Controversial Apartment Complex Approved in Rochester

Posted at: 08/20/2013 6:10 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Rochester's city council meeting was standing room only for a hearing on the 5th Ave. SW and 5th St. SW apartment complex and zoning issue. Some living in the area strongly opposed to the project.
It started more than a year ago when the historic home on 5th and 5th was torn down. Since then the neighbors have been fighting to prevent the apartment complex from going through. But with last night’s meeting the fate of that land was sealed.
The empty lot stirs emotions for many in the quiet historic neighborhood.
"Last night I walked by here and I look over and the building is gone it made me sad and it can't be replaced," said Dale Goodfriend.
Goodfriend has lived near 5th and 5th for years. He was sad when the old home on the lot was torn down last year, but he's down right angry about what's going to be built in its place.
"I can't understand why you put a building that' going to totally dominate the block and the neighborhood next door to it," said Goodfriend.
Goodfriend is not alone. It was standing room only for Monday night’s Rochester City Council meeting.
"This is kind of a tricky issue, it is a transitional area between downtown and we know there is a demand for housing," said City Council President Randy Staver.
The city council voted 4-3 to approve 39 unit apartment building. A decision president Staver says was hard to make.
"Could it be a lot smaller project to accommodate the goal probably, but again it met the criteria as I interpreted it and I felt it warranted approval," said Staver.
There is still one more step ahead. It's final approval depends on if the city attorney finds that it meets Rochester's criteria for a restricted development.
"We might make changes and they'll be some discussion, but it will not be reopened to the public," said Staver.
Goodfriend and other neighbors in the area can't help but feel frustrated.
"The whole community said don't do this to this neighborhood, and yet the council seems to be bent on doing it," said Goodfriend.
It seems the lot will long bring strong feelings to the neighborhood.
"It's a nice looking building it just doesn't belong here," said Goodfriend.
Depending on the September meeting the developer could break ground on the apartment complex in the next few weeks. The hope is to have the building up and running by the end of 2014.