Planning commission denies rezoning for Willow Grande tower


by Joe Arnold

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Updated Thursday, May 16 at 5:14 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Cherokee Triangle neighbors argue that "size matters," and Thursday the Metro Planning Commission agreed, rejecting a zoning change that would have paved the way for the 17 story "Willow Grande" condo tower.

By an 8 to 1 vote, the commission also rejected a request by the developer to delay the zoning decision for one month.

"We feel that they upheld our neighborhood plan and it was important and essential," said Peggy Elgin, Cherokee Triangle Association Board President.

Despite the existing 20 story condo tower at 1400 willow, planning commission members said the proposed 17 story tower down the street would be "overbearing" for the area.

Commission members agreed, however, that the existing Bordeaux Apartments the tower would replace are also not a good fit.

"We think this developer, other developers can come up with a plan that fits our neighborhood and agrees with the zoning that's there," Elgin said.  "And we look forward to something new."

"We know that developers can come up with something that belongs there and looks right and looks appropriate and fits with the neighborhood," added Tim Holz, a Cherokee Triangle resident.

All but one commissioner, Vanessa Burns, voted to deny the zoning change. 

Burns called the existing Bordeaux Apartments "God awful" and argued the city needs investments to grow its tax base, and infill neighborhoods.  Burns had wanted a delay to give the developer and the neighborhood time to reach a compromise.

"One would hope that between the applicant and the community we can come up with some alternative because clearly they didn't like what was proposed," Burns said. "That's all you can do.  The majority rules."

Barring a Metro Council override of the vote, planning commission rules state that the developer now has to wait two years before requesting the zoning change again, unless the new request is substantially different from the one rejected on Thursday.