Crescent Resources should scale back on its plans for 250 apartments on 4.7 acres at the Chateau Villa Apartments site, near UNC Charlotte's main entrance, according to a report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department.
The proposal for four-story buildings close to the adjacent College Downs neighborhood would not represent the best effort to respect the existing community, the planning staff suggested in its analysis of Crescent's rezoning request.
That analysis echoes neighbors' concerns.
Still, planners recommend that the Charlotte City Council approve Crescent's rezoning request for Circle at UNC Charlotte, but with significant changes to the plans.
"Reduce the maximum number of units to 225," planners wrote in a report published last week. "Consider alternatives to enhance compatibility and integration with the abutting neighborhood."
Crescent wants the City Council to rezone the Chateau Villa property, at Mark Twain Road and University City Boulevard, from multifamily to a mixed-use development district.
A Feb. 20 public hearing on the request was postponed and has been rescheduled for March 19.
Crescent's plans call for multiple buildings, parking decks, a clubhouse and pool, and 25,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space. The apartments would be marketed to UNCC students.
Crescent is an established multifamily property owner. It developed Circle at South End and Circle Ninth Street in Durham. Circle West Campus is being built in Austin, Texas. Crescent sold Circle at Concord Mills in December.
Circle communities are designed with a focus on the environment and green living, according to Crescent's website.
The site where it has proposed building now has 66 residential units.
The planning staff says Crescent's proposal for up to 54 units per acre is inconsistent with the University City Area Plan, which recommends up to 17 units per acre.
Attempts to reach the rezoning petitioner at Crescent were not successful.
Residents who attended Crescent's required community meetings reported other concerns as well.
"We have concerns about how this will affect traffic, property values, parking near the proposed development as well as appearances," said Rick Ellis, who lives in College Downs.
Current zoning creates about 500 vehicle trips per day, according to the Planning Department report. Circle at UNC Charlotte would generate more than 4,700 trips per day, according to local officials.
Besides scaling back the number of apartments, the planning staff recommends that Crescent limit building heights to two stories near homes at the back of the property.
The staff also recommends moving buildings farther from the rear property line and adding a buffer from adjoining homes.
Planners also suggested moving a parking deck closer to University City Boulevard and other changes.