“It’s a tough site, it’s very unique and very small,” LaBelle said. “It’s very challenging.”

Part of the Mission Redevelopment Overlay specifications encourage parking to be located behind the building, but because of the limited space, LaBelle would like to keep parking in front of the building as it was before the fire.

LaBelle also wanted waivers for a reduction in the landscaped greenbelt along Mission Street from 10 feet to 5.5 feet and a reduction in the required parking spaces from 43 to 30. This number of spaces is comparable to the less than 40 parking spaces that were formerly on the property.

While some commissioners were concerned with parking, Commissioner Allison Quast said that wasn’t an issue for her.

“I don’t perceive parking as being the issue, I perceive us granting the Mission Street Overlay (variance) and bringing the building farther back, which is opposite of what the overlay plans requires,” Quast said. “It makes me uncomfortable.”

LaBelle wants to use the existing driveway approach, but the Access Management Plan calls for the closure of this driveway and consolidation with the Isabella Bank driveway to the north. However, the bank driveway is a one-way entrance and facilitates movement around their drive-through.

“It’s really important to try when we have these opportunities, especially when we’re talking about redevelopment on a now vacant parcel, to try and get those cross connections happening," said Jeff Gray, director of planning and community development. "... so we aren’t in situations where a person who has lunch here but has to go out and make a trip on to Mission Street to get to the ATM or make a trip out when they could use a cross connection and get to the shopping center and then get to the traffic light on Broomfield and make a safer transition out of the properties,”

The LaBelle proposal included decorative fencing, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, vehicle cross connection, improved building appearance and using durable building materials.

The postponement will allow LaBelle Limited Partnership to re-evaluate and come back to the commission after hearing its suggestions.

“We have to postpone this until we have a better plan that makes more sense,” Orlik said.


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