The McCall City Council approved a new four-story mixed-use hostel and condominium project in its Central Business District.
The building would sit at 901 Second St. in the heart of downtown. It would feature six hostels, four apartments, a rooftop patio, and 2,712 square feet of retail or office space. As BoiseDev reported, plans to place solar on the rooftop sparked concerns from the McCall Planning and Zoning Commission.
“The solar panel array does two things, it collects solar in the summertime but it also has a bifacial system that collects off of the surface and patio space in the wintertime,” Jeff Hatch with Hatch Design and Architecture previously told the planning and zoning commission. “So you can generate electricity both during the summer and the winter. In the wintertime, these are angled to locate the snow into areas that would then melt and drain.”
Earlier, McCall Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the mixed-use project without the solar panels because of concerns surround “safety and efficiency.” P&Z said various solar panel projects failed because of environmental factors.
“It was our understanding that the concern had to do more about the safety and efficiency of solar panel products that they were familiar with, and less about the concern for height,” Hatch said.And working with planning staff there is an exception for that height in regards to antennas and other such ancillary structures to a building.”
A separate vote was required to override the P&Z decision on the panels. And after some deliberation, the panels passed through the council on a 3-1 vote. This will once again bring the height of the building to around 50 feet.
The hostel would have ten covered parking spots, seven parallel spots, and five public parking spots within 1,000 feet of the building.
But because of congestion during the winter downtown and having to rely on the public spaces, there were three public comments not in favor of the project. The council noted parking is not required in the CBD.
“It was prudent to provide a minimum of two parking spaces for the development per apartment, the four apartments,” Hatch said. “Providing any on a site basis, made the most sense. And then we are also providing an ADA handicap-accessible stall. Then, in working with the Public Works and Engineering Department, they were able to help us design an additional parking space on site. So we’re actually proposing 10 times the required parking for this development to really help meet those parking concerns that were expressed by our neighbors.”
Councilwoman Melanie Holmes voiced concern about the hostels when McCall lacks affordable housing.
“In terms of providing hostel rooms, while I think that’s a very attractive thing that we could get into in our city we really need to focus on affordable housing,” she said. “And right now, bringing in hostel rooms seems a little lacking to me. And I like the idea. I’ve used them in my own history and travel, but it doesn’t seem like where we need to be right now.”
While there were concerns raised over the project, some people are pleased to see the downtown area continue to grow.
“I just wanted to once again express my excitement about this and my approval this of this,” the owner of Crusty’s Pizza, Brian Ward said during the public comment period. “Being a business owner down there, we’ve actually got a couple of businesses that are starting to move in downtown, right next door to us. Any type of foot traffic in that area is huge after five o’clock. There’s not a lot going on down in that area. Currently, as we see people moving in and our city growing and progressing, I would like to see that progression happen as well and I’d like to see it happen basically right into the backyard of the business.”