A request to turn a two-plex into a three-plex in a neighborhood described as containing a good number of Manchester’s historic homes has moved forward after the Manchester City Council voted 4-0 to approve a rezoning request.
Located on 115 East Union Street, the rezone request would move the property from R1-70 Single Family Low Density to R4 Multi Family Residential Medium Density, according to city documents.
Lucas and Lyndi Leonard wrote a letter in opposition to the rezone, stating they were concerned about how the additional residents living on the Sailer rental property would impact the neighborhood.
“While I understand the need for housing, I have concerns with the added vehicle activity. From Howard to Union there are already four to six cars parked on the street regularly and it is usually hard for two cars to pass one another,” the letter states. “Also, Union Street has some of the most historic houses in town and this house already doesn’t fit the profile of the neighborhood.”
The Leonards say when they bought their house, they had neighbors express that they were glad the house wasn’t being turned into another rental. The Leonards are also concerned that, due to the size of the Sailer lot, the rental unit could be expanded again in the future.
Frank Sailer, the project developer, said none of his tenants park on the street and there will be room for eight cars to park behind the rental. In the future, he said, more parking could be added if necessary.
Council member Dan Stelken agreed that the rental doesn’t match others in the neighborhood, but Sailer said the addition will blend with the rest of the house.
Council member Dean Sherman said there is always a fear of the unknown and he personally has had issues with rental units near his own property, but he believes the new rental code should give neighbors assurances that this unit will be kept up to the standards set by the council.
The council voted 4-0 to pass the second reading, with Council member Ron Struble absent.
To little fanfare and no opposition, the council also unanimously passed a resolution raising a 10-year tax abatement program for multi-residential developers.
The proposal was previously fairly controversial, creating several contentious meetings where council members engaged in a philosophical argument pertaining to how much abatement was too much abatement when weighing how much revenue a new development would produce versus the cost of infrastructure necessary to facilitate new projects.
In the end, the council voted 4-0 for a program that would abate 100% of taxes for value added for the first five years, followed by 70% for the remaining five for an average of 85% over the 10-year period.
The increased abatement percentages are good for five years, at which time the council will need to vote to renew them. Should the council fail to do that, it will revert back to the previous structure, which averages to 50%.
In other news, the council:
• Approved an Invitation to Developers packet for city-owned property at 132 West Howard Street. Interested parties need to submit a bid no later than 2 p.m. on July 1.
• Approved trading in the John Deere 5520 tractor to replace it with a Case IH Farmall 120U for $62,000. City Manager Tim Vick said the John Deere has been with the city longer than he has and in order to fix the current mechanical issues, they would have to split the case, which would end up costing more than the tractor is worth. The new Farmall will be light enough to plow city trails and can be used to mow.
• Began exploring options to fix cracks at the Manchester Municipal Airport after it suffered from a particularly hard winter. Vick said he is currently in discussion with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a funding opportunity. Vick said with deadlines for the funding fast approaching, the council may need to hold a special meeting to approve several specifics in the near future.