Master plan

May 16, 2020 - May 19, 2020 Regular MPC Meeting, 1:30 p.m., virtually.  The public can register to attend by video conference by going to the MPC's website. 

On the agenda are a number of requests by developer Patrick Malloy of PMC SRL, LLC. to amend zoning regulations relative to the Eastern Wharf Development master plan for the project between the Savannah River and President Street.

The requested amendments were originally heard at the MPC in February.  

Represented by Savannah Atty. Harold Yellen, the developers are seeking proposed amendments to a previously approved Planned Development regarding Section 8-3351 General Development Standards, Section 8-3353 Definitions – Multi Family Residential Amend Section, and Section 8-3353 Definitions – Stacked Townhouse Amend Master Plan.

Marcus Lotson is serving as the MPC Project Planner for the project.

The developers want to amend a previously approved Planned Development (PD) for the purpose amending existing development standards related to setbacks, definitions and height of the first residential portions of the development.  

The buildings in yellow on the Master Plan diagram above are the residential portions of the project.  What will be called "The Mayor's Buidlings" are three specific locations where significant height changes are being requested, along with changes to setbacks.  Changes are also requested for The Hamilton Buildings for height and general configuration changes.  No architectural designs have been submitted or approved, to date. 

The Eastern Wharf Planned Development is located east of the Historic District and is bounded approximately by General McIntosh Boulevard to the west, Truman Parkway to the east, the Savannah River to the north and President Street to the south, an area of approximately 56 acres in size.

One of the buildings under development burned during construction in February.  The City of Savannah is also developing a new parking garage in the project area.

The master plan is currently governed by Appendix A-2.5 of the Savannah Zoning Ordinance.

The property was originally rezoned in 2004 to the PUD-MXU (Planned Unit Development-Mixed Use) zoning classification to allow for a mixed-use development.

In 2017, the subject property was rezoned to the Savannah River Landing Planned Unit Development with an accompanying Master Plan.

According to the MPC staff report,  the residential portion of Eastern Wharf, which is primarily in the northeast quadrant of the development, has established development standards that were created during the reasoning process. The remaining portion of the development is a mixed-use commercial center.

PMC SRL LC is allowed to build hotels, offices, restaurants and other nonresidential uses.

The proposed amendments to be heard on Tuesday May 19 only apply to certain residential pods and only within the boundaries of the Eastern Wharf Planned Development.

The proposed amendments are in response to building design choices being made by the developer, which they assert will respond to desires found in the current housing market now that the project is underway.

“It is typical in a Master Planned community to adjust housing types and thus development standards throughout the course of the development, due to the length of time that passes from inception of the project to complete buildout,” according to the MPC staff report, and the proposed changes to the existing development standards do not substantially change the nature of the development at large.”

The Changes Sought

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to increase the front yard setback in the identified areas from 12 feet to 25 feet to accommodate courtyard style vehicular drop off;  To define multifamily residential as a building with four or more units, currently defined as 5 or more; To allow a stacked townhome building type with interior lobby / courtyard entrance; To amend the maximum permitted height in two residential development pods (MUR-4B) and MU-R 5B) from 60 feet to 80 feet;

To amend the maximum permitted height in one residential development pods (MUR-1B) 60 feet to 90 feet.

The MPC staff recommends approval of the request to amend the Eastern Wharf Planned Development with some changes.  However, regarding the height request, the MPC staff refers the MPC Planning Commission back to the Master Plan which shows the height of the residential units, which are along the river, at 60’ not the 80’ to 90’ requested by the developers under their desired changes. 

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