City Commission votes to allow additional apartments on Mission Street
During the July 27 meeting, the Mount Pleasant City Commission discussed amending the city's zoning ordinance to authorize transitional zoning in the Mission Redevelopment Overlay Zone.
"The zone is intended to promote the redevelopment and rehabilitation of buildings and properties along and adjacent to Mission Street by allowing flexible and sensible zoning and design standards that measurably improve the city's tax base and overall property appearance," reads the ordinance.
The commission voted 3-2 in favor of the amendments, which would allow for the building of apartments next to single-family residences or the university in the Mission Overlay Zone.
Currently, the ordinance allows first-floor residential uses if they function as a transition between commercial and single-family dwellings. It does not take into consideration adjacent uses. The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the issue, but no one spoke at the meeting.
Commissioner Kathy Ling expressed her concerns with the amendments, speaking on what happens when multi-family residences are built next to single-family homes, which is common in the student-populated neighborhoods north of campus. She said she would vote "no."
"We need to determine when it is appropriate and establish guidelines," she said. "Given what we know, trying to deal with M-2 abutting R-3 makes me uncomfortable. We know the problems it creates."
Commissioner Joslin also expressed concerns about the language of the proposed amendments.
"I'm not sure about residential properties abutting Mission Street," he said. "I don't want to see Mission Street become a bunch of apartment complexes."
City Planner Jacob Kain explained the possible benefits of the amendments.
"It would improve the walkability and bike-ability of Mission," he said. "We aren't going to see residential buildings in the front of the street like Western Islands."
After the vote, City Manager Nancy Ridley said the commission could address concerns regarding the Mission Overlay Zone with the Planning Commission.
The commission also considered a request from The Bird Bar and Grill to replace the fencing outside of the bar's storefront. While the fence does not meet the city's height regulations at 36 inches high, the regulation passed after the fence was first built.
The new fence would be six feet high, and was passed because it has special circumstances. Ling outlined them, saying the bar is a place where alcohol is served and the city does not want alcohol being passed over the fence. The Bird also does not want customers sitting on the fence.
Commissioner Tony Kulick said he would vote "no" for the proposed fence because it is not a unique situation.
"I don't know how a spaced fence like that would keep people from passing alcohol through the fence," he said.
Despite Kulick's concern, the request was approved after a 4-1 vote.
The following was also discussed at the July 27 meeting:
- A proclamation welcoming student delegates from Mount Pleasant's sister city Okaya, Japan.
- A mini-grant was given to the Pheasant Run kids club for $500 to assist with the club's activities.
- A temporary traffic control order was announced, reminding residents that Main and Washington will be converted to two-way streets by Aug. 11.
- Listening Ear Crisis Center was recognized as a non-profit organization.