Now It's Up To The Council
The Planning Commission ruled in favor in a split 4-3 decision of the Ikea warehouse retail facility in the residential neighborhood, the ad hoc neighbors group The 53rd Street Neighbors Committee has filed an appeal on behalf of all residents and they have assembled their troops. Tuesday night October 19 at 7:15, the City Council will decide.
The Ikea retail facility would share about 50% of an existing building on 53rd Street with another business.
The neighbors group has stated the Ikea facility is a non-compliant use and therefore a zoning violation of our new general plan, a sentiment shared by three Planning Commissioners in their August 24th ruling. Ikea and the city says there is no violation because the warehouse proposal cleared the general plan's 50% requirement hurdle by less than 1% in a 120,000 square foot building not including outside space.
They quote the general plan's exception for a non-complying use if it can be shown to be "secondary" at less than 50% of the total square footage.
Since a lot of neighborhood impacting use by Ikea would be in the outside truck loading areas and the use of the building by Ikea would therefore be much more than 50%, the neighbor group and the three Commissioners are calling the less than 50% claim disingenuous and wrong.
The neighborhood group is also claiming the proposed Ikea facility will dramatically increase traffic and negatively impact the Child Development Center on 53rd Street and the general plan mandated 53rd Street Bicycle Boulevard.
The neighbors are asking the general plan be adhered to in letter and spirit and they are claiming this kind of cynical and divisive manipulation should be out of bounds for the city to engage in.
Whatever the council decides, the effects of their decision Tuesday night will be precedent setting. Our new $2 million general plan is being put to the test. All citizens who wish to see how elastic or brittle the general plan is should attend.
Tuesday night at City Hall at 7:15 PM.