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Greenfield sees value in plan that includes space for Lakeland College

10-acre site would also include retail building and funeral home

Dec. 17, 2013

Greenfield — A conceptual review of a plan to build a college classroom building, a retail building and a funeral home on a wooded 10-acre site at about 4000 W. Layton Ave., got a favorable reception at the Greenfield Plan Commission last week.

"It's a promising development to energize the area," said Alderman Karl Kastner, a Plan Commission member.

Lakeland College, which is seeking the classroom space, would bring a lot of potential buyers into the area. Kastner said.

Effective new use

"That can mean nothing but good things for the rest of the businesses," he said, noting that even the added traffic would not overwhelm the neighborhood, given the plan at hand.

Currently, five homes are on the site that developer Ted Larsen, co-owner of Church and Chapel funeral homes, now owns, said Chuck Erickson, economic development and planning director. The city's comprehensive plan calls for a planned-mixed use, rather than single-family homes there.

The classroom building would be first to be built, Erickson said, with work on the proposed retail building starting when enough spaces are leased. The funeral home could be at least a couple of years out, he added.

Trees vs. parking

Considerable discussion took place at the Plan Commission over the potential loss of trees, given that the homes sit on deep wooded lots.

There is enough land for the required parking, but city officials wanted to minimize the amount of trees lost by recognizing that the three types of proposed uses could share parking. City codes call for a certain number of parking stalls for each type of use, Erickson said, "But we don't want paving because the formula says so."

The commission recommended the developer find a balance showing how the timing of parking needs could fit together to minimize loss of trees.

The Lakeland classes would be Monday through Thursday evenings and possibly on Saturday mornings, Erickson said.

Helping minimize the aesthetic impact of lost trees is the city's tree preservation ordinance, which says any specimen trees that are reoved must be replaced onsite, if possible. Specimen trees are usually hardwoods, he explained.

The concept of banked parking might even play a role in city approvals, Erickson said.

The way banked parking works is that if there is room for 50 stalls and only 40 are needed, the remaining 10 could be "banked" in the form of landscaping, he explained. If those additional spaces are eventually be needed they will be there.

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