The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission has recommended a rezoning that could allow about 200 homes on 32 acres near South Illinois Avenue and Centrifuge Way in south Oak Ridge.
The Planning Commission approved the rezoning request 8-0 on Thursday, said Stephen Whitson, Planning Commission chair.
There was no opposition.
The Planning Commission also voted 8-0 to recommend an associated land use plan map amendment.
The rezoning request and land use plan map amendment will now be considered by Oak Ridge City Council.
The property is currently zoned industrial. If approved by Council, the request would rezone the 32 acres as low-density residential.
The property, which is currently vacant, is owned by Commercial Bank. It’s in an area north of South Illinois Avenue and the Summit, south of Mitchell Road and Crossroads at Wolf Creek, east of Lafayette Drive and Midway Lane, and west of Centrus (formerly known as USEC in a building once used by Boeing) and the University of Tennessee Arboretum.
The potential developer was not named in a review of the rezoning request by the Oak Ridge municipal staff.
“The applicant states that the prospective developer for the property plans to develop the site with approximately 200 single-family detached units,” the review said. “This site is 32.32 acres, which would only allow for 176 single-family units, based on the minimum lot area of 8,000 square feet. This does not account for area dedicated to sidewalks, rights-of-way, road, and the required landscape buffer, which would be roughly 25 percent of the 32 acres. Considering this, only approximately 130 single-family units would be permitted by right with the R-2 (low-density residential) zoning designation. Variation from those requirements would require a planned unit development overlay, which would have to come back to the Planning Commission and then to City Council for two readings.”
Duplexes and single-family attached dwellings are a permitted use in the R-2 zoning district, the city staff said, and that could increase the potential density from 130 to 260 units.
The land use plan amendment, which would change the area from business park to medium-density residential, could help lead to more residential development near the city’s center, which would centralize activity in and around downtown, the city staff said before last week’s Planning Commission meeting.
“This results in a more vibrant central core, enhancing its identity, image, and sense of place,” the staff said. “It would also reduce vehicular miles traveled in the city and conserve open space and the natural environment in other parts of the city.”
The staff said there is rapid growth of residential development in the city limits, and there is limited land available.
The staff also said the change would preclude the area from being used for commercial or retail purposes, which in turn would help to concentrate those uses in the new Main Street Oak Ridge development in central Oak Ridge.
“Increasing density in Main Street would allow for more compact development with a diversity of business uses,” the city staff said. “This would activate the space and create more opportunities for social interaction.”
Finally, the staff said, the change would preclude the area from being used for industrial purposes, which would presumably help encourage those uses in the Heritage Center, a developing industrial park at the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge.
“The staff believes that the city has a duty to consolidate such industrial activities in a thoughtful, cohesive manner,” the staff said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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