Planning Commission approves seven-story apartment complex
Plans for Stillwater’s tallest apartment complex to date have been reviewed and approved by the city’s Planning Commission and are set to move to the City Council for a final review.
A seven-story complex with 204 units containing 704 bedrooms is being proposed for the half block bounded by Elm and Maple avenues on the north and south and Duck and West streets on the east and west. It will cover a majority of the block.
A few rental properties along West Street and a parking lot off Elm Street owned by Eskimo Joe’s make up the remainder of the land use.
The Planning Commission recommends approval of the project as presented, including three key deviations from the city’s form-based code building standards, as long as every side of the building has a consistent look with stone block at the base and a mixture of brick and stucco on the body.
Although the building’s external wall won’t be stepped back 10 feet above the 4th floor as the code specifies, the commissioners found that its staggered design with 5-foot bays breaking up the facade and providing more open space at street level meets the code’s intent of preventing pedestrians from feeling like the building is looming over them.
The building will be set back from the street 25 feet with landscaping and sidewalk widths of 11 feet along Maple and Elm and six feet along Duck Street.
Planning Commissioner Ariel Ross said she still has concerns about the building’s overall scale. She said she thinks including commercial space on the ground floor level might do more to make the area pedestrian friendly.
The goal isn’t just to keep the buildings in the form-based code area from frightening pedestrians, she said. The intent is to actually encourage foot traffic.
Two residents expressed concern about damage being done to streets in the area during construction and having adequate utility service for residents in the area.
Eskimo Joe’s employee Robert Williams said the water lines along West Street are “shot” and scheduled for replacement in 2018.
Juan Sanford, an architect with the project’s design firm Humphreys and Partners, said including commercial space wasn’t an option for this project because of the space needs.
“It was an issue of really needing every square inch,” he said.
Sandord said the developer looked at Oklahoma State University enrollment trends when planning the project and saw steady growth in the number of freshman enrolling over several years. The company believes that trend can be counted on to continue for at least five more years.Read Publication