On Tuesday Oct. 4 the Salida City Council and Planning Commission met in joint session.
As previously reported by Ark Valley Voice, the first two agenda items concerned modifications to a long-delayed planned development and a riverfront rezoning request. Both are highly-visible projects and staff routinely seeks input from commission and council members. After generally favorable discussion, both projects will now advance to the next steps in the planning and permitting process.
Conceptual Review of a Proposed Major Amendment to the Salida Crossings Planned Development
Developer BVD Investments requested a timeline extension for their project (originally known as Salida Commons) on 1520 U.S. 50 west of Hwy 291 and also sought feedback on a modified site plan, with 30 fewer units and one less mixed-use building. The mixed-used buildings also would have one less floor, reducing their height. A mix of AMI levels between 100 percent AMI and 140 percent AMI are now driven by the rising cost of housing and the challenge of how to match them with qualifying buyers of the for-sale units.
Council member Alisa Pappenfort asked about the previously contentious “hot border” (setback with adjoining properties). Community Development Director Bill Almquist confirmed that the project now had a 10 -foot setback, twice the previous and was allowed by right. Council member Dominique Naccarato wanted to hear what the new project schedule was and Mayor Dan Shore stated that most Salida housing is now at 200 percent AMI and this this project addressed the so-called “missing middle” segment.
The developer’s four-member team in attendance represented new faces (in many cases) for a project that has seen a change of ownership since first conceived in late 2017. Senior Project Manager Bernard Weber came prepared with new drawings and details and stated that he was “ready to start in 30 days” (Note: County building permits and additional planning review are required steps). Weber did not provide a project completion date for the first building (“Building A”) which is difficult to predict, given requirements that are outside of the control of the builder, as well as the impending winter season.
Members of the planning commission had no critical feedback for the new concepts and council members agreed that the plan should move forward to the regular city council meeting that followed the work session.
Conceptual Review of a Proposed Rezoning of Certain Riverfront Lots Within the River Ridge and Dutch Run Subdivisions
This item was a technical matter of zoning in two subdivisions along the Arkansas River. According to the work packet, staff had already contemplated the need for a zoning “cleanup” of this area, given the existing split-zoning. The issue concerned a desire by a few property owners to build single-family homes that straddled multiple lots, conflicting with existing zoning.
Commissioner Giff Kriebel called it “spot zoning” for specific owners as opposed to providing zoning uniformly per the size and shape of lots while being sensitive to the topography of the riverbank.
Bob Karls, a multiple lot owner joined the meeting online, saying that their HOA definition of “homes” that could be built there is vague.
Development Director Almquist agreed that it was not an ideal situation and that these types of conflicts will be addressed in the updated Land Use Code, now in progress. With no dissension, the matter now moves forward in the formal approval process. With the two items concluded, members of the Planning Commission left the room, and the work session continued.
PROST Board Appointments Discussion
Salida Parks and Recreation Director Diesel Post and Jessica Downing from the Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) Advisory Board then led a discussion of ten potential candidates for three open seats on the PROST Advisory Board. Staff and council members were pleased at the extremely high rate of citizen participation and the quality of the applicants.
Four of the Tier 1 candidates (Rob Simpson, Jon Terbush, Stacey Falk, and Jess Smith) were then individually interviewed by Mayor Shore and council members. After some discussion about the possibility of expanding the current board from seven to nine members, council members agreed to continue the candidate discussion in the council meeting that followed.
Update to Proposed 2023 Budget
City Finance Director Aimee Tihonovich then presented updates to the proposed 2023 City of Salida budget. The largest part of the changes were driven by the expected year-end “rollovers’ of projects currently underway that would not be completed in 2022. In addition nearly a dozen items reflected updated costs estimates or were in response to direction from the previous council work session.
Council members felt that the changes aligned with their priorities and prior direction and barring any additional changes at the next work session, the budget will move towards potential adoption on Oct. 18.
The joint work session concluded at 6:15 p.m., to be followed at 6:30 p.m. by the regular council meeting.