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Planning commission recommends new apartment complex

February 7, 2018

The Norfolk Planning Commission gave its blessing Tuesday morning to a proposed apartment complex in Norfolk’s former railroad depot.

Commissioners voted to recommend a preliminary planned development (PPD) and a zoning change from I-2 (heavy industrial district) to R-3 (multiple-family residential district) on property at 211 W. Northwestern Ave.

Vandelay Investments plans to renovate the historic railroad depot into an apartment complex that will have 9-10 units. Since no longer being used as a depot, the building has served, at various times, as a restaurant, bar and teen club.

While some commissioners expressed concerns with an apartment complex so close to railroad tracks, both the development plan and zoning change were recommended on identical 6-1 votes, with Frank Arens casting the lone no vote.

“I think looking at the future long-term growth of Norfolk, that could be a very historic area to Norfolk given its historic past,” said Dan Spray, a member of the planning commission. “What’s already currently down there really fits into a mixed-use type area. I think this would be a good addition. I do have some concern with the tracks being so close to that, but I really think that they’re taking steps to really mitigate that access and make it a safe area.”

Glenn and Robin Wapelhorst are also planning to bring apartments to the area and they are pleased at the prospect of seeing another complex in the area.

“Certainly with that being across the street, Norfolk Junction — as this part of town used to be called — probably has some of the greatest history (in town),” Glenn Wapelhorst said.