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January 29, 2013

Council to vote on senior housing ordinance

Ordinance on first floor commercial space for later date

The Logansport City Council members will vote on one aspect of senior housing ordinance at its Monday meeting.

Councilman Jeremy Ashcraft, chairman of the council’s planning and economic development committee, said members will discuss whether to allow senior housing in the downtown area, which currently only allows apartments located above commercial spaces due to a zoning ordinance. At a future meeting, Ashcraft said they would consider the ordinance that would require commercial space on the first floor of the senior housing.

The proposed amendment to Logansport’s zoning ordinance would add senior housing for people over the age of 55 in two business zones and high-density residential zones. It would also include one parking space per housing unit and two spaces for staff parking for every 100 units.

The ordinance has been contentious among local business owners, who have expressed displeasure about having to move community events because of the housing and about the housing detracting from the area commerce.

Ashcraft said he would be working with Chris Gaumer, assistant planning director and county zoning administrator, on the commercial space ordinance. He said he did not have an estimate of when that ordinance would be heard.  

At Monday’s planning and development meeting, Councilman Bob Bishop said he understood why business owners were concerned about not having commercial space on the first floor, but also didn’t think there was enough demand for a new business to fill the first floor.

“I see the concern about putting housing downstairs,” Bishop said. “But I also wonder if it’s really a problem at all.”

Arin Shaver, Logansport-Cass County planning director, said it may be hard to find senior housing developers who are willing to include a commercial space in their plans.

Bishop also pointed out that a number of storefronts on the East Broadway and East Market streets were vacant, and not promoting business.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

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