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3-story building approved behind Casey’s

Commercial/residential site plan approved for Windflower Lane

SOLON– Only mild concerns were raised as city council members gave their stamp of approval for a new three-story mixed use building on the south end of town.
A site plan for 500 Windflower Ln., located directly east of the newer Casey’s General Store and diagonal to Solon Learning Academy, was approved unanimously at a June 7 meeting.
The building will feature around 7,500 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, with two levels of apartments above.
Most of the discussion focused around the flow of traffic in the Fox Ridge area, but other than the shifting of a proposed driveway on Windflower Lane and a modification to the height of the building, few issues were raised.
The site plan was recommended for approval with some contingencies by the Solon Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission at a May 18 meeting, City Administrator Cami Rasmussen noted.
P&Z members asked to angle one of the two driveway accesses on Windflower Lane.
The entrance in question is on the southeast corner of the development, City Engineer Dave Schechinger reported.
Design standards require 75 feet distance from the curb of the intersecting road to the driveway, he said, while the developers had proposed something in the mid-40s.
“The concern on that if you look through the different design guidelines is that if a car was blocking that driveway, it would block up that intersection pretty quick, because we don’t have a lot of stacking space there,” Schechinger said. “Usually we like to see at least three cars available.”
Since there is a four-way stop at the intersection, and not a lot of traffic coming from the north, he said, the city could make a modest allowance on the distance.
Shifting the driveway slightly to the north provides approximately 50 feet of distance, he said, although it costs the developer a parking spot.
Council member Lauren Whitehead indicated the area becomes congested during pick-up and drop-off times at the Solon Learning Academy.
“I would worry about things getting worse,” she said.
Schechinger indicated most of the traffic would flow east and west on Prairie Rose Lane. The new development’s access on Prairie Rose Lane would be on the west end of the property, he continued, and so should not be impacted by traffic backed up at the signs.
The proposed building also came in a little tall for the maximum height allowable, 35 feet. Schechinger noted the building came in about two feet too high, but developer Dan Sweeting, of Midwest Home Builders of Iowa City, said it would be no problem to adjust the pitch.
The site plan met requirements for parking and all other issues raised through review have been addressed, Schechinger said.
There was discussion at the P&Z meeting regarding access for truck deliveries, Rasmussen said, but commission members were not able to delve into the subject deeply.
Parking for the 14 apartment units will be in a separated parking lot on the north side of the building with access to only Windflower Lane. Trucks would not be allowed to back in to the lot for rear deliveries, but instead would utilize the commercial parking area on the south side which has two driveways.
Sweeting said he had a potential client looking at 4,000 square feet of the commercial area, with the remainder split between one or possibly two other spaces.
Most of the residential spaces will be two bedroom apartments in the 900 to 1,000 square-foot range renting for $800-900, Sweeting said, with two three-bedroom units.
Council members passed the site plan on a 4-0 vote, contingent on changes to the driveway and building height, as well as clear ownership to the property and the creation of a developer’s agreement.