Tuesday, August 16, 2011

City Council and Special Use Permit

Quite a bit on the city council's agenda tonight.  The item that had attracted the most attention is the request by Home Rentals for a Special Use permit, allowing the company to build an apartment complex at 310 and 312 West Monroe, next to the Carbondale Public Library.  A major reason for opposition is that Home Rentals still has properties damaged in the May 2009 storm that have not been repaired and are deteriorating, so why allow them to build new properties when the company is not maintaining the ones it already owns?

The Public Library has drafted a resolution requesting the Council deny the Special Use permit. Below, from the Arbor District email list, is a portion of the library's resolution:
The Public Library has a strong interest in the property in question; we reaffirm our opposition to the apartments and agree that the library would be willing to take stewardship of the property if, for example, it were donated to the library." 

Board members also noted that if there is to be any hope of renewal in this neighborhood we cannot have more apartments added. We talked about the fact that the property could be maintained as green space, and  could possibly be used to expand library parking, as I will be seeking grant funds to make our annex building (formerly part of Brush school) a more usable and attractive space. Right now, when we have book sales in that building, or large events at the library, our parking lot is completely filled with customers.

In short, if the special use permit passes, there will be yet another apartment complex in Carbondale, where there are already more apartments than the landlords can fill. This is an historic neighborhood, and in my opinion there are better options. We, and our neighbors are very concerned that if an apartment complex is built, the property will not be well maintained. To illustrate this point, I have attached a few examples of what tends to become of Home Rentals' property over the years. " 

According to an email sent out yesterday to the Arbor District list, an anonymous donor has offered to purchase the Monroe Street properties and donate them to the Library for maintenance as a green space next to the facility.  However, they would have to negotiate the purchase from Home Rentals, who has proven loathe in the past to sell any properties it owns, except for significantly more than the appraised value of the property

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