OK eyed for Kent building to be taller than zoning code allows

Record-Courier Staff Report Published:

Fairmount Properties will ask Kent's Board of Zoning Appeals to allow a planned apartment and restaurant building to be slightly taller than the zoning code allows in downtown Kent.

The Cleveland-based developer behind two completed mixed-use buildings in downtown Kent will ask the board for a 2-foot-3-inch height variance for its third building, which will house the Italian-themed restaurant Bricco on its first floor and 32 apartments on the upper four floors. The board meets at 7 p.m. Monday.

The proposed building will be located at the southwest corner of South DePeyster and East Erie streets, directly east of the completed Fairmount buildings on East Erie Street and South Water Street, which are anchored by offices for Ametek and Davey Resource Group.

Kent's zoning code allows for buildings in the Commercial-Downtown District to be up 60 feet tall. According to city records, Fairmount's plans for the apartment building call for the building to be 60 feet 3 inches tall facing Erie Street and 62 feet 3 inches tall on Locke Lane, formerly known as Alley No. 5, because of the slope of the land.

Fairmount also is seeking variances to allow the building to occupy 62 percent of the frontage on Locke Lane, instead of the required 70 percent, and to construct the building 17 feet away from the property line. Kent's zoning code currently allows no setback from the front property lines in the Commercial-Downtown District, but Fairmount wants to use that space along Locke Lane for a short-term parking area, sidewalks and dumpster access.

Fairmount officials said building on a property with "a large grade change (that) fronts on three public streets" constitutes exceptional circumstances, which are required in order for the board to issue zoning code changes.

The building received site-plan approval from Kent's Planning Commission last month, with commissioners voting unanimously to approve the project.

A Fairmount Properties spokesman has said the apartments will be marketed to young professionals and retirees, not students.

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