Danco receives approval to move forward community development
Community Development Director Bill Nebeker said the council only approved the introduction of the ordinance to either approve or deny the rezoning of the parcel from a C-M commercial/light-industrial to a C-2 general commercial zone.
At the June 20 meeting is when the council is scheduled to decide whether it will approve to rezone the area and amend the General Plan. The June 6 meeting was essentially a chance for the public to voice its opinion to the members of the council and for the members to gather as much as information as possible.
The council heard reports and opinions from Grove Street residents, Danco project manager Sean Armstrong and Gold Run realtor Jim McCarthy during the hearing, as well as Nebeker’s initial report.
First up during the public comment period was Richard Boulanger, Grove Street resident and staunch advocate against the possibility of the Danco community being constructed so close to his home. His property borders the parcel where the community is being proposed.
Boulanger addressed as much as he could in the 10 minutes he used to speak to the council. He talked about the previous informal meetings between the property owners on Grove Street and the Danco representatives, meetings which Nebeker also attended. He mentioned the May 22 planning commission meeting, which he said Nebeker used as an opportunity to amend out everything they agreed on at the neighborhood meeting.
“I think (Nebeker) mislead you when he stated how this property is going to be used,” Boulanger said to the council. “I believe that he has more at interest for what the property owners want to see rather than what the residents of the area want to see there.”
Boulanger said Nebeker amended out the need for a fence between the development and Grove Street because Nebeker said it was going to be a graffiti magnet. Boulanger said his property has never had graffiti problems, and that he didn’t agree with Nebeker’s amendments prior to the planning commission’s approval of Danco’s reuse permit. Boulanger went on to say that Nebeker and the community development department has done everything to stop or trump everything Danco and the Grove Street residents have mitigated to stop or curb the problems the residents will have when the project goes in.
“Every time we talk, (Nebeker) argues,” Boulanger said. “He doesn’t supply information at these meetings. He argues against us. I would think he would be there to talk with us and say whether what (the residents) and Danco discussed would fall within the codes and ordinances, and whether we need to change something or not. That hasn’t happened.”
Boulanger’s neighbor from across Grove Street, Norm Schwarz, echoed the same concerns to the council. He said he was more concerned with the decision to rezone the property as a commercial zone when Danco was clearly interested in putting a housing development there. He said it didn’t seem to make sense to zone the property commercially when it was still up in the air on whether Danco was going to be there at all.
“Rezone it correctly, or leave it the way it is,” Schwarz said. “As far as Danco, they addressed our concerns and they went the extra mile.”
Both Boulanger and Schwarz were concerned as to whether the new development was going to allow Section 8 housing for low-income families. They said they still haven’t received a clear cut yes or no answer on that. The matter was not discussed at the meeting.
Armstrong said their project would bring benefits to the community. He said the housing needs would be filling in the needs of Susanville. It will not only bringing extra income to the community through housing contracts, but the $11.5 million needed to build the project would be funded by Danco, not from city money.
“We are actually proposing a fence along Grove Street, as well as a fence along the south side of the parcel,” Armstrong said. “So Mr. Boulanger will have a 6 foot board fence that people can’t jump. We are going to try and build a section that does allow for public access. Personally I think it’s crazy to have a huge section of road that the public doesn’t have access to.”
The board passed the motion to introduce the ordinance at the Wednesday, June 6 city council meeting. Even if the council passes the rezone and General Plan amendment, Nebeker said Danco will still need to submit a final site plan and a final civil plan, which needs to meet all city codes. All of this leads up to approval of a building permit, which is needed bfore Danco can break ground on anything, he said. Until all that happens, Danco’s reuse permit still hasn’t been approved.
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