Multi-family units will build toward town needs

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESJohn Scarffe, Nederland.  Multi-family units meeting Nederland’s need for housing will be underway on Third and Fourth streets in the coming years. Nederland resident, Wendy Williams, brought a proposal for the units to the Nederland Board of Trustees’ regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, at the Nederland Community Center.

The Board approved the application for a Final Planned Unit Development. On June 6, Williams said they have broken ground on the first triplex unit and will then add other units. They will be rental housing, mainly for workforce, in Nederland.

Her husband is doing the work on the units himself, so the first triplex probably won’t be completed for a while. “There’s a lack of workforce available to help him,” Williams said.

The proposal includes 12 total units on Third and Fourth Streets, according to Williams’ application. Eleven of the units, except Williams’ existing residence, will be less than 1,000 square feet in size and one-story, one-to-two bedroom units. The eighth unit will be a two-story unit attached to the Williams’ current principal residence at 442 W. Fourth Street.

The units will cover the majority of Block 29, which is zoned Neighborhood Commercial. The goal of the Planned Unit Development (PUD) brought before the Board is to redevelop the area to offer small, affordable rental units. Williams anticipates a 15-year phasing plan.

Utilities are nearby and able to serve the property, according to the application. The residences at 439 W. Third, 442 W. Fourth, and 492 W. Fourth Streets are served with utilities. Lots one, four and five are unbuilt, except for a small cabin.

Williams discussed her proposal at the Planning Commission’s April 27 meeting for the final PUD and concurrent Special Review Use for multi-family units, according to background information. The Planning Commission unanimously approved her request, with the condition that the 15-year phasing period be revisited at the 10-year mark to grant extension, as well as keeping the square footage of units as proposed.

The Planning Commission also delineated the following conditions: required 25 percent landscaped open space; individual unit square footage; location of storage sheds; off-street parking spaces and east and south-facing exposures for passive solar energy.

Williams told the Board she is looking to implement a density increase in the neighborhood. She plans to build three homes on two lots and wants to keep these affordable and accessible.

“I looked at what this town needs — small, energy efficient units in the downtown corridor,” Williams said. She is going for multi-family units with shared walls and doesn’t plan on creating covered parking.

“You would lose so much solar gain, the cars would get warm but the house wouldn’t.” Williams said. She was very successful with one built last year. They used a lot of recycled materials and are meeting and exceeding the required amount of green space, averaging 53 percent.

Planning Commission Chair Roger Cornell told the Board that this project was very good and met a lot of the essential criteria. Williams came with all of the information and things the Commission wanted.

“The neighborhood was all positive,” Cornell said. “The higher density is essential for the core area.”

The Nederland Board of Trustees met on June 7, and the next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 21, at 7 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center.