Some concerns are being raised about a plan for an office building on Washington Street in Naperville that would include apartments.
After discussing the matter a few days ago, the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission decided to continue the public hearing on the proposed development. The four-story, mixed use office/rental building is proposed for the 600 block of North Washington Street, where the petitioner, Harter Investment Strategies LLC, wants to combine lots 604 through 620 for the building.
Harter plans to use the first floor of the facility for its own offices and the top three floors for rental units.
“I think you have a lot of problems,” Plan Commissioner Bob Williams said.
The petitioner is seeking nine variances to city code, including ones for setback requirements, parking spaces, height limitations and more.
The parking variance to reduce the number of required spots from 30 to 13 for the office area was particularly troubling to some Plan Commission members.
Also provided would be 68 spots for the planned 34 rental units, but some Plan Commission members don’t believe that the total of 81 parking spots would suffice without causing a problem on nearby residential streets.
The petitioner’s parking study contended that 20 percent of the residents at the proposed facility would use transportation other than automobiles.
The petitioner set aside only 13 spaces for its offices, reasoning that with only seven employees, the spaces should be sufficient. The fact that the 9,144 square-foot office would be home to only seven employees left Plan Commission members wondering about the future and if that number of employees may grow down the road.
“Being familiar with the area, I don’t buy it (the variance),” Plan Commission member Kevin Coyne said.
Coyne also said that the scale and the bulk of the building was too great for the area.
Speaking for the petitioner, architect Bruce George said that the design of the building was an intentional choice.
“This was a conscious decision on our part not to build out a courtyard building,” he said.
But that decision apparently led to another red flag for the commission concerning the height variance sought. City code limits the height of buildings to 43 feet for residential property in the area, and the variance asks for a 47.5-foot tall building.
Several nearby residents were troubled by the size of the project.
Tom Higgins lives two blocks from the proposed building and he pointed out that the actual height of the building was 49 feet, if the planned parapet is included.
“We need to talk about what’s appropriate for this area,” he said.
Myron Sawyer’s property backs up to the proposed development and he said he wasn’t looking forward to looking at a brick wall.
As for the height, he said, “What good is having an ordinance if we don’t support the ordinance?”
The petitioner asked to continue the public hearing of the plan until the next commission meeting in October. The commission agreed.
, with Coyne suggesting to the developer that they make a point of consulting the site’s neighbors before the next meeting.