Nearly four years ago, the city council refused to rezone about 13 acres in North Albany to allow a mixed-use residential and commercial development. Now the owner, Jim Winkler of Portland, is back with a new proposal: just housing, without any stores.
The proposal covers nearly 15 vacant acres, more than before, between the North Albany Shopping Center and the North Pointe neighborhood to the east. The preliminary plan calls for 195 townhomes and duplexes with two, three or four bedrooms each, along with some open space.
A planning firm working for Winkler Development Corp., notified neighbors of the proposed development in a letter inviting them to a virtual, online community meeting scheduled Jan. 27. Albany’s code requires such meetings before developers file their land-use applications. (No application has yet been filed in this case. A Facebook posting by one of the affected neighbors alerted me to the proposal Tuesday night.)
n 2017, the size of the property at issue then would have allowed 380 apartments under the existing medium-residential zoning, and the developer proposed about 350.
In August that year the council, responding to strong neighborhood opposition, voted 3-2 to deny a zone change to mixed-use commercial. The change would have allowed Winkler to design what he said would be an innovative mix of senior and other housing whose residents would also have services close by.
The two councilors against the rejection were Bessie Johnson, still on the council now, and Ray Kopczynski, who has been re-elected after sitting out two years.
The preliminary plan sent with the invitation to the community meeting showed three access points for the development, one from the shopping center, one on Pleasant Way, and one on Troon Street in North Pointe.
The plan appears to comply with the zoning, and four years ago the city planning staff concluded that the larger proposal met all the requirements of the development code, including that the streets could handle the traffic. So chances are that this proposal, with fewer residential units, meets the code as well. (hh)