A developer, whose plans for a large multi-use project in downtown Mebane were voted down in July by the city’s planning board, has submitted several revisions to the project, hoping to win city council approval when the matter returns to the council’s agenda next week.
Mebane’s interim development director Ashley Ownbey updated the planning board in August on the changes that the city has received since the board voted unanimously, 7-0, against rezoning for the project.
The project proposes major changes for a long-dormant two blocks along Washington Street which was the former long-time home of the Kingsdown mattress factory. At its August 1 meeting, the city council agreed to the developer’s request for a delay, until its October 3 meeting, to resume consideration of the proposal.
One building, the so-called “cotton building,” at the corner of Washington and Third Streets, would be preserved. Other parts of the Kingsdown office and manufacturing facility would be torn down to make way for buildings designed to have retail space on the first floor, with apartments above.
In its preliminary revised plans, the developer has agreed to reduce the density of the project, one of the key reasons for opposition from planning board members and some neighbors. The reduction also improves the ratio of parking, another of the points drawing opposition during the planning board’s original consideration.
The three proposed buildings along West Holt Street would be reduced from four-stories high to three, with a reduction in the number of apartments from 268 to 217. The two new buildings along Washington Street would remain four stories, with some retail space on the ground floor and apartments above.
However, the retail space intended for the ground level of two of the buildings facing Washington Street would be more than halved, from 21,056 square feet to 9,396.
The effect of both changes will be to have on-site parking sufficient to support the residential and commercial aspects of the project, without seeking various contracts with a church and the Mebane library for use of their parking lots; it also will make unnecessary some of the waivers requested by the developer.
Other updated changes to the plan include modifying the internal lighting to be more concentrated within the project, rather than spilling over to adjacent, particularly residential, areas; providing open space on top of the two, four-story buildings along West Washington Street; and adding 10 parking spaces explicitly for electric cars.
The council will take up the revised plan at a public hearing Monday night at 6:00 p.m. in the council chambers.