Westwood continues to work towards a zoning solution for nearly eight-acre Entercom property in the heart of the city. While it is still a work in progress, the Westwood Planning Commission Monday night grappled with the idea of potentially creating standards for a planned multi-family residential district that would allow a higher-density residential development.
A zoning text proposal created by City Clerk Fred Sherman proposed a two-track multi-family housing district that allowed more uses and more density in commercial overlay districts. The planning commission has talked about allowing more dense development with fewer restrictions along the perimeter of the city – notably the commercial strips along the 47th Street corridor and along Rainbow Blvd.
Sherman’s draft proposal for the commercial districts included assisted living, skilled nursing and continuing care retirement facilities. Those uses were not allowed in other areas under the proposal. Much of the focus has been on potential redevelopment of the Entercom property which sits across from Westwood View Elementary School and is surrounded by residential properties. A developer with an option to purchase the property approached the city about a possible senior living development. Planning commission members have not expressed support for assisted living senior housing on the site.
Planning commission chair Chris Ross said he believed Entercom could be used for a more dense single-family development that pushed the housing units closer together and opened up more green space, essentially keeping the total lot coverage consistent with current residential standards. Ross also suggested requiring sidewalks and keeping green space open to the public with no gated communities.
Commission member Rob Junk said he believed larger sites – more than four acres – should have a mixture of housing styles like is found in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The plan commission is still working out ideas on setbacks and other restrictions that might apply to a new housing type for the Entercom lot. It is expected to see a new draft of guidelines in the next month.