We were scanning the zoning calendar today and noticed a plan for three properties at the corner of Carlisle & Jefferson, two of which are currently sitting vacant. According to public record, Templetown Properties owns the building at 1603 Jefferson St. while the City owns the two empty lots next door. Thanks to a VPRC resolution from last month though, we see that the City has sold off the vacant lots to this developer. The aforementioned zoning calendar suggests a plan to demolish the building and construct a new project on the combined 5,000 sqft parcel.

View from the west
From the east

The project calls for a new building with 40 apartments, even though the code allows a mere 13 units by right. We aren’t sure how tall of building would be required to get to that unit count, but we’d think it would need to rise at least five stories. This would trigger a height refusal as well as a density refusal, and if we’re thinking about it there might end up being an open area refusal as well.

In our experience, such a project will face a tough road at the ZBA, particularly because of the requested added density. Then again, if the project has the support of the community and the councilman, it will probably cruise through the process. On the other hand, we don’t see why the community or the councilman would support a dense student housing development in this area, as supporting such a project would run counter to what we’ve seen in the past.

Hey, this is a pro development blog and we certainly hope the developers are successful in building what they’re trying to build. But even we can recognize when a developer is maybe stretching a bit too far, trying to cram too many units into one parcel. We’re not sure what they’ll argue regarding hardship, but we’d be interested to learn their intended strategy, and perhaps learn a thing or two. Assuming they’re successful, of course.