Changes to Aggieville, Urban Core coming in future city ordinances

Drive-thru’s, gas stations, and parking lots will soon have no place in Aggieville. At Tuesday night’s meeting, Manhattan City Commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance which would amend Article IV of the Manhattan Zoning Regulations. According to John Adams, senior long range planner, the amendments to the zoning regulations come at the recommendation of the recently-passed Aggieville Community Vision.

“The amendments are intended to stop further auto-centric development from happening,” Adams said. “Since the goal of the Aggieville plan is to create a vibrant urban design, this kind of urban design doesn’t really achieve that end.”

Adams noted the amendments seem insignificant now, but will become more noticeable as properties redevelop.

The first amendment targeted gas stations and drive-thrus, while another stated a business may no longer place a parking lot between the sidewalk and front of a building. The third amendment would prevent new vehicle access points along Moro street, which referenced the current parking lot on the corner of eleventh and Moro.

The first reading was unanimously approved.

Commissioners also approved the first reading of an ordinance to zoning regulations that would establish the Urban Core Residential District and regulations for signage within the UCR. The proposed urban core, which is a four block strip east of campus from Vattier street north to Ratone, is the direct result of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan update.

“The idea is to promote a high-density, multi-family development with accessory retail in close proximity to Kansas State University and Aggieville,” stated Adams.

The maximum height allowance for buildings would be 85 feet, and also establish a minimum dwelling amount of 58 units-per-acre. Neighborhood commercial services would be allowed on the ground floors of any structures, while the signage would be geared toward bicyclists and pedestrians.

“The creation of the district provides incentive for landowners to develop at higher densities.”

Adams said other college towns have seen success with similar districts, and the UCR could be expanded eastward in the future. The Manhattan Urban Area Planning Board recommended both items for approval on May 1. A second reading of each ordinance will be considered in June.

The commission also approved first reading of an ordinance rezoning 1125 Waters street from a residential district to a neighborhood shopping district. The applicants listed for the proposed rezoning are William E. and Sharron Washington, Washington Rentals, LLC.

The property owner is KSU Charitable Real Estate Foundation, Larry Fox. The Washington’s would like to purchase the property and have requested the rezoning to establish a dance studio.

Commissioners discussed a proposal from Kansas State University President Richard B. Meyers to purchase the KSU Institute of Commercialization building from the city.

The City constructed and financed the building in 2007 using the Economic Development Fund, and has since completed the bond payments for the $5.6 million project. The building houses 300 employees and brings significant tax dollars into the city.

City manager Ron Fehr noted the Institute for Commercialization has been another successful economic development endeavor completed by the city. K-State has proposed a 15-year repayment period.

“I think what President Meyers has in mind in acquiring the building is part a larger university initiative around NBAF, around the global food system, around the research park,” said Kent Glasscock, vice president of finance at K-State.

“We’ve really started to hit a sweet spot in this relationship between the city and Kansas State University,” concluded Glasscock. “This relationship that we’ve entered into is the envy of other university communities across the country.”

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