Planning commission approves Casa Loma addition


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Casa Loma apartments, located on Edgewood Drive, were approved for a permit to raze existing buildings and construct a 10-unit rooming dwelling for 39 occupants at the July 9 Mount Pleasant Planning Commission meeting.

The addition will feature 10 buildings with 39 additional parking spaces, which can be shared with adjacent dwellings. The current structures are one-level ranch-style buildings. The proposed renovation will make them two-story buildings with larger gathering areas. 

Olivieri Builders representative Joe Olivieri said the new dwellings will have three bedrooms and an additional room, proposed as a study.

Commissioner Susan Horgan expressed concern about tenants having an extra roommate stay in the proposed study room. Olivieri said they would not have this problem.

"We have maintenance people in there all the time," he said. "They would have a fine in their lease if they were caught and we would call code enforcement."

Casa Loma is part of the M-2 district, which consists of mostly student-occupied housing. City Planner Jacob Kain said the proposed use of the dwellings is for a registered student organization and the plan to renovate complies with all zoning requirements of that area. 

"It will also add a sidewalk on Edgewood," he said. 

Apartment Management Group, which owns Casa Loma and several other dwellings in Mount Pleasant, hopes the renovations will allow the company to slightly increase rent.

"We'll try to get more money," Olivieri said. "The study should be worth at least $10 more per month." 

The Planning Commission also approved an ordinance to change text involving special use criteria for churches. The former ordinance stated that the building must be at least 40 feet from any property line. The commission changed it so the church only has to be 40 feet from a side or rear property line when adjacent to a single or two-family dwelling.

"Staff thought (the former ordinance) was excessive," Kain said. 

The commission discussed a change in an ordinance regarding fences and walls on residential properties. The change would allow fences not more than six feet talk to be permitted on the sides of yards instead of only the rear. Fences up to four feet in height would be permitted in front yards as long as the fence had at least 50 percent visibility. The current ordinance caps front-yard fence height at three feet. 

Commissioner Keith Cotter said he doesn't like the look of tall fences on the sides of yards.

"It doesn't look that great to me," he said. "I would rather look at this on a case by case basis."

Commissioner Michael Kostrzewa echoed Cotter's concerns.

"The look gives you a funny feeling," he said. "Something about it is just unfriendly."

The commission postponed a motion while they find better examples of how the fences would look before changing the ordinance. 

The Planning Commission a couple other items during their meeting including:

  • An interior trash room instead of a dumpster enclosure for future tapas restaurant 120 South.
  • A public hearing set for Aug. 6 on the codification of the M-2 District

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About Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith is a super-senior at Central Michigan University. She comes from metro Detroit ...

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