What is proposed at 1535 Park Avenue West, the former Greenberg Radiology Property?
Trammell Crow, a Dallas-based real estate development group, is proposing to construct a senior living facility on the site that includes independent living, assisted living, and memory care. The building includes 87 independent living units, 55 assisted living units, and 20 memory care units. The building features several dining areas, a swimming pool, and its grounds include walking paths. The development proposal is accompanied by a request to rezone the property from a light industrial zoning district to a multi-family zoning district.
What is the property currently zoned for?
The 7.4-acre property is zoned I – Light Industry. You can read a description of that zoning district here. It is the most permissive commercial zoning district in the City and allows a wide range of commercial and light industrial land uses. The Table of Allowable Uses in Article 4 of the zoning code provides a list of the land uses permitted in the I – Light Industrial Zoning District. Structures can be 45 feet in height in the I zoning district and property line setbacks are not as restrictive as in residential zoning districts.
The property has been zoned for light industrial use for decades, consistent with previous land uses on the site. These included a light fixture factory and, beginning in 1984, the Greenberg Radiology practice.
What is the proposed land use?
The Trammell Crow development concept is a Continuum of Care model. It includes units for independent living, assisted living, and memory care. The facility’s intent is to allow able-bodied residents to occupy the independent living units, then transition to the assisted living units when additional care is needed. The memory care units are available if and when needed by the residents, as well. It is important to note that the 87 Independent Living dwelling units in the development are intended for lease to residents pursuing the continuum of care model.
This land use is not permitted in the existing I – Light Industrial Zoning District. It is, however, defined as a “Nursing Home Care Facility” within Highland Park’s Zoning Code and allowed in the RM1 Zoning District as a Conditional Use. This means a Special Use Permit (SUP) is required for the use. Consideration of Special Use Permits require a public hearing process that is currently underway before the Plan & Design Commission.
Why is a zoning district change from Light Industry “I” to Multifamily Residential (RM1) being proposed?
As mentioned above, the Nursing Home Care Facility is not permitted in the I – Light Industrial Zoning District, so the applicants are requesting to change the zoning on the property to RM1, a multifamily residential zoning district. This would allow the proposed independent living units / apartments in the development, as well as the Nursing Home Care Facility, as a Conditional Use through a Special Use consideration.
How tall is the proposed building?
The proposed RM1 multifamily zoning district allows a maximum building height of 35 feet. Several areas of the proposed building exceed this limit and are proposed to be 38 feet. A modification of four feet has been requested to accommodate these peaked roof areas. Garages on the property are proposed at 16.75 feet, which exceeds the 15 foot height limit on accessory structures by 1.75 feet.
When was the proposal considered?
The public hearing was opened on March 5, 2019. The Plan and Design Commission (PDC) deliberated on the application and took testimony, then continued the hearing to the April 2, 2019 agenda for further discussion and consideration. Following the receipt of revised materials and public testimony, the Public Hearing was continued to the May 7, 2019 PDC meeting. The PDC closed the public testimony portion of the Public Hearing on May 7, 2019, and directed staff to draft Findings of Fact recommending denial of the project to City Council. At its June 4, 2019 meeting, the PDC approved Findings of Fact recommending denial of the project to City Council. City Council is anticpated to consider the development at its August 26, 2019 meeting.
The staff report and exhibits from the public hearing provide additional information on the plan and can be downloaded here:
What is the public hearing and planned development process?
The Trammel Crow assisted living project is currently under consideration as a planned development. A Planned Unit Development or PUD, is a planning tool that allows the Plan & Design Commission to carefully review a large project holistically and consider variations (also called modifications) from the zoning code through a required public hearing at which both written and oral testimony can be provided by any member of the public. All properties within 400’ of a proposed project are notified of the public hearing via certified mail.
Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) consist of two phases: a preliminary development review phase and a final development review phase. A public hearing is held for one or both of these phases depending on the proposal and its conformance with the Code. Sometimes an applicant chooses to combine preliminary and final consideration in one application. This is not the case for Trammel Crow.
Phase I – Preliminary Plan Consideration. Preliminary development considerations typically include, as its title implies, review of preliminary plans for a particular development. Therefore, some of the technical detail regarding particular aspects of a development will need to be provided or refined before the proposed project can be fully considered. When the public hearing for a preliminary consideration has been concluded, the Plan & Design Commission will make a preliminary recommendation to the City Council. The City Council will consider the proposed development and any requests for zoning variations along with the recommendation of the Plan and Design Commission. After doing so, the City Council votes to approve or deny the preliminary application. If approved, the City Council may also impose reasonable conditions it deems appropriated to mitigate the various impacts of a project.
Phase II – Final Plan Consideration. After a preliminary approval, the applicants must submit a complete set of final plans for review, consideration and approval. Final plans incorporate revisions and conditions of approval requested during the preliminary consideration, as well as providing final drainage, grading, off-site improvements and utilities plans for a project. If there are changes between the preliminary and final plans that require additional zoning considerations, then a second public hearing will be necessary before a final approval can be considered. If the final plans are found to be in substantial conformance with the approved preliminary plans from Phase I, then the Plan & Design Commission will make a final recommendation to the City Council at a public meeting. If the City Council approves a project, an ordinance and development agreement will be drafted, considered and approved at a future Council meeting.