Urbana council OKs code tweaks for development in northwest

Urbana council OKs code tweaks for development in northwest

URBANA — The city council approved some code tweaks Monday night that pave the way for a new townhouse-style development on its northwest side.

The decision changes zoning and comprehensive-plan designations for 12 parcels in the area. One of them is at 601 N. Lincoln Ave., a former water-treatment plant that Illinois American Water closed last year. The other 11 — bordered by West Hill Street on the north, West Church Street on the south, North Lincoln on the east and Hill Street Court on the west — are single-family homes and vacant lots that have been put up for sale. The parcels are highlighted in the map below:

Georgia-based Landmark Properties plans to turn the newly re-designated space into cottage-style townhouses that have apartment-style regulations but don't look like apartment complexes. Jason Doornbos, Landmark's executive vice president of development, said the target market would be young professionals and University of Illinois students. He said rent will be charged by bedroom, not by unit.

Aaron Ammons, one of two aldermen to vote against the measure, represents the ward where the townhouses are being pitched. He said they wouldn't be an option for families looking for affordable housing.

"This is a residential area where families live currently," Ammons said. "A development of this sort that doesn't consider actual people living in this area is problematic for me."

Some council members were torn over the decision.

"I want families to afford to live in any property, but we can't discriminate against students," said Alderwoman Maryalice Wu. Students "have a right to good housing that's different and not a 10-story high-rise."

Alderman Dennis Roberts asked Doornbos to reimagine his design plan with the council's suggestions and concerns in mind.

"I think it's important to bring this (development) into the public and make it into a community where property taxes can support city infrastructure services," Roberts said. "It is an issue with a balance between affordability and a handsome development. It'd be good if you made some of this really, truly family-oriented rather than apartment/student-oriented."

Sections (2):News, Local

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
rsp wrote on March 07, 2018 at 1:03 am

Every new building they come up with is described as for the "young professional", who will be leaving mom and dad's place to rent a bedroom. Not a whole apartment, but a bedroom. Becoming an adult has changed so much.