City Council last week approved a senior housing project at Via Bella and Mulberry Street, moving a four-story senior housing complex a step closer to reality.
FORTUS Group plans to purchase what is now a parking lot of real estate for $250,000 and develop the housing complex.
Council's decision did not sit well with Pete Sides, owner of Robert M. Sides Family Music Center at 201 Mulberry Street.
Sides had the vision to develop his business on blighted property in that area 27 years ago and is understandably not thrilled about a four-story senior housing project obstructing the view of his one-story store and signage from the nearby Beltway.
He also expressed concerns for congestion that will develop in the area from residents using the four-story housing project.
Sides said he would have no objection to a one-floor retail development across the street from his music center.
But the housing is a permitted use in the area where it is proposed and fits the city's Comprehensive Plan.
Perhaps as the project is reviewed more during the development phase care can be taken to situate the housing in a way that will not completely obstruct the music center.
That said, the city needs senior housing, the developers want it in a place where it is a permitted use, it fits the Comprehensive Plan, and might bring additional retail traffic downtown, so it's understandable council would approve the project.