Hearing set on Gilbert apartments - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Hearing set on Gilbert apartments

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Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 6:34 pm | Updated: 3:15 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A long-delayed appeal of a Gilbert ruling that conventional apartment complexes can’t be built at the Main Street Commons without a use permit is expected to move forward Wednesday.

The town’s Planning Commission, which also serves as its Board of Adjustment, is set to hear developer Opus West make its case that it has the right to build apartments that aren’t “loft-style,” with retail or office space on the first floor.

Gilbert zoning administrator Mike Milillo ruled in July that the project’s approved development plans does not allow for standalone apartment complexes, and the developer’s appeal was first scheduled for a hearing in September.

Since then. Opus’s attorney, Mike Withey, asked for and received five delays on the hearing, the last one in February.

This week, it’s actually going to go forward, he said.

He said that during the last eight months the project’s developers have tried to come up with alternatives to build the residential piece of the project, but “eventually we just came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to get the issue decided,” Withey said.

He contends the previous developer of the project never committed to building the apartments as lofts at hearings where the project was approved back in 2005.

Milillo said in his ruling that there are no indications that the developers sought to build stand-alone apartments at Main Street Commons, and planning staff recommended that only loft-style residences be approved for the site.

Economic conditions and financial hardship has delayed development on most of the Main Street Commons site, but the first piece, a Hyatt Place hotel, is scheduled to open late this month.

The Planning Commission’s meeting will begin 6 p.m. in the council chambers at the Gilbert Municipal Center, 50 E. Civic Center Drive. The board will also be asked to approve a use permit for Gilbert’s first convention center, the SanTan Elegante Conference Center, which is to feature a 10,000 square-foot ballroom that can seat up to 790 people.

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