THIS IS AN ARCHITECTURAL RENDERING of what a new southeast Cairo apartment complex will look like. The project is being developed by Cairo businessman Jeremiah Horne. The new development is to be built just west of U-Save-It Pharmacy.
Local developer Jeremiah Horne has earned a reputation of being one to seek changes to or relief from the City of Cairo’s code of ordinances and zoning regulations. Horne’s appearance before the Cairo City Council on Monday night was no different.
Horne, representing True North Way, LLC, is seeking the rezoning of property on Fourth Street S.E. from R-3 Multiple-Family Residential District to R-PUD Residential Planned Unit Development District with plans to construct three apartment buildings with 16 units each, a mixture of one and two bedroom apartments.
Horne could have constructed the project under the R-3 zoning, but he said the style would have been similar to a “long narrow motel” and with R-PUD zoning he can layout the three structures in an attractive fashion.
The one bedroom units will be 500 square feet and the two bedroom units range from 725-750 square feet, he said.
However, Horne was proposing to plan for only 1.25 parking spaces per unit. Standard zoning requires two spots per unit, but at another project near Zaxby’s, Horne agreed to restrict half of the units to be rented to senior citizens and the requirement was dropped to 1.5 spaces per unit.
Horne told the council Monday night that based on his experience, 1.5 is too many and he settled on 1.25 spaces per unit for this project in southeast Cairo.
“I lived in an apartment 40 years ago and if I came home from work and couldn’t find a parking spot I’d be hot,” Councilman Lannis Thornton told the local developer.
Horne agreed, but said that was a management issue and he would deal with visitors taking up spaces used by residents.
Horne also said that due to the smallness of these apartments, they would not be the “gathering spot” for residents and friends.
Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Cox asked if the problem was that 1.5 spaces would not fit on the property as the development has been designed or if it was a matter of cost.
Horne said that he could configure it in such a way to add the additional parking spaces if that was what the city was going to require contingent on approval being given at the Monday night meeting and not delayed.
Cairo city manager Chris Addleton advised the council to stick with 1.5 spaces per unit. He noted that at Horne’s other development that includes 1.5 spaces per unit and those are “tiny apartments” and these units will be larger.
City building official Brian Hayes warned the council about not holding up the two spaces per unit required by the zoning ordinance even if the property was rezoned to R-PUD. Addleton said he understood Hayes’ concerns, but he and city attorney Thomas L. Lehman both said that the purpose of R-PUD zoning was to provide the developer relief from requirements such as setbacks and, in this case, parking.
After much discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Cox offered a motion to approve the rezoning contingent on the site plan being revised to 1.5 spaces per unit and the motion passed unanimously.
Horne claims the development will be constructed using a “passive house standard” that results in a 90 percent reduction in heating and cooling. According to the developer, this permits him to rent his apartments at a rate of $700-$725 for one bedrooms and $800-$850 for two bedrooms including all utilities.
Horne says Cairo suffers from an aging rental stock and although monthly rents offered are typically lower, the utility bills paid by those renting the older rental property is significantly higher, which he says makes his developments more attractive to renters.
Principles of passive building are: Employs continuous insulation throughout its entire envelope without any thermal bridging; The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air; Employs high-performance windows (double or triple-paned windows depending on climate and building type) and doors – solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes in the heating season and to minimize overheating during the cooling season; Uses some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation.
Instead of building parking spaces he says he does not need, the developer said he can eliminate asphalt which in turn reduces runoff and results in more landscaping.
The approximately 3.4 acre tract where the new development is to be built is currently a vacant, overgrown lot.