Thursday December 10, 2015
New hotels, a variety of residential units and commercial space are in the works along a stretch of Shelburne Road in South Burlington.
Developers Joe Larkin and Eric Farrell came before the Development Review Board on December 1 with two applications adjacent to each other. Larkin’s proposal (#SD-15-40) is for a planned unit development which consists of razing the 54 unit hotel Larkin Terrace hotel, constructing a new 100 room hotel, a 51 room extended stay hotel, 77 residential units, and 9,000 sq. ft. of commercial space at 1185 & 1195 Shelburne Road. Farrell’s proposal (#SD-15-41) offers a planned unit development consisting of subdividing an undeveloped 6.7 acre parcel into two lots of 4.1 acres and 2.6 acres, and constructing a 50 unit multi-family dwelling on the 4.1 acre parcel at 1195 Shelburne Road. A portion of the subdivision, 6.7 acres, will be transferred to Larkin Realty.
Greg Rabideau of Rabideau Architects laid out the preliminary details of the Larkin proposal. The project is being developed with a form based code lens and will be a large master planning process. With form based code in mind, this means the buildings will be closer to the road and parking will be concealed behind and below the buildings.
The plan lays out a variety of intensities and uses. In addition to hotel plans, the proposal shows a mixed use building with commercial on the first floor and residential use on the second. Townhouses are also proposed as a transition into Lakewood Commons.
Rabideau produced a rendering of what three to four-story buildings would look like in the area. He reviewed potential garage entrances and noted that it will need to be reconfigured to replace parking for the Palace 9 movie theater. The application also proposes to extend the connector road to serve as secondary circulation parallel to Shelburne Road, and a right-of-way will be built up to Lakewood Commons. Rabideau mentioned having a right-turn only out onto Shelburne Road.
Finally, the board weighed in. Chair Tim Barrritt said his concern was “about mass where there wasn’t mass before.” He also encouraged more diversity in building styles and to take advantage of western views.
“This is a serious statement,” Vice Chair Bill Miller said. “It puts this end of Shelburne Road on the map architecturally. It’s been a little quiet so far. This is not a quiet building….I’m impressed by this.”
“I’m intrigued,” board member Jennifer Smith commented. She said she’d like to see softer lines and multiple roof lines.
Board member John Wilking noted a shortage of green space and general outdoor amenities, particularly for the apartment residents.
Though displacement of residents in nearby homes is not under the purview of the Development Review Board, it is a discussion to be had between developer and residents, Barritt said.
Two residents spoke to this particular concern. Craig Benromo, resident of Larkin Terrace, moved to South Burlington three months ago when he found a home he could afford. He thanked Larkin Realty for opening that opportunity, but he said he feels this property will jeopardize his living situation.
“It’s a scary thing to think about losing out on this place just because I know the options are very limited,” he said.
Nicole Johnson, also a resident of Larkin Terrace, said she moved to South Burlington since Long Island was not affordable. She urged developers and the board to consider developing more apartments to encourage people to stay, rather than building more hotels for visitors.
“I’m seeing a lot of hotels pop up, and while it’s wonderful to bring people in, to get the place exciting, where then do they go if they decide to live here?” she asked.
Rabideau said they are looking into an affordable housing component. “We don’t have all the parts in place to make any decisions on that tonight, but it’s very much a part of this design process,” he said.
“It’s part of my dad’s legacy, the affordable housing component of the housing stock, and it’s something we take seriously,” Larkin said. “We’re looking at it. It’s very challenging….it’s a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Regarding the Farrell property proposal, the 50-unit multi-family dwelling (identified as the Allenwood property) is planned for five stories. The fifth story will be a mezzanine level and be more set back. The building will consist of studio apartments on the first three floors, and the fourth and fifth floors will be townhouse one-bedroom units. Additionally, a lobby, fitness center, lounge, open space, and an off-leash space for pets are in the plans for residents. There were will be surface parking with 73 spaces.
The project is similar to Farrell’s Olympiad contemporary apartments on Eastwood Drive.
The main entrance will be on Shelburne Road, and the primary access will be on Fayette Road. The 4.1 acres that Farrell will retain will have a road that extends west to the railroad tracks to connect with the access road proposed in the Larkin property. A 60-foot right-of-way will also be dedicated to the city and it’s lined up to hit Lakewood Commons. Farrell said they’d build a road up to Lakewood Commons if the owner expresses interest, but they haven’t had that conversation yet.
The plan aims to retain the farm crossing, which is no longer being used, but will be maintained.
The proposal requests a height waiver of 22.6 feet. Wilking said he needed more details before approving a height waiver.
Resident Michael Lipson of Holmes Road Extension expressed concern about traffic, stating that there’s significant truck and car traffic from the east and the west. Resident Tom Easton of Holmes Road Extension expressed concern about the environmental impact of water runoff.
Barritt said that this application and the Larkin application will have to go through a stormwater process with both the city and the state. Farrell said that there’s a stormwater pond on-site and they will look for possible improvements to share with Public Works.
Both applications have been continued to February 16, 2016.
SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent