After Planning Reaction, Woodstock Mixed-Use Condo Development Withdraws

38 condos in a planned mixed-use complex along Highway 92 in Woodstock have been withdrawn. Residents in the area and the Woodstock Planning Commission both fiercely opposed the decision. Before a planned City Council decision on April 22, Michelle Horstemeyer of South on Main, LLC/The JW Collection, withdrew the proposal.

At the crossroads of Woodpark Boulevard and Woodpark Place, the 2.6-acre property was to house a mixed-use development with residential and commercial areas. Two four-story structures comprising 8,000 square feet of ground level business space and 33 condominiums above were part of the design. Five bigger condo apartments with private garages were to be housed in two smaller two-story structures as well.

The project has several obstacles even with its creative use of space. At their meeting on April 11, the Woodstock Planning Commission unanimously recommended against the proposal, expressing serious concerns about how the development will fit with the area’s current plans and regulations. Residents and municipal planners agreed, pointing up differences between the specifications of the planned building and the general plan of the city as well as the downtown Local Centre Initiative (LCI) plan.

The project’s departure from the region’s predetermined goals—it is situated as a transitional location between the South on Main neighborhood and the busy Highway 92—was what alarmed the city. The neighborhood may be better served and the transition zone improved by a redesign that puts more of an emphasis on commercial usage, according to city staff.

Contentious was also the suggested rise in residential density from the starting 12 units per acre to 14.57 units per acre. The development would have needed a conditional use permit for this modification since the downtown property was less than five acres.

Particularly locals were against the expanded residential component in a zone set up primarily for business usage. There were also a lot of people bringing up possible problems with the way cars entered and left the property.

Notwithstanding these disappointments, Community Development Director Tracy Albers said it was likely that the applicant will come back with an updated plan in the future. The withdrawal, meantime, has stopped any immediate development plans, giving the community and developers some opportunity to reconsider and maybe agree on a proposal that strikes a balance between traffic management and commercial expansion with residential demands.

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This example emphasizes the complexity of urban development, where community desires and city planning objectives need to be carefully weighed against developers’ ideas for usefulness and expansion.

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