The Woodstock City Council approved allowing a variance for a proposed development on Main Street following a public hearing at its most recent meeting.

City Planner Niwana Ray said the application for the variance came from LDS Partners, LLC, which was looking to develop the property at 9040 and 9044 Main St., the two vacant parcels at the front of the Adyn Park development. Ray pointed out LDS Partners had come to the city with an application for these same lots in the past to build condos over commercial space, which was denied. She reminded the council that later, the firm had a different plan approved by the city, which called for two commercial-only buildings of 5,000 square feet each and 29 townhomes on the site. The newest request is asking the commercial buildings be reduced to a footprint of 4,000 square feet, with a second story to be added and a total of eight condos to be placed on the buildings’ upper level. This would result in a slight increase in density, from eight units per acre allowed by-right under the property’s zoning classification to 9.33 units per acre.

“Staff felt here that the additional two units being requested here over what’s allowed by right is not expected to increase the burden on streets, utilities or schools,” Ray said. “The comprehensive plan supports what the applicant is requesting here.”

Both the development process committee and planning commission recommended approval for the request, although the planning commission had a couple of conditions they attached to their recommendation, according to Ray. These included that a live/work style of development would not be permitted on site and that, should residential garage doors be installed on the building, commercial parking spaces would not be allowed to block the doors.

Representing LDS Partners on this case was attorney Parks Huff, who said that the developers were in agreement with the conditions put forth by the planning commission and a good bit of work had been done to modify the site plan, changing what needed to be changed in order to make something that would be less disagreeable to everyone.

Nobody signed up to speak on the matter during the public hearing, but some of the council members did have questions for Huff.

“Do y’all anticipate garages of any type for these residential units?,” Councilman Colin Ake asked.

Councilman David Potts asked, “Is there any outdoor space for the residential people, like a deck or balcony?”

Huff responded that one of the changes made to the plan was that there would not be garages for residents in the building and that amenities such as a deck or balcony had not been designed for the property, but that the final design for the buildings was not fully finished yet.

During additional discussion, Ake said he liked what he saw overall in the application, but was unsure he saw the hardship in the development that would require approving a variance for the density increase. With that in mind, he put forth a motion to deny the variance request, which failed in a 2-4 vote. A follow-up motion from Councilman Rob Usher to approve the variance then passed with a 4-2 vote of the council.

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