Weaver pans housing plan

CITY HALL — Councilman Dave Weaver this week panned a proposed 36-unit affordable housing complex for Salem Street and Central Avenue that has drawn opposition from some nearby residents and merchants.

The City Council voted last month to approve initial plans for the rental project, tentatively called Central City Lights, including a $6.3-million city subsidy.

But on Tuesday, the project returned to the City Council for a hearing on the appeal of the design approval granted to the project. The council voted 4 to 1 to uphold the design approval, citing insufficient evidence to overturn the decision.

While the appeal had dealt with open space requirements, Weaver voted against the design based on what he saw as an issue of compatibility.

“This is supposed to be compatible with the other houses in the neighborhood,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this around.”

The colorful three-story building, he said, would stick out among the street’s muted single- and multi-family residences.

But other council members countered that the project would fit in fine, citing the six-story commercial building to which it would sit adjacent.

“We have two design review boards, that are in my opinion, extremely sensitive to the issue of compatibility,” said Councilman John Drayman.

It was not the first time Weaver had questioned the project, which he has said was inappropriately rushed through the city’s planning system in order to meet funding deadlines.

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