A request to rezone commercial property in an undeveloped part of east Yukon to allow 24 duplexes was denied by the Yukon Planning Commission Monday night for a second time.
Concerns about traffic, overcrowded school classrooms and Yukon’s comprehensive development plan were heard from residents, and commissioners agreed to stop the duplexes.
Ashton Gray LLC had requested rezoning 4.73 acres at 200 N. Yukon Parkway. The request was made by the Ashton Gray attorney David Box to rezone a restricted commercial area to a combined residential district with an additional application for a planned unit development over the entire property. The purpose of the rezoning would be to permit duplex development on the site, according to information provided to the planning commission.
The planning commissioners voted unanimously against approving the rezoning request.
The plan would have divided the property into 12 lots for 24 duplex units with one common area for drainage.
The property is located along the east side of Yukon Parkway just south of a childcare center, For Heaven’s Sake Daycare.
To the south is a restricted commercial district developed with Life Church. To the east of the property is an area owned by India Pentecostal Church and a small portion is zoned for automotive and commercial recreation, and is heavily wooded and undeveloped.
To the west of the property is Yukon Parkway that is zoned for single family and combined residential use currently under development as duplexes as part of the Yukon Crossing development.
The planning commissioners first denied the plans in January. Then the issue came to the city council in April but was sent back to the planning commission.
In April, after hearing an appeal of the planning commission’s denial of a proposed duplex development in January, the Yukon City Council remanded the matter back to the advisory board.
Attorney Box and an 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.
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.
Box argued that the property use for duplexes adhered to the city’s comprehensive use plan and was similar to the Yukon Crossing development to the west.
Commissioner Nick Grba made a motion recommending the rezoning be approved and sent to the city council.
A resident, Kara Heintz, then told the commissioners she had concerns with traffic. She said she has lived in the Smoking Oaks addition nearby for 16 years.
She addressed traffic, and school overcrowding.
“Our main concern is traffic, but also taking good care of our new residents, their children,” she said. “Our schools are over-flooding.”
YNB’s Vice President Joe Horn, who is also chairman on the Yukon Board of Adjustments, and Yukon resident, also spoke to the commissioners before their vote.
“I want you to ask yourselves what Yukon gets for this,” Horn said. “A bunch of rent houses.”
Commissioners, David Enmark, Jeff Geis, Bill Baker, Jarrid Wright and Grba voted no.
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 that has been addressed 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 making the road four-lanes 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 Gerred, 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. Gerred believes the site should be for commercial use.