An empty patch of land on South Glenwood Street was the talk of the Town Council on Monday.

Developers from Base Camp LLC hope to build a 20-unit apartment complex at 640 and 650 S. Glenwood St.

It would be the first three-story building in the neighborhood since the town rezoned it last summer to allow structures that tall.

Four studio apartments, two one-bedrooms, 11 two-bedrooms and three three-bedrooms are planned in a 35-foot-tall structure.

While the Town Council unanimously voted to approve the plans, following the lead of both town planners and the Planning Commission, the council and community members had some doubts.

Longtime residents of the neighborhood worried about the size of the development and its effect on traffic and parking.

Neighbor Corie Rybak said at the meeting that she hoped for a better way to ease the neighborhood into more density.

“For some particulars: too tall, too many, parking and traffic as well as the number of tenants and vehicles,” Rybak said.

Rybak also disliked that the plan would allow the apartments to be converted to condominiums someday.

Council members spent much time discussing half a block of sidewalk.

According to the town attorney, it’s probably unconstitutional to make it a condition of approval to build a stretch of sidewalk connecting the property to Snow King Avenue.

“A sidewalk that ends mid-walk is a sidewalk to nowhere, and is of little to no utility for the residents, for the town, for anyone in the public who wants to visit people in these apartments,” Councilman Jim Stanford said.

The additional stretch of sidewalk would extend 150 feet beyond the property at a cost of about $38,000.

Merge Architects principal Elizabeth Whittaker, who represents the developers, said they were open to negotiating.

“I’ve had about 75 conversations about the sidewalk with the owner,” Whittaker said, “so I could certainly have one more, or 10 more.”

The Town Council eventually agreed to amend the proposal to allow cost-sharing between neighbors, owners and the town for constructing the sidewalk and also for preserving some trees.

Councilmen Jonathan Schechter and Stanford also had something to say about the anonymous nature of the Base Camp principals. Stanford asked Whittaker who the owners were, to which she responded: “They’re lovely people, but they are private people” who are in Jackson “quite often.”

“I recognize that we have a legal system in place that allows for these things,” Schechter said. “But it seems to me that if people are going to come into the community, they ought to be proud of what they’re doing and not afraid, [and not] stand behind an LLC, because they have so much pride in what they’re doing and how they’re making us a better community.”

Mayor Pete Muldoon and Vice Mayor Hailey Morton Levinson were uncomfortable with the questions about the owners.

“We should be making policy, and the policy that we make should be valid no matter who applies,” Muldoon said. “I think when we start asking those questions it calls into question our ability to make decisions in an unbiased way.”

If everything continues according to plan, Whittaker said the project is likely to break ground in the spring.

“We need housing in this community,” said Councilman Arne Jorgensen as the vote was called. “And this is supporting housing.”

Contact Leonor Grave by emailing leonor@jhnewsandguide.com.

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