Pearl House Zoning Permit Denied

By
Bethany Venable

Dateline
Updated Tue, Jul 24, 2012 10:28 am

Developers behind a controversial apartment complex in Lancaster will have to take their plans to the Board of Zoning Appeals for approval.

Pearl House is meant to house homeless people who have substance-abuse problems and their families while they receive treatment.
 
The plan has drawn criticism from some community members for its proposed downtown location.
 
City engineer Brad Fagrell recently denied Fairfield Homes' application for a zoning permit on the grounds of four conflicts with the city's code.
 
Fagrell says the land lot is not large enough to support the 36 units and the required space is almost double what the developers have to work with: 38,338 square feet compared with the necessary 64,000 square feet.
 
The setbacks from Memorial and Chestnut streets are not far enough back and the building height exceeds the allowed 35 feet.
 
Fagrell also says the ground floor space for a building within the commercial business district cannot be greater than 7,000 square feet.
 
The Pearl House plan lists the ground floor at 12,000 square feet.
 
Fagrell says he has worked with Fairfield Homes on changing the plans to fit city code.
 
When plans do not comply with the city's code, Fagrell says he often works with developers to make the necessary changes.
 
"I ask them, do you want to try and adjust the site plans?" he says, but in this case, the developers wanted to move forward with the plans they had.
 
"They have to keep moving forward," says Fagrell, adding that planners may be working against funding and tax credit deadlines for the project.
 
He says he has heard back from Fairfield Homes that they will appeal his decision at the next Board of Zoning Appeals meeting on August 7. 
 
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