A Dallas developer is proposing up to 204 apartments stacked in three- and four-story buildings in the 800 and 900 blocks of Florida Road, about a half mile northeast of Chapman Hill.
The apartments would be rented at market-rate, with the exception of 16% of the units that would be priced affordably. The city would need to annex about 16 acres on the east side of Florida Road where the development is proposed.
If approved, the development would be the largest multifamily rental project in Durango that incorporates long-term affordable rental housing, said Mark Williams, city planner.
The city held a virtual meeting this week with J Street Companies and about 40 area residents to provide details of the proposal and to answer residents’ questions. Several public hearings are planned for later this spring and summer.
Williams said residents’ concerns focused on traffic impacts and protection of the Animas City Cemetery that sits near the site. The city is working with several organizations on possible solutions to limit impacts for the cemetery, including possible fencing so the graveyard doesn’t become an unofficial playground or open space for residents of the prospective apartments.
While the developer is calling for 194 to 204 apartments in three- and four-story buildings, but some of those details could change as it moves through the city’s predevelopment and approval processes, Williams said.
Shea Byers, director of real estate at J Street Companies, did not respond to a request for comment about how many units are planned to be one- and two-bedroom units and studios.
The placement of buildings on a hillside will complicate construction, Williams said. A soil study is planned to ensure there are no disturbances – soil slumping or slides – to nearby neighbors.
“It’s a tricky site because there’s some slopes and shale, so we’re doing a soils report to analyze the soil so we won’t impact any of the neighbors with developing,” he said.
Planned amenities include a swimming pool, a gym, connections to nearby existing trails, and open space with picnic tables and a playground, he said.
The city is also exploring potential pedestrian and transit connections to the site, he said.
The city is asking J Street Companies to price 16% of the units at affordable rates, the same percentage the city requires for units in its fair share housing program. The city does not yet have a fair share program for rentals, although details of such a program are expected to roll out in September or October. The city would need to annex properties in the 800 and 900 blocks of Florida Road, which gives the city the ability to ask for affordable units.
“Whenever the city annexes property it has a lot of discretion to ask for certain things in a development that we wouldn’t have if it was already in the city limits,” Williams said. “And so, we’re asking for 16% of the units to be affordable, (to) have long-term affordability.”
He said the development would be the largest multifamily rental project in Durango that has long-term affordable units. The next closest project would be the Gauge Apartments, which are under construction and include a 10-year 16% affordability component, he said.
The first of several public hearings about the proposal is scheduled with the Durango Planning Commission for April 24. On June 20, the project will go before Durango City Council in another public hearing. And two more hearings are planned for later in the year but have not yet been penciled into the city’s calendar, Williams said.