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University Ave. apartment plan gets Planning Commission nod 

Morgan Management has only one final bureaucratic hurdle to clear in its quest to build a 99-unit apartment complex at 933 University Avenue, in the East Avenue Preservation District. The city's Planning Commission approved the project yesterday. Morgan now goes back to the Preservation Board -- which has already given the project its unofficial support -- for the final signoff.

The Planning Commission's meeting was quick and anticlimactic, given the controversy that has shadowed this project. The opposition, which is led by the George Eastman House, says that the apartment building would be too big, that it would disrupt the view from the historic Eastman property, and that the complex is not permitted under the planned development district which was created in 2011. They also cite potential parking problems.

Project supporters say that Morgan has done everything asked of it to mitigate concerns -- the design has gone through several revisions. They also say that the project will be good for University Avenue, and that the upscale apartments will attract young people and empty-nesters.

At yesterday's meeting, Planning Commission member Heidi Zimmer-Myer said that the project is unique because it has one foot in a preservation district and the other in the diverse University Avenue neighborhood.

Members also said that they are satisfied that the project would not have a negative impact on the surrounding area, and seemed impressed that Morgan would not only save, but upgrade the Monroe Voiture veterans club on the property. Saving the club has boosted the project's odds. The city rarely gives permission to demolish structures in a preservation district.

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