The public will have a say on street names at Mohawk Harbor before the City Council makes its decision.
Council President Leesa Perazzo said on Thursday that she would call for a public hearing on March 7 before the council approves Galesi Group’s proposed street names for the site.
During a committee meeting Tuesday evening, the council considered Galesi’s proposed names — Rush Street, Harborside Drive and Mohawk Harbor Way.
But the request did not move out of committee because council members Marion Porterfield and Vince Riggi expressed concerns about the name “Rush Street,” saying they believe the street shouldn’t be named after the casino operator.
The Mohawk Harbor site will be the future home of the $330 million Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor, which will be run by Chicago-based casino operator Rush Street Gaming.
Galesi is looking for the council to adopt a resolution supporting the proposed names. But street names require an ordinance, and the council cannot vote on an ordinance until the streets are built.
The roads on site won’t be built until this fall. Galesi is requesting the names now for marketing purposes.
An ordinance requires a public hearing, while a resolution does not. Perazzo said it wasn’t clear during Tuesday’s meeting that a public hearing would be included as part of the process.
She said a public hearing should be held before voting on a resolution — even though a resolution is nonbinding.
“I would hate to leave the public hearing until later and then have a strong public opinion,” she said. “It should be the other way around. It wouldn’t be helpful to the developer if the council ended up changing their mind.”
Riggi agreed saying “it doesn’t make sense” to get the public’s opinion after the fact.
Even though the council could change the street names later, Galesi’s marketing would be based on the original names supported by the council, he said.
“We would be backed into a corner to keep those names despite what people say at the public hearing,” he said. “I want to hear from the public first. The public hearing should be called for now.”
The council would still be required to have a second public hearing before the names are finalized with an ordinance.
The proposed Rush Street is an extension of Nott Street off the future roundabout at Nott and Erie Boulevard at the entrance to the Mohawk Harbor site. STS Steel is now located on Nott Street.
Harborside Drive would run the length of the site. Mohawk Harbor Way would be a short street off of Harborside Drive and would be an extension of Maxon Road.
The portion of Harborside Drive from Rush Street to Mohawk Harbor Way would be city-owned, while the stretch from Harborside Drive from Mohawk Harbor Way to the end of the site would be privately owned.
The 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel is being erected now and is expected to open its doors in the fall. Galesi’s 204-unit apartment building, which is also being constructed now, will follow.
The foundation for the casino is in with steel being erected. The casino is expected to open by March of next year, according to Rush Street CEO Greg Carlin. It will have an adjacent 163-room hotel, which would open a few months after the casino.
Also slated for the 60-acre site off Erie Boulevard are condominiums, townhouses and office and retail buildings.
A public hearing scheduled for next Monday’s City Council meeting regarding the parking requirement for residential property in the city’s C-4 Downtown District was pulled from the agenda.
The public hearing was postponed until the Planning Commission establishes new boundaries for the downtown district during its next meeting in March.
The commission’s original recommendation was to cut the requirement from 1.5 spaces per unit to 0 in the entire downtown district. But during a meeting Wednesday evening, the commissioners agreed that some areas of the district are not actually in “the core of downtown” and should still require parking.
The commission is now recommending to the council that the parking requirement be changes from 1.5 spaces to 0 in the heart of downtown and from 1.5 to 1 in the outlying areas of the district.
On Wednesday, the commission approved David Fusco’s proposal for a 52-unit apartment building at 1419 Erie Boulevard with 52 parking spaces. But current zoning in the downtown district requires 1.5 spaces.
That means Fusco would have to get a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, or wait to see if the council approves the commission’s recommendation for one space per unit in the outlying area.
Perazzo said the public hearing would be called for again after the commission agrees on the downtown district boundaries. The council would then vote on the recommended changes following the hearing.
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.