An amended development project proposal calling for 72 apartments was narrowly recommended for denial by members of the Northwest Civic Association board of trustees Nov. 1

The original proposal, which called for 84 units, was rejected by the trustees in October.

Board members also voted unanimously Nov. 1 to recommend against a variance and rezoning to permit 22 single-family attached dwelling units at 3270 Henderson Road.

Both requests ran afoul of the Northwest Neighborhood Plan, trustees said.

"Once we start ignoring the neighborhood plan, it becomes meaningless quickly," said Nick Cipiti, NWCA trustee.

He noted the three-story apartment buildings being proposed for 3001 Bethel Road, behind the Giant Eagle grocery store, would have a density 20 percent higher than the 24 units an acre called for in the plan.

"That seems like a lot," Cipiti said.

Attorney David Hodge, appearing in behalf of Preferred Living's scaled-down apartment development, said the property in question is in a transition area between commercial and residential uses.

"A modicum of increased density is warranted here," Hodge said.

In introducing the rehearing of the case, graphics and zoning committee Chairwoman Marilyn Goodman said the 72 units represented 29.6 units an acre for the 2.43-acre site.

"That's much closer to the guidelines in the Northwest Plan," she said.

But not close enough for six of the 11 trustees who voted against recommending approval.

Zoning committee member Bill Schuck, a past president of the board, handled introductions for the Henderson Road proposal from the Wills Group LLC. The 3.415-acre site currently is zoned rural and has a single-family home and two outbuildings on it, Schuck said.

The 22 attached single-family homes proposed for the site represent 9.1 units an acre, while the neighborhood plan calls for less than four units an acre, Schuck said.

"The proposal does not comply with the Northwest Plan," Schuck said.

"We believe it meets the neighborhood plan," said Dave Perry, representing the Wills Group.

In his presentation, Perry noted the rural zoning is the automatic classification for property when it is first annexed into the city.

"This is a very upscale project," Perry said, adding the homes would be marketed to aging Baby Boomers who no longer want a lot of lawn to take care or to shovel snow.

The homes would be sold for about $400,000, Schuck said during his remarks.

Trustee Mark Krietemeyer said he was troubled at how close some of the proposed homes would be to adjacent residential lots.

"I don't know that you should be able to spit on your neighbor's property from your house," he said.

John Guroy, another trustee, referred to "putting 10 pounds in a five-pound bag" regarding the 22-unit project.

Schuck said, speaking not as a committee member but as a trustee, he believes the proposal violates the plan.

"I think we really should not set a precedent," he added.

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