A St. Louis company’s plan to renovate the former Oxford building in downtown Commerce into apartment units suffered a major setback Monday night when the Commerce Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the city council deny the company’s rezoning request.
JES Holdings, doing business as Residents of Oxford Mills LP, sought to have the 2.69-acre tract rezoned from central business district to R-5 (multi-family housing) as a first step in the project. The Commerce City Council will vote on the request at its April 21 meeting at 6 p.m. in the Commerce Room of the Commerce Civic center. Its plan is to renovate the former sewing plant building —which is owned by the city — into 36 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments and build 24 townhouse apartments on the back side — all designated as “affordable housing.”
And that appeared to be the rub.
The units would rent at rates from $455 to $595 per month and would be available only to people making 50-60 percent of the county’s median income of $61,000. According to Jim Markel of JES, a one-person household making $25,860 or less could qualify for residency. The income limits, he said, are set by the Internal Revenue Service and are tied to the tax credits.
In addition to the rezoning, JES Holdings must get a variance in the zoning ordinance to greatly increase the density of units, a move the planning panel appears to see as a bad precedent.
Chairman Joe Leffew worried about what might follow the JES project.
“We would basically be changing our ordinance and regulations, going from four units an acre to almost 30,” he said. “If this happened, any of the properties downtown could follow suit and we would wind up with a downtown that is basically residential.”
“Personally, I don’t think it’s a right fit for downtown Commerce now,” said member Adam Fouche.
Fouche made the motion to recommend that the city council deny the application. It passed without dissent.
For the full story, see the March 26 issue of The Commerce News.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The author does not allow comments to this entry