Another developer proposing a new vision for the old Boker Lumber & Hardware site on College Drive hopes to find favor with the neighborhood.
Three development requests have come before city boards since 2011, but all have been voted down after neighbors voiced concerns about traffic.
The latest proposal, from Reynolds Ash and Associates, is for 20 high-end townhomes, which is far less dense than any of the previous projects. The lower density makes the project compatible with the adjacent neighborhood, the application to the city said.
“Twenty units is similar to the number of houses in a typical block in the avenues and has a minimal effect on traffic in the adjoining neighborhood,” Reynolds said.
Each time the site has come for review, the number of units has declined. In 2011, Collegiate Partners proposed an 80-unit apartment complex. The second time it was defeated that year, they presented a 66-unit apartment complex, according to city documents.
In 2012, Airview Holdings asked for the property to be zoned multi-family, which would have allowed about 40 units to be built. Residents of the neighborhood complained that those projects were too large and would create traffic issues, and all were rejected.
To manage traffic, Reynolds proposes allowing only right turns at the access road’s intersection with College Drive. In addition, the road serving the development would lead out to the intersection of East Ninth Avenue and east Fifth Street.
The intersection with College Drive has limited line of sight, making left turns dangerous, documents said.
For Karen Phelan, a neighbor on East Ninth Avenue, the proposal is more realistic than any of the others because it isn’t asking for parking or height variances.
“This is the first proposal that is actually within code that is very, very encouraging,” she said.
Although she has some questions about the details of the project, such as how a water feature might affect drainage into her neighborhood, she isn’t opposed to it.
“I just would like to get something up there that works for everybody,” she said.
If the project is approved, Reynolds expects to break ground next summer.
It may take two or three years to sell all the townhomes because of their price, Reynolds said. Prices on the units have not been set.
“Because of the cost of land, it would be extremely difficult to make affordable housing or workforce work,” Reynolds said of the project.
The development plan was scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on Monday but was rescheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 4.