City businessman Pete Sides is not happy about the proposed site of a senior citizen housing complex.
Sides, owner of Robert M. Sides Family Music Center at 201 Mulberry St., voiced his concerns Monday about the project to the Williamsport Planning Commission.
Sides said he is not opposed to senior housing but does not want it blocking the view of retail stores and questioned the project's impact on traffic density.
After listening to Sides, the commission recommended City Council grant a conditional-use to the apartment developer, FORTUS Group, of Fort Wayne, Ind.
Commission Chairman Marvin Staiman gave Sides the opportunity to express his views but suggested he should have given them to the council.
"We're an advisory board," Staiman said.
"I don't think it's a good decision to put this in prime retail space," Sides said.
The project would be built on a 45-space parking lot at Mulberry and Via Bella, with parking to be on what now is an adjacent lawn, according to site plans.
Kevin Hogan, director of development for FORTUS, said the design of the complex will have minimal impact on traffic and reminded Sides it was senior citizen housing, not public housing.
John Grado, city engineer and director of community and economic development, said the site can be accessed off Via Bella. There will be no left turns across Via Bella, according to Grado, but there will be access from State and Canal streets, he said.
"It's consistent with the development plans," said Carolyn Bullock, vice president of the commission, following the meeting. She, however, indicated she wants to learn more about the senior housing project unrelated to conditional use of the property.
The city has a sales agreement with the developer for $250,000. The construction of the building is dependent upon the developer receiving notice of award of tax credits through the Pennsylvania Finance Housing Agency.
It is estimated to cost $6 million to build and the developer should know whether it will be receiving the credits by March, Hogan said.
Other recommendations passed by the commission:
* A certificate of appropriateness to Matthew Schauer to add two aluminum doors at an Irish pub and restaurant under construction at West Fourth and William streets.
* A subdivision for Robert Matz at 427 W. Fourth St. Matz has two properties, one he lives in and the other his relatives live in at this site, said Gary Knarr, zoning officer.
* Land development for JDS Partnership at Penn Street and Birkle Court. The land development approval is to develop two parking lots for Steinbacher Law Firm use, Knarr said.
* Land development for Nittany Oil Geo Tech, 2300 W. Fourth St. The company asked for lot consolidation and land development. The business is upgrading for commercial purposes.