City Council makes decision on Nederland apartment complex proposal

Published 6:37 pm Monday, April 17, 2023

NEDERLAND — A Nederland apartment complex developer has to go back to the drawing board after elected leaders denied a request to rezone property for planned development.

By unanimous vote and without comment, the Nederland City Council voted to deny a request Monday evening to rezone 2120 Helena Avenue (the corner of Helena Avenue and 22nd Street) of Cottage Groves from neighborhood retail to multi-family medium density.

According to city administrators, Richie Salenga purchased property 10 years ago at 2120 Helena Avenue, which shares a corner with 22nd Street.

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After the purchase, he demolished a mobile home and cleared the lot. He also owns the land on the right and rear of the property, where apartments currently sit, and planed to construct more apartments.

No one spoke in favor of or against the proposal on Monday. However, City Manager Chris Duque recommended the council deny the request and also shared the city’s planning and zoning commission voted to deny the rezoning request.

The proposal faced an uphill climb to acceptance after numerous residents came out against the effort.

In January of 2010, the City of Nederland went through a process where the entire city was rezoned.

Following that process, there are no areas in Nederland except existing apartment complexes that are zoned R-3 for apartments. Now those seeking new apartment construction in the city must go through a formal request process, public hearing and secure a positive vote from the city council.

A town hall was held in March that did not include a formal vote. During the public hearing, no one spoke in favor of the request. However, a parade of local residents expressed their displeasure with the idea.

Concerns raised included:

  • There are enough apartments in Nederland.
  • More consistent code enforcement is needed for proper city management.
  • Zoning changes would lead landowners to request approval to convert to Section 8.
  • Nederland schools are already not keeping up with current demand.
  • Apartment residents are not invested in Nederland.