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|January 17, 2019, City Council Regular Meeting|
13. Motion to Amend the Future Land Use Category for 1220, 1222, and 1224 Wheaton Street (Petitioner: Harold and Josh Yellin for Montgomery Street Partners, LLC and City of Savannah)
The Mayor and Aldermen approved a request by Harold and Josh Yellin for Montgomery Street Partners, LLC, Petitioner (File No. 18-006341-ZA) to rezone 1220, 1222 and 1224 Wheaton Street from I-L (Light Industrial) and R-M-25 (Multifamily Residential, 25 units per acre) to R-M-40 (Multifamily Residential, 40 units per acre). Therefore, the Future Land Use Map designation for the subject properties has to be changed to "Residential - General" from "Traditional Commercial" (File No. 18-006933-CPA). The action being considered now is the approval of an ordinance for the amendment to the Future Land Use Categories.
This is the first of two related agenda items. The second agenda item is for the ordinance to rezone 1220, 1222 and 1224 Wheaton Street.
The subject properties are currently vacant (except for a small dilapidated structure) and comprise three parcels for a total of 1.84 acres. Additionally, the current zoning districts and the proposed zoning district are inconsistent with the Chatham County-Savannah Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map designation of "Traditional Commercial." However, this is true of virtually every nearby property in this corridor except for parcels directly fronting Wheaton Street.
There are two core components to this rezoning request: the shift from a light industrial district (I-L) to a multifamily district (R-M), and the increase in permitted density of an existing multifamily district from 25 to 40 units per acre. In the former case, it is desirable to eliminate an industrial district with its wide range of harmful permitted uses adjacent to residences. In the latter case, the zoning ordinance considers three core criteria when establishing a density standard for a multifamily district: the potential traffic generated, the capacity of water and sewer systems, and the compatibility of the development with surrounding land uses.
Neither traffic nor water/sewer systems present much concern as the existing roads and utilities have enough excess capacity. The issue of compatibility is less straightforward. The property immediately to the west is already zoned to the higher-density R-M-40 district, which is compatible. Properties to the east currently consist of single-family residences, raising some possibility of negative impacts.
As a result, MPC staff recommended that the Planning Commission review the General Development Plan to ensure that excessive building mass is not concentrated on the east edge of the property overlooking the residences as a condition of approval of the request to rezone the subject properties to the proposed R-M-40 Zoning District.
Based on these findings, on December 11, 2018, the Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the request to rezone the subject properties to the proposed R-M-40 Zoning District with the condition that any General Development Plan submitted for the subject properties be approved by the Planning Commission.
The Chatham County - Savannah Comprehensive Plan provides the following definitions for the Future Land Use Categories:
Residential – General: Areas with a wide range of residential uses including multi-family dwellings, attached dwellings, small lot single-family dwellings at densities greater than 10 units per gross acre.
Traditional Commercial: Business areas in close proximity to downtown or in outlying historically settled areas having development patterns characteristic of the Planned Town, Streetcar, and Early Automobile eras. This category includes residential uses that are compatible with the character of adjacent neighborhoods.
Approval of the change in the Future Land Use Map designation for the subject properties from "Traditional Commercial" to "Residential - General."
Bridget Lidy, Planning & Urban Design Director
Draft Ordinance RE Future Land Use Category.pdf
Planning Commission Recommendations - 2 Wheaton 20181211