By Conrad Dudderar
Two new duplexes and a commercial building for five small businesses have been proposed in Old Town Yukon north of Main Street.
The Yukon Planning Commission, at its June 13th meeting, voted 5-0 to recommend approval of a lot split and rezoning request at 9th Street and Kali Street. The city council will consider the positive recommendation at an upcoming meeting.
Yukon’s Ryan Bloom, of Rack Property Group, told commissioners the applicant is asking to consolidate five, “skinny” 25-foot-wide lots – platted more than 100 years ago – into two separate “square” lots.
This would allow Rack Property Group to build two duplexes that face 9th Street to the west.
The duplexes will be all brick with architectural shingles. Plans call for each duplex unit to have 1,240 square feet of living space plus a two-car garage.
“They will be very high-quality residences,” Bloom said, noting it will “not be Section 8” housing.
As an example of this quality, he referred to a custom home now being built on Cedar Avenue by his partner in this project.
This house is “very nice” with “very high-end finishes for a rental,” Bloom advised commissioners.
“My partner is a custom homebuilder who has a great track record here in Yukon,” he added. “He’s developed quite a few very nice rental properties on Desert Spring in the River Mesa Addition.”
“They’re going to demand a quality renter that’s going to take care of them.”
Karen Snyder, who lives on 9th Street across from the proposed project, expressed concerns about building rental duplexes in a “single-family area.”
“I know anything can be a rental property, but I have a real concern about duplexes,” she told the planning commission. “I know that they’ll look nice, and I know all those things, but I bought to be in ‘Old Town’.”
Shawn Calhoun, who lives on Cedar Avenue, also shared concerns about having more duplexes in his “historical” part of Yukon. He owns four lots with houses on that block and wants more single-family homes – not rentals.
“I’d like to see that area, as ‘Old Yukon’, be fixed up nice – not turned into rental properties,” Calhoun said. “We all know the city of Yukon is coming up, and downtown Yukon is really coming up. … We don’t need a lot of rental.
“We need to fix this area up so it’s a desirable area, so people want to come live here. Not rental property.”
This part of the applicant’s property is zoned R-2 (combined residential district), which already allows duplexes.
“There’s a lot of undesirable housing in that area that was built in a different time and place,” Bloom said.
He referred to the size of the yards and high quality of the structures that Rack Property Group has proposed.
“Although it is technically a duplex, you’re going to see it’s a far superior product and a far superior construction than any of the other multi-family living that’s in the area,” Bloom noted.
COMMERCIAL BUILDING TOO
Rack Property Group also requested City of Yukon approval to rezone one other residential lot to C-3 (restricted commercial district). Four of the applicant’s lots already are zoned C-3.
“There’s 10 lots originally, and six of the lots are zoned residential; four of the lots are zoned for light commercial,” Bloom explained. “We want to take one of those 25-foot-wide lots (lot 6) from the residential zoning and convert it to commercial zoning so that we will have two properties of equal size (five lots each).”
That change would allow a larger parking area, providing better ingress and egress from the property. The driveway for the commercial development would go north onto Kali Street.
The building is intended for “small commercial operations” that need a garage bay and small office – “not for a warehouse,” Bloom emphasized.
Five commercial spaces will be 1,500 square feet each – 60-feet deep and 25-feet wide.
Meanwhile, Calhoun also has issues with a new commercial building in that area – right next to residential.
“No one wants to live next to a metal building,” he said.
“The people who live there – we don’t need a tire shop, we don’t need someone back there doing iron work, grinding on the material.”
Bloom emphasized this will be a quality development that’s intended to be “legacy investments for our families.”
“We plan to hold onto these for our lifetimes,” he said, “and have a quality, affordable rental option right here in the heart of Yukon.
“We think there’s a demand for both (the duplexes and commercial building) in Yukon. We think they’re both going to be quality properties that complement each other.”
The small businesses that occupy the commercial site will be “quiet neighbors”, Bloom added.
“We do not anticipate any welding, grinding or cutting operations inside these facilities.”
In closing, the Yukon native and Yukon High School graduate told planning commissioners that he and his partner are committed to providing an excellent product for Yukon.
“We’re not out-of-towners trying to make a quick buck off of Yukon,” Bloom said. “This is our hometown. This is where we live, and we would like to contribute to it.
“The area is benefitting from any kind of development. We’re talking about putting on the line hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital to build these duplexes and build this commercial building. We wouldn’t want to do anything to reduce of value of what we’re trying to construct.”