- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Plans for a pair of nine-story buildings in downtown Traverse City that have drawn opposition are moving forward after getting the OK from planning commissioners.

The board voted 7-2 on Tuesday night to recommend that the city commission approve the project, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1Oo33xl ). Property owners and developers Erik Falconer and Joseph Sarafa proposed the mixed-use development along the Boardman River.

The project along Pine Street would consist of two nine-story buildings that contain parking, housing and commercial space. It has sparked debate about how the buildings might affect the character of the popular northern Michigan tourist destination.

Falconer said the project fits with the neighborhood and noted there is a natural buffer created by the river.

“A residential use is an ideal use for this property … and more appropriate than other allowed uses,” Falconer said. “This project should be valued for how it serves people. We have positioned this project so it can be a positive for our city and this region.”

Brenda Quick, leader of a petition drive to cap building heights downtown, said the look of the city is a factor in the area’s tourism industry. “This is about the character of the community, the physical environment,” Quick said. “It’s the reason people come here.”

Planning chairman John Serratelli described the project as a holistic answer to traffic and parking problems. It would include ground-floor retail space and 162 residential units above, including 64 apartments that would qualify for low-income housing tax credits and could be home to area workers.

“Eighty-eight percent of the people who work in downtown don’t live in downtown,” Serratelli said. “They are driving on our neighborhood streets and parking on our neighborhood streets.”


Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, https://www.record-eagle.com



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