By Conrad Dudderar
After hearing an appeal of the planning commission’s denial of a proposed duplex development, the Yukon City Council has remanded the matter back to the advisory board.
An attorney and engineer representing the developer, Ashton Gray LLC, asked the council April 6 to support an application to build 12 duplexes at 200 N Yukon Parkway.
The applicant had requested a hearing before the city council to appeal the planning commission’s Jan. 11 decision to deny rezoning property from C-3 (restricted commercial) to R-2 (combined residential).
City council approval is required before construction could start on the proposed Ashton Place Development, which calls for 24 duplex units on 4.73 acres.
After lengthy discussion, the council sent the PUD rezoning request back to the planning commission for further consideration.
The site, on the east side of Yukon Parkway and north of Main Street (SH-66), is near five existing housing additions, two churches, a child-care center, and grocery store.
Neighboring residents asked the council to deny the Ashton Place request, with several citing traffic concerns. Worries also were shared about drainage and appropriate land use.
One key issue is adding even more vehicles to the two-lane section of Yukon Parkway between Main Street and Wagner Road.
Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort referred to the high cost of drainage improvements needed to widen and otherwise improve the street.
Since around 1998, developers along this section-line road have contributed to a fund for future road upgrades. But there’s not sufficient money available to rebuild the street and install a larger storm drainage system.
City engineer Robbie Williams estimated the cost of four-laning the road has doubled since the late ‘90s.
One possible option to alleviate traffic congestion is to install a dedicated turn lane on northbound Yukon Parkway approaching the Main Street intersection. Although Main Street is along a state highway, the City of Yukon would be required to pay 100% of that cost.
Rosewood Homeowners Association President Rhonda Dennis noted the city has no plans to “widen or strengthen” roads in the area.
“That’s why we’re against it,” Dennis said of the duplex proposal. “It’s strictly a traffic issue for us.”
Mark Deeds, who lives in Preston Park, wondered if Yukon schools can continue to “keep up with the growth” as more housing development comes to the area. Deeds would like to see a restaurant in that part of Yukon.
Matthew Garrett, who lives on Yukon Parkway near the proposed Ashton Place project, said this duplex development is “not in keeping with the nature of the area” with the churches and child-care facility so close. Garrett believes the site should be for commercial use.
IT WAS AN ERROR
Before referring the Ashton Place PUD rezoning request back to planning commissioners, the city council heard an appeal from attorney David Box.
Box, representing the developer, described an “error by your outside planning staff” that may have led to the planning commission’s denial recommendation.
In a written report to commissioners, the city planner’s analysis indicated this application is “inconsistent” with the City of Yukon’s Comprehensive Plan.
And that was the reason cited by three commissioners in January to vote “no” on the rezoning request.
“The site is designated under the brand new 2040 Comprehensive Plan actually as ‘high intensity’,” Box explained.
Referring to the plan, the attorney said “high-intensity land use consists of heavy commercial uses and residential uses – such as big-box retailers, hospital and high-density residential uses such as larger apartment complexes.”
The proposed Ashton Place PUD follows the City of Yukon’s R-2 zoning standards – a minimum 10,000 square foot lot size and minimum 80-foot lot width, resulting in 5.07 dwelling units per acre.
“This is a small site,” Box told council members. “We only have 12 duplex lots on the site.”
Residential development in the area includes a mix of densities allowing both single- and two-family homes.
The city council previously approved phase two of Yukon Crossing, allowing 72 duplex lots – or 144 units.
And, Box noted, the zoning of Yukon Crossing’s R-2 tract allows lower minimum lot sizes (6,600 square feet) and lot widths (60 feet). This will result in 6.5 dwelling units per acre for that duplex development.
Project engineer Kendall Dillon told the council the proposed 24-unit duplex project is compatible with the area and consistent with the Yukon Comprehensive Plan; “less intense than what’s across the street.”
Dillon said this development would have a “close-to-negligible traffic impact” – especially compared to restricted commercial zoning uses.
The engineer described the developer’s plan to install a detention pond and comply with the city’s drainage ordinance.
Attorney Box pointed out Yukon’s city planning staff recommended approval of the Ashton Place duplex project in a Jan. 11th report.
He read from the report: “An R-2 use seems to be a good fit from the standpoint of the Comprehensive Plan, serving as a transitional density between low commercial designation and that of a residential designation.
“Staff believes that, due to the proximity to existing single-family residential development to the north, and more intense commercial to the west and south, a rezoning of the property and application for a PUD overlay is the best way to impose certain restrictions on the site to ensure appropriate transition between single-family residences and more intense commercial.”