A second, mixed-use project proposed for the former Coca-Cola plant north of downtown is one vote away from the site rezoning necessary for the development plans.
The Board of Aldermen set several conditions under a 5-0 vote Thursday for the zoning change that will allow developer Catoctin Overlook to repurpose the North Market Street site for residential and commercial or office use. If the developer agrees to the conditions within a 90-day period, the aldermen will vote to rezone the property itself at a future meeting.
The site is zoned for general commercial use but must be changed to mixed-use zoning to allow the residential and commercial uses proposed.
Conditions recommended by city planning staff and approved by city officials require the developer to continue the Rails With Trails bike path across the property, and to preserve the street-front facade of the historic warehouse building on the property.
The two-story, red-brick building built in 1947 once served as Coca-Cola’s local bottling and distribution center. The aldermen previously voted down a historic preservation overlay for the site, contrary to the recommendation of the Historic Preservation and Planning commissions. Several elected officials said they wanted to maintain the site’s historic value, however, even without a historic overlay.
“It means a whole lot to me,” Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said of the historic preservation.
Alderman Josh Bokee said that ensuring preservation even without the overlay shows the process works.
Tricia Beisler, owner of Catoctin Overlook, previously expressed commitment to the preservation restraints set forth and reviewed by city planning staff and commission members.
Project master plans and a request to waive the dedicated parkland requirement will also be considered for final board approval at a future public hearing.
Plans include repurposing three-quarters of the plant’s 12,400-square-foot distribution center building as a commercial or office space, and constructing a 112,700-square-foot multifamily building with 86 units.
The new residential building will incorporate architecture that reflects the design of the historic buildings, including flat roofs and use of brick materials and smooth-faced stone.
Most of the remaining buildings at the plant, totaling roughly 24,000 square feet of warehouse and garage space, would be demolished.
The project must provide 500 square feet of dedicated parkland per residential unit under city requirements for infill development for a total of 43,000 square feet, or just under 1 acre. Although the developer may pay a fee in lieu of the parkland, an option recommended by the Parks and Recreation Commission, Catoctin Overlook asked to waive the requirement entirely.
Given the site’s proximity to three public parks, along with the developer’s commitment to continue the Rails With Trails bike path across the property, the Planning Commission members recommended the waiver.