Mesa Road group to appeal again on project

       A 7-0 defeat at City Planning Commission March 19 has not dimmed the Mesa Neighborhood Association's desire to stop a proposed five-unit subdivision in the 1600 block of their street.
       The group is filing its second appeal on Horizon View, which will force City Council to consider the matter, probably April 14.
       The development's lots would be 20,000 to 32,000 square feet, with homes potentially two stories high, spaced around a private cul de sac on two of the five acres. The remainder would be left as open space adjoining nearby Sondermann Park.
       City planner James Mayerl had initially given administrative approval because the proposal - scaled down at his request from an earlier proposal of nine lots and a setback less than the current 64 feet from the road to the nearest house - meets the restrictions of its Residential-Estate zone with Hillside Overlay.
       Association members had first paid $175 to appeal Mayerl's action to Planning Commission, and will now pay a like amount to get it to council, neighborhood representative James Kin said after the meeting.
       “We had somewhat anticipated the decision of Planning Commission,” he said, adding that money is not the issue. “We think this is something City Council needs to address. It has to do with how the city handles infill in existing neighborhoods. The zoning code says it has to be compatible with the surrounding properties.”
       Kin had also argued these points to the commission, leading a joint neighborhood presentation that emphasized the historically rural style of a seven-tenths of a mile segment of Mesa Road (between Caldera Drive and 19th Street) that features one-story homes on large lots set well back from the road. Comparing the Horizon View plan with cookie-cutter subdivisions elsewhere (he used “Village Seven” as an example), Kin said, “It just doesn't look like the Mesa.”
       Afterward, commission member Janet Suthers praised the presentation as “the best I've ever seen” by a neighborhood. However, she joined the majority in denying the appeal.
       In his comments, commission member Donald Magill said that the issues the neighbors raised were based more on “feeling” than technical matters, and to have true weight they ought to have been made part of the city's Comprehensive Plan, which it's his task to uphold. Also, commenting on the neighbors' stance that they would probably be OK with Horizon View at three lots instead of five, he observed that such a reduction “has a lot of impact on developability. You say you're not sterilizing the property, but you're coming awfully close to it.”
       Developer Bill Guman led the presentation for the project. He claimed that the area currently has a “variety of housing types and density” and that the developer has responded as much as possible to the neighborhood's wishes for compatibility.
       The developer has also offered an easement for a trail from Mesa Road through the side of the subdivision and down to Sondermann Park, but City Parks has not recommended acceptance of this access and the commission did not include it in its vote.

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