Willows condos get initial approval | SkyHiNews.com

Willows condos get initial approval

A rendering of the site for the proposed Willows Condos. The Fraser Town Board approved a preliminary plat for the project with conditions to address staff concerns.
Grand Park presentation / WebEx Screenshot

A preliminary plat for the Willows, a 204 unit condominium complex in Grand Park, has been approved with conditions that the developer dedicate a right of way and construct a sewer crossing.

Fraser’s town board approved the preliminary plat and amended the final development plan for the Willows on Wednesday following a delayed process in which concerns among town staff caused the planning commission to seek the board’s approval. A change in the project plans continued the hearing, originally set for Nov. 3, to Wednesday.

The preliminary plat submitted to the planning commission in October showed the project as a market-rate apartment complex using financing from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However, staff raised concerns about the plat including areas of Cozens Meadow and markers for future development, which they felt were inappropriate considering the town’s ongoing litigation regarding a conservation easement over the meadow.

In competing court filings, the town has argued the Grand Park annexation agreement and final development plan require an easement on Cozens Meadow, while the developer claims the meadow’s status as open space fulfills the development’s requirements.

At the Oct. 27 planning commission meeting, commissioners were split on the Willows project, saying it’s needed for the community but also wanting to protect Cozens Meadow and a potential easement. Ultimately, the commission voted to pass the Willows plat on to the town board with no recommendation.

Between the planning commission meeting and the Nov. 3 town board meeting, the developer resubmitted the preliminary plat, addressing the concerns about the Cozens Meadow and future development areas by removing them from the plan.

However, he told the town board on Nov. 3 that the project was no longer financially feasible as apartments and he would be building the units as condos.

The news caused Fraser’s trustees to wait on approval until Wednesday to ensure the change to condos didn’t require other conditions.

On Wednesday, Trustee Katie Soles clarified that the plat met the town’s requirements and the developer’s entitlements, giving the town board little choice on approval.

“All of the things in this plat are things that he is entitled to from the past (annexation agreement) and within our regulations, so we can’t deny anything outside of that because of what’s entitled,” Soles confirmed.

Two other points raised by staff at the Oct. 27 planning meeting regarding dedication of a right-of-way on Old Victory Road and constructing a sewer crossing were made conditions of approval.

Additionally, the final plat for the Willows is required to be resubmitted with the land use changed from apartments to condominiums.

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