Coun­cil to vote on stu­dent hous­ing, park­ing rec­om­men­da­tions

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­[email protected]­pub.com

A stu­dent hous­ing project and an am­bi­tious plan to change how Ne­wark ap­proaches down­town park­ing are among the items on the packed agenda for Mon­day’s coun­cil meet­ing.

The meet­ing is set for 7 p.m. at city hall, 220 S. Main St.

The Watts fam­ily will ask coun­cil to ap­prove its plan to de­mol­ish five rental homes at 209, 213, 217, 221 and 225 Haines Street and con­struct a four-story build­ing con­tain­ing 24 apart­ments and 22 garage park­ing spa­ces. Half the units would have three bed­rooms, while the other half would have two bed­rooms, for a to­tal of 60 bed­rooms.

A sep­a­rate 28-space park­ing lot would be built next to the build­ing.

The project would re­quire coun­cil to re­zone the prop­er­ties from RD (one-fam­ily semide­tached res­i­den­tial) to RA (mul­ti­fam­ily dwellings– high-rise apart­ments) and ap­prove a com­pre­hen­sive de­vel­op­ment plan amend­ment and ma­jor sub­di­vi­sion with site plan ap­proval.

Seth Watts ar­gued that the project is fill­ing a need in the area, which has seen sev­eral new de­vel­op­ment projects com­prised of large town­hous­es­tyle apart­ment units.

“We know there’s a de­mand for two and three-bed­room units, and not as many are be­ing built in this area,” he said in Novem­ber.

The plan­ning com­mis­sion unan­i­mously rec­om­mended coun­cil ap­prove the com­pre­hen­sive de­vel­op­ment plan amend­ment and rec­om­mended the re­zon­ing and ma­jor sub­di­vi­sion by a 4-3 vote. How­ever, coun­cil is not ob­li­gated to fol­low the plan­ning com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions.

Mean­while, coun­cil will also dis­cuss more de­tails about sev­eral park­ing-re­lated ini­tia­tives. A com­mit­tee of res­i­dents, busi­ness own­ers and city of­fi­cials made the rec­om­men­da­tions last year, and the city’s plan­ning de­part­ment was tasked with de­vis­ing an im­ple­men­ta­tion strat­egy.

Short-term items pro­posed for this year in­clude ne­go­ti­at­ing a lease agree­ment with the Uni­ver­sity of Delaware to use UD lots for em­ployee park­ing and spend­ing $80,000 on con­sul­tants to de­velop a mar­ket­ing strat­egy and study “im­ped­i­ments to cre­ative park­ing so­lu­tions.”

In 2020, the pro­posal calls for de­vel­op­ing a mo­bile app to dis­play park­ing in­for­ma­tion, re­duc­ing or elim­i­nat­ing park­ing re­quire­ments for de­vel­op­ers and ne­go­ti­at­ing leases with pri­vate park­ing lot own­ers to in­crease the sup­ply of pub­lic park­ing. Long-term ideas, slated for 2021 or later, in­clude cre­at­ing a down­town shut­tle bus and build­ing a park­ing garage.

Other items up for dis­cus­sion or a vote in­clude City Sec­re­tary Re­nee Bens­ley’s salary, pro­posed changes to the city’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­part­ment and a rec­om­men­da­tion to charge late fees for un­paid bills.

Coun­cil will also hear an up­date on the new Ne­wark Part­ner­ship or­ga­ni­za­tion.

SUB­MIT­TED IM­AGE

An artist’s ren­der­ing shows the 24-unit apart­ment build­ing pro­posed for Haines Street.

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