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City may extend design permits

Submitted by on 1, February 8, 2010 – 5:45 amNo Comment

The crappy economy is slowing up home and other construction projects, fo’ shizzy. So the Planning Board, in an effort to save everyone some time and a few bucks, is set to consider extending design review permits at its meeting tonight.

The permits are now good for a year, plus a one-year extension. The board is considering changing that to two years, plus a two year extension. If they give their okay, the proposal goes to the City Council for approval.

Nearly 700 design review approvals were granted between 2007 and 2009, but many of the projects have not moved forward because the money wasn’t available, city staff said in a report on the proposal – and the approvals are set to expire. If the economy improves in the next year or two, the extensions would allow the projects to move forward without starting the approval process over again.

Meanwhile, the board will consider amending its new density bonus ordinance to include residential neighborhoods. The existing ordinance, which is intended to spur affordable housing development by offering breaks on city height, setback and other standards, covers commercial and mixed use districts. The residential rules would include caps and limits on the breaks a developer could get in those areas.

Oh, and a new home application that has been on the books since December 2005 is on the agenda tonight. After a host of revisions and an effort to put new zoning rules on the neighborhood it’s in that was ultimately abandoned, staff is recommending approval.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. today at City Hall.

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