Controversial Willow Grande gets green light - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Controversial Willow Grande gets green light

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Metro Council chambers were far from cordial Thursday night as the Willow Grande controversy again got a crowd riled up. Metro Council chambers were far from cordial Thursday night as the Willow Grande controversy again got a crowd riled up.
Even though the city's Planning Commission vetoed the condo project, the Metro Council voted to approve it. Even though the city's Planning Commission vetoed the condo project, the Metro Council voted to approve it.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Amid criticism that some Metro Council members wanted a well-known developer's condo project to through and against their neighborhood concerns,  there were plenty of jeers inside council chambers Thursday night. The Willow Grande project is a go and many Cherokee Triangle neighbors are not happy about it.  Even though the city's Planning Commission vetoed the condo project, the Metro Council voted to approve it, on the condition that the commission makes the developer and neighbors work together.

Metro Council chambers were far from cordial Thursday night as the Willow Grande controversy again got a crowd riled up.  The Jefferson Development group is proposing a 17-story luxury condo tower for the Cherokee Triangle. Many residents complain size matters and the reason zoning was denied is because the building doesn't fit with the neighborhood plan. They say apartment complexes from decades gone by like the 70's and 80's stick out like sore thumbs. The neighborhood plan aimed to keep that from happening again.

Cherokee Triangle resident Peggy Elchinsaid she questioned the council's judgement, "We had that plan in place since 1989 and I don't know why it's not a good plan anymore."

Project supporters say the new building will be a great addition to the neighborhood and is a much better option than the deteriorating building  there now. They also point out the Willow Towers nearby is 20 stories.

Metro council members were mixed on the issue. And, even though it's his district, Councilman Tom Owen said he had to recuse himself because of a conflict of interest.

"My brother literally owns a 24 to 25 unit apartment building directly across from this site," he said.

In the end, the council voted 14 to 7 that the project should go back to the Planning Commission in the hopes of a compromise.      

Cherokee Triangle Association President Tim Holz said, "We of course, are very disappointed there was obviously some heavy political will behind this."

Developer Kevin Cogan sent a statement saying:

"We realize that there are a significant amount of neighbors who are genuinely concerned over issues that may affect their area, " he continued, " the Cherokee Triangle is one of the crown jewels that make up the great fabric of our city."

"We have always been very respectful of projects we develop, as was the case with the Park Grande," Cogan finished, "Willow Grande has the potential of becoming yet another Landmark to our city."

Councilman Owen suggested in his own statement that Willow Grande could work if it were more the scale of the building next door, it's 11 stories high. 

The Metro Council will have final approval of the project.

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