A redevelopment project that would see a three-story glass building go up on the Hyman Avenue Mall was approved unanimously this week by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, and will have its date with City Council this summer.
The project, at 420 E. Hyman Ave., would replace the current building holding the Zocalito restaurant and Annette’s Mountain Bake Shop. It was one of a half-dozen projects seeking three-story approvals that came in last spring, after City Council in late February 2012 introduced but failed to pass an emergency ordinance that would have lowered building heights. A similar downzoning proposal, which lowered allowed heights from 42 to 28 feet, was passed a few weeks later, but didn’t become effective until early May.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the P&Z voted 5-0 to grant growth management approvals, recommending that City Council approve subdivision, which is necessary because of the building’s multiple dwelling units. The 38-foot-tall project would include a free market condo, which are no longer allowed downtown under the land-use code. It would also have commercial space and three affordable housing units, consisting of two studios and a two-bedroom apartment.
The project meets all the zoning requirements of the land-use code under which it was submitted.
The city’s Historic Preservation Commission in the fall granted conceptual design review for the Zocalito project, a decision that caught the attention of City Council members and was “called up.” In remanding the approval back to HPC for further consideration, Councilman Steve Skadron said he was “outraged” by the building’s design.
“I’m beside myself to think what effect on the historic core a building like this could have,” Skadron said at an August 2012 council meeting.
How much of an issue council will have with the building’s design when it comes time to vote on subdivision review remains to be seen. City planner Sara Adams noted that, technically, HPC is the final authority on design review, which it will take up again after council’s subdivision deliberations.
There is no set date yet for a council hearing on the project, but Adams said she expects the meetings to take place in July or August.