City council’s last step in making expansion plan a reality

A proposed 50-foot live/ work building in Village West is back for final approval Tuesday, July 24.

The Claremont City Council will review the proposed project, set to take over the now vacant Rich Product building on the corner of Oberlin Avenue and First Street. The 4-story structure with internal parking garage and adjacent 30-foot building gained unanimous approval from the planning commission late last month.

Tentatively titled “The Village Lofts,” the project is geared at fitting the “urban environment” called for in the Village West  expansion plan. The 1.66-acre parcel includes retail and live/work spaces on the first 2 floors, with residential apartments on the 2 floors above and a rooftop pool. A restaurant is proposed for the corner space on the first floor. A parking garage with 140 spaces will also be included, 61 of which will be reserved for residents of the building. The adjacent 30-foot structure will contain 5 two-story live/work spaces, similar to those in The Packing House.

Despite the development’s initial approval by the commission, many residents came forward in opposition. Reasons cited include increased traffic as well as the building’s height and zoning, both of which are not in compliance with city code. The city is proposing that code changes be made to accommodate the project.

The council will review a proposal to change the maximum height of buildings typically allowed in the city’s commercial mixed-use zones. The development’s design exceeds the 3 story or 40-foot maximum. An additional 10 feet was added to accommodate the last level of the building’s design, according to Chris Veirs, senior planner for the city. The zone change is proposed given that it is the last parcel available for development in Village West.

Planning commissioners lent their approval to both changes as well as to the project as a whole.

“This is an attempt to make a viable city reemerge in a time when densities are increasing,” said Commissioner Martin McLeod. “We are trying to manage those densities intelligently, and the flexibility that this project is proposing is wonderful.”

The council will review a proposed Multi-Family Rental Housing Ordinance, calling for an annual review of such facilities to ensure proper maintenance and code enforcement. The city hopes the review will help reduce crime rates sometimes associated with such complexes. A request to award the contract for the new parking meters at the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park will also be examined.

The regular meeting of the Claremont City Council begins at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chamber, 225 W. Second St. The full agenda is available at

—Beth Hartnett


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