Hillyer/East Howard Townhomes Seek Residential Use in Commercial Zone Approval

howard ths


Another item of note on tonight’s Decatur City Commission agenda.  The developer of the already-approved 24 townhomes on the west side of Hillyer Place and East Howard is requesting residential use in a commercial zoning district to expand the project across Hillyer on the current site of a vacant industrial building.

hillyer vacant

According to the project application, the project would consist of 11 townhomes that all face the street with two car garage parking in the rear and 6 foot wide sidewalks.

According to the staff report included with the application, the applicant is seeking the following exceptions for the project…

  • Residential Use in a Commercial District
  • Lifecycle Density Bonus
  • Exceptions to the HDSF Design Standards
  • Exceptions to the Special Pedestrian Area Requirements

You can read the full details of each requested exception in the staff report.  (It’s all a bit more complex than the summarized list above suggests.) The Decatur Planning Commission recommended approval of the plan in their January meeting earlier this month.

17 thoughts on “Hillyer/East Howard Townhomes Seek Residential Use in Commercial Zone Approval”

  1. About time. But two-way traffic on Hillyer will need to be addressed. It narrows to an alley next to the pizza joint and continues to be less than two lanes wide between Commerce and Sycamore St. A car turning onto Hillyer from Commerce in either direction has to wait if there’s a car on Hillyer already at the intersection, even though the car on Commerce has the right of way, because the road is simply too narrow to accommodate two cars side-by-side. One-way southbound would make sense.

    1. Leave it skinny — the only traffic problem is for those poor folks driving cars.

      Just abandon this neighborhood to the pedestrians and cyclists. 😉

      1. +1. In historical terms, Hillyer operates as what’s called a “yield street,” meaning that sometimes, when two cars approach, they need to pause and mutually work it out. In terms of safety and livability, this is not a drawback. It’s a benefit.

        No disagreement that it makes for a momentary pain in the ass for cars but, statistically speaking, it’s the safest street type for pedestrians and cyclists because speeds are very slow and maneuvering is considered and cautious. Widening the street will make things faster and more convenient for those passing through, but that’s not necessarily in the best interest of the neighborhood.

        1. Well, given the back driveway of our condo complex comes out on Hillyer, I’m not going to endorse closing it, much as I support making Decatur more pedestrian friendly. But I do think making it one way would prevent a lot of problems as the new development increases traffic. Also, as a former bike commuter., I ran into some very nasty drivers on occasion who were extremely upset they couldn’t pass me on Hillyer. I felt much safer on wider streets..

  2. Noooooo! Widen the road. Its the cut through on the way from all the schools. That light at commerce is impossible to trip.

  3. This looks like a great addition to that area, nice scale, something fresh from the design side and looks well thought out. This is a great fit and will help to support the businesses in that area. Decatur is going to grow and I am happy to see it coming. We all should support this!

  4. Agree this property is ready for development and happy to see movement, but I worry about visitor parking not being accounted for. I think they are slating 24 towhomes across Hillyer too. Adding a possible 35 new homes to the very popular Kimball House patrons, and I think this area may become a big challenege to drive through.

    1. All the more reason to leave the wheels at home and walk the Dequator! (And yes, I’m still trying to get traction on that name.)

      1. Yes, and I am only ever in this area while walking. All too often I see restaurant patrons in desperate search of a spot. If the Carpe Diem space ever gets a new tenant, we might be in real trouble. I would hate for out-of-towners (aka non-Dequator residents) to stop going to MAR or Kimball House because it became too hard to find a spot.

        1. Keep in mind the possibility (not confirmed, at least by me) that the Trinity Triangle will have excess capacity in their deck that can be leased to businesses in the surrounding neighborhood. I’d think pretty much every small business along Howard could meet their requirement it the project ends up with an extra 50 or so spaces. Just a guess, though.

  5. I wonder if slanted parking spots might be added along Howard heading east to allow for more parking than the current parallel spots offer. I’m not sure what the setbacks are for the train tracks, but it seems like cutting into the grassy area just a bit to create parking would help a lot and not encroach that much, if at all, on the rail system’s property.

    Regarding Hillyer, it is our favorite cut-through to school, too, but pulling out onto Commerce from there is dangerous and widening that road will only encourage more cutting through and create more dangerous situations. I think if they corrected the timing of the light at the adjacent intersection, that would alleviate the need for folks to cut through and make Hillyer a safer street. Instead of widening it, they might consider making it a one-way with parking on one side.

    I will be very glad to see this whole area finally redeveloped into something attractive and useful.

    1. Back-out parking is deadly for bicyclists. Way too many drivers don’t look before they start to reverse.

  6. The city should require a La Fonda be included in the development. A Fellini’s with no La Fonda just isn’t right.

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