The Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening, passed the first reading of an amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance, which would allow changing the Zoning classification of some lots in the Southern Heights 2nd Addition, from R-2 (Low Density/Single Family) to R-4 (Multi-family). The vote followed a public hearing, during which there were comments from Don Sonntag, the local developer who proposes the construction of multi-family homes, with half of them being upscale rental units, running about $750 to $800 per month. Sonntag says there are still numerous steps remaining before construction could begin, even if the Council does approve the Zoning change.
One of those steps would be his application to the City for a TIF – Tax Increment Financing- District, to make the project “Cash Flow.” The second, and next step, is an “Official” approval of the site plan. The City’s Planning and Zoning Commission has provided a verbal approval of the plan, but Sonntag said he needs to invest $7,500 to nail down the grade, elevation, sewer and water, and other such details.
Sonntag, who spoke in the third person when referring to concerns about what would happen if his health deteriorated and he wasn’t able to follow-through with plans to construct in an R-4 zone, or, if there is enough objection to the rezoning. He said he would be willing to stipulate in the agreement, that it could be rezoned back to R-2. And, if he wasn’t able to move forward, the ground could still be used for someone who wishes to construct a 24 or 30-unit apartment house. Properties to the east and west of the proposed development are already zoned R-4.
Earlier in the meeting, the Council discussed traffic flow concerns on 19th Street, west of Redwood Drive, as it pertains to the rezoning of the parcel. Mayor Dave Jones says the concerns were addressed at a couple of recent meetings of the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission. He says prior to word getting out about the proposed zoning change, there were no known problems with 19th Street, and that includes issues affecting police, and/or fire and rescue.
Jones said he wants the Community Development Committee to review the recommendations from the Police and Fire Chief, along with Medivac Ambulance and others, before any decision is made on the future of 19th Street, including whether it should be made a thoroughfare, and connected to Olive Street to alleviate any real or perceived traffic problems.