A move to increase density in downtown Sidney by allowing buildings over four storeys high has been put on hold after a proposed five-storey mixed-use development on Third Street ignited concerns from both council and the public.
The development, which would take the place of the old McLarty’s building at 9818 Third St., was first discussed at a meeting of council on July 3. It has since met with opposition from residents and council alike due to its appearance and the fact that a variance permit would have to be issued to allow for the five-storey structure.
“I can’t support it in its current form, I’m not satisfied with the massing. It’s too monolithic on three sides,” said Coun. Marilyn Loveless during the Aug. 13 council meeting.
“There are four main issues here,” said Loveless. “The height, the massing, the building materials they’re using and lack of setback in some parts of the building.”
During the public hearing portion of the same meeting a few residents also spoke on the possible impacts of allowing such a development in downtown Sidney.
“Many of us welcome the fact that there would be a modern-looking apartment building [where] the old McLarty’s building is now, however I have a concern that by putting in the five-storey building that [council is] bending the bylaw,” said Floyd Johnson, a resident in the Stone’s Throw development on Second Street, who added that once the bylaw was “bent” once, it would lead others to want to do the same. “The rules are set and they shouldn’t be bent by an inducement from a developer.”
The development would consist of ground floor commercial units, 28 multifamily dwelling units and two levels of underground parking. The developer proposed to add $345,000 worth of amenities in exchange for Sidney council bumping up the allowed height of the building.
The next meeting of council is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.