The Clayton Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday night to deny an appeal by a local developer looking to stop the rezoning and subsequent building of a luxury apartment on a city-owned parking lot at 8049 Forsyth Boulevard.
The Clayton Board of Aldermen approved a rezoning from High Density Commercial (HDC) to Planned Unit Development to allow a mixed use, commercial and multi-family residential development project to be built by Flaherty & Collins Properties, which bought the property from the city for $1.1 million in December.
The Indianapolis-based developer is planning a $70 million apartment tower on the site. Plans call for a 22-story, 228-unit high-rise would include a 373-space parking garage and 7,800 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.
Although it’s been approved by the city planning commission and Board of Aldermen, KP Development, which owns two commercial buildings adjacent to the site, filed an appeal to the Jan. 9 vote by the Board of Aldermen that approved a rezoning, as well as a subdivision plat, requested by developer Flaherty & Collins for the Shaw Park Tower.
Gary Feder, an attorney representing KP, argued the appeal at the board meeting Feb. 13, but Mayor Harold Sanger asked that he and the board be able to further study the issue before a vote took place.
City Attorney Kevin O’Keefe read what the board’s ultimate findings were on the decision to deny the appeal, citing that the appellants have not established that they are an aggrieved party, specifically, the claim that they will suffer a loss of property value due to the inability to use, sell or develop their property in the future.
“These arguments are speculative at best,” city attorney Kevin O’Keefe said. “Therefore, the appellants have not met the requirement to identify a ‘demonstrable and material adverse effect’ they would suffer because of the Board’s decision.”
The board voted unanimously to deny the appeal without giving Feder a chance to argue his client’s case one last time. Feder, however, was not surprised by the decision.
“I thought the way it played out procedurally was unusual but the result was not surprising,” Feder said.
Feder has argued the city’s original request for proposals called for coordination of development with adjoining property owners. KP has its own plan for a nine-story boutique office building with first-floor retail stores on the remainder of the city block surrounded by the parking lot.
Feder also said his client fears there won’t be enough parking in the garage attached to the proposed apartment tower to accommodate its plans and to provide parking for area businesses that would make up for loss of the surface parking lot.
In the appeal, and speaking before Sanger and the board, Feder claimed the rezoning should have included the entire block rather than a single parcel and that the project fails to meet the city’s public benefit test because the existing 132 parking spaces on the site will be replaced with shared parking, which could cause problems for future residents, nearby restaurant patrons and new retail customers along with those who currently lease parking.
The board argued in its findings that those claims were not substantive and that the future site will accommodate the necessary parking.
“Appelant did not have and never had a right to use the subject property to satisfy parking demands for its property,” O’Keefe said on behalf of the board. “The property was and will be owned by others. One hundred thirty two parking spaces have been and will be made available to the public on a month-to-month basis, as opposed to the appellant’s claim.”
Although it was not the result KP was looking for, Feder did not rule out the possibility of KP, Flaherty & Collins and the city working together to come up with an alternative solution on the site in question.
“We’re still talking to the city and Flaherty & Collins about trying to come up with a better plan for this block and a better parking solution than what is currently proposed,” Feder said. “I think at the moment that’s our real priority, is to see if something can be worked out here.”