Town Council to vote on first-floor apartments for first time

STRASBURG — Back in November, the Strasburg Town Council voted to allow ground-floor apartments in the town’s commercial district, subject to approval of specific applications submitted to the Town Council.

Now, the new provision will have its first test case.

In a Tuesday meeting, the Planning Commission voted to advance an application by Douglas Boyd to lease a total of eight ground-floor apartments to tenants on four properties on West King Street.

The move means that the Town Council will consider Boyd’s application during its meeting in February.

Tuesday’s unanimous vote came with little of the fanfare of previous discussions about the ground-floor apartments.

Some Planning Commission members expressed concern about how much available parking there would be for potential residents, because Boyd asked the town for a reduction in the number of on-site spaces he is required to have.

In response to their concerns, Boyd offered to limit all of the nearby spaces he owns to use by his tenants, rather than allow nearby businesses to use them.

“I can dedicate that all, if that’s the town’s wishes, to parking strictly for tenants,” Boyd said.

But Planning Commission members did not take Boyd up on his offer.

Instead, the Planning Commission members mostly approved of Boyd’s application to have first-floor apartments on his properties.

The one condition they favored was proposed by Boyd.

Boyd is planning to participate in Strasburg’s façade program, where he will renovate the exteriors of some downtown buildings. Toward the end of the meeting, he said he would support a decision to condition the ground-floor apartment approval on his fulfillment of the façade renovations.

“I have no problem with the town attaching under the special use guidelines that I will fix the façade of all of these buildings, because I’m going to do it,” Boyd said.

The Planning Commission took Boyd up on his offer, suggesting that the Town Council add that condition when they vote on the matter in February.

It remains to be seen whether the Town Council will be as amenable to Boyd’s application as the Planning Commission was.

The provision that allowed for Boyd’s application barely passed the council in a 4-3 vote when it came up in November.