TPZ holds off decision on Black Rock Turnpike medical offices
Published 7:08 am, Wednesday, March 25, 2015
After a nearly hour-long discussion of a zone change that would pave the way for a new medical office building, the only thing the Town Plan and Zoning Commission decided Tuesday night was that it needed more time to decide.
The TPZ tabled a decision on the application from New Way Associates LLC for property at 4185 Black Rock Turnpike. The commission held three nights of public hearings on the proposal to change the zone designation for 2.3 acres from residence AAA and designed neighborhood district to designed commercial district. New Way is also seeking a special permit to build a 25,000-square-foot medical office building on the parcel.
Commissioner Jim Kennelly had no doubts about the proposal, making a motion to deny the zone change and gave a detailed list of reasons to support that denial.
"This is a residential neighborhood," Kennelly. "We certainly have enough commercial office space to house medical tenants."
Approving the zone change, he said, is the first step "toward commercializing this section of town."
The property borders the Merritt Parkway and is across the street from the Hi-Ho Motel, Barcelona Restaurant and a liquor store. It is the blighted site of the Plant Factory nursery.
Commissioner Jaci Coleman, however, said she believes circumstances have changed to warrant the zone change. "It's not a residentially suitable location," Coleman said, adding that she would support the application.
Other TPZ members, however, found themselves on the fence.
"I'm torn," said Chairman Matthew Wagner, who said his main concern is the traffic. "The intersection there is largely incapable of handling what there is now," Wagner said.
After listening to the developer's presentation, Commissioner Seth Baratz said he thought it was a good application, but said he also is concerned about traffic. "It's a big decision to change triple-A to design commercial," Baratz said. "That's about as big a stretch as you can go."
Baratz and Wagner lobbied for more time to consider the decision, and Kennelly agreed to withdraw his motion to deny and instead made a motion to table the decision.