A developer has withdrawn plans for an apartment complex that would have been located on Northwest 38th Street south of Kid’s Zone.

The proposal to develop a now-vacant 6.47-acre tract at 501 NW 38th Street into an apartment complex featuring eight, two-story structures with 128 residential units drew strong opposition from residential property owners adjacent to the site in the Tomlinson Ridge Addition, as well as those on the west side of Northwest 38th Street. Members of the City Planning Commission reviewed the proposal in late September because long-time property owner/developer Steve Rich had asked to rezone what is now P-O Professional and Office District to R-3 Multiple-Family Dwelling District. R-3 allows construction of apartment complexes.

Commissioners agreed with city planners and residents who said there were multiple problems with the concept, and voted to send the request to City Council with a recommendation for denial.

Deputy City Manager Richard Rogalski had said the council would be free to accept the CPC recommendation or grant the developer’s request, but only after the developer adjusted his binding site plan to include adhering to the setback requirement between the complex and residents on its east side, and providing proof that the turning radius for the complex’s fire lane was adequate for fire trucks. Rogalski said the turning radius issue had to be resolved and could have delayed sending the application to the council.

Thursday, Rogalski said the developer had withdrawn his request, meaning the proposal no longer will be going to the City Council. Rogalski said the developer still can submit an entirely new request for the site, but that would mean the review process would begin again.

Response from Tomlinson Ridge residents was immediate and vocal, with residents circulating a petition that gained 354 signatures when presented to the planning commission.

The acreage located south of Greer Park and Kid’s Zone has held P-O zoning for about 12 years, when the owner had plans to build a medical office complex. Shon Erwin, one of the Tomlinson Ridge residents who opposes the apartment plan, said he and his brothers sold what had been Tomlinson family property based on those plans for a medical complex. He and others called plans for an apartment complex “wildly inappropriate” for the site because of the conflict high-density residential would have on nearby single-family neighborhoods.

Other criticism focused on the loss of green space heavily used by residents, concerns about worsening drainage, and the fear of even more traffic congestion on what already is a busy arterial. Commissioners also criticized the encroachment on a stable residential neighborhood.

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