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Crestwood panel to consider adoption of amendment to Watson Road plan


April 06, 2005 - Adoption of a 2005 amendment to the Watson Road Commercial District Plan was scheduled to be considered this week by the Crestwood Planning and Zoning Commission.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in the Aldermanic Chamber at City Hall, 1 Detjen Drive. A public hearing will be conducted by commission members be-fore they consider adoption of the amendment to the Watson Road Commercial Dis-trict Plan. The public hearing is a continuation of a hearing conducted Feb. 2.

The proposed update to the Watson Road Commercial District Plan, which is the city's comprehensive plan for the Watson Road business corridor, initially was formulated last year by the city's planning consultant, Peckham, Guyton, Albers & Viets. Based on public comments made during the Feb. 2 hearing and commission members' comments made during a March 2 work session, city staff further revised the proposal.

The Planning and Zoning Commission primarily is a recommending body. In this case, however, final approval of the proposed amendment to the Watson Road Commercial District Plan rests with the Planning and Zoning Commission.

At the Feb. 2 public hearing, commission members requested more information from city staff and the city's planning consultant after hearing from representatives of two property owners in one of the areas identified as in need of rehabilitation or redevelopment — an 18.79-acre site that is comprised of two parcels at Watson and Grant roads. The larger of the two parcels contains Value City and is owned by Joe Gras-so, while the smaller parcel contains the Creston Center and is owned by the Boege-man family's Crest Development Co.

Mary Schultz of Schultz and Little, an attorney representing the owners of the Creston Center, asked the Planning and Zoning Commission Feb. 2 to remove the building from the proposed amendment, noting that a substantial redevelopment of the center has been ongoing.

Grasso, two attorneys and a real estate broker addressed the commission Feb. 2 about the Value City site, contending the original amendment's recommended redevelopment as planned residential with a unified site plan would damage Grasso's efforts to redevelop the Value City site as a commercial property as well as harm Grasso financially.

A revised proposal discussed March 2 by the panel recommended the complete re-development of the site as a planned mixed-use development with a unified site plan incorporating both parcels. A combination of higher-density residential and non-residential uses would be considered appropriate, the proposal states.

"In particular, the city should encourage higher-density, high-quality residential uses, as there is significant opportunity and demand to support this type of development in Crestwood. High-quality residential development would create a positive gateway for the city. It would also attract new residents with higher-than-average incomes to Crestwood, as well as provide residential options to retain existing residents,'' the current proposal states.

In a March 2 letter, Schultz acknowledged the change in the staff's recommendation for the site, but stated "all the many reasons'' for excluding the Creston Center from the plan remain.

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