The owner of these two houses--248 and 250 Columbia Street--was at the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday night to submit an application for site plan approval. He intends to demolish the two houses and build on their footprint one new building that will have five one-bedroom apartments. The applicant said that Peter Wurster, code enforcement officer, had reviewed and approved the plans for the new building, but, checking the bulk requirements in the city code, Cheryl Roberts, city attorney and counsel to the Planning Commission, raised a red flag.
The site is zoned R-4, and the minimum required size for a "dwelling unit" in R-4 is 1,500 square feet. Roberts pointed out that an apartment is a "dwelling unit," and since the total square footage of the new building being proposed is 1,700 square feet, there is no way that each of the five apartments can be 1,500 square feet. It seems like it may be time to refine the code and clarify the terminology.
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