An ordinance that would approve a rezoning to allow for multiple townhouse buildings to be constructed on the property at 1703 E. 23rd St. received its first reading Monday before the Independence City Council.

MACO Development Co. wants to have the 7.51 acres covering the two plats of undeveloped land at that address, which is just west of the recently closed Ryan’s Steakhouse, rezoned from R-6 (single-family residential) and R-12 (two-family residential) to R-18/PUD (moderate-density residential/planned unit development). The proposed project, tentatively named “Oakbrook Gardens,” would be restricted to rental for low-income seniors (age 55 and older).

The project would consist of three buildings with eight units each and five buildings with six units each, along with a 1,500-square-foot community building at the entrance. The Planning Commission voted 5-0 against recommending this project at its meeting last week, as there had been several protests filed from neighboring property owners.

“I think there’s been some concerns with the density of the apartments,” Council Member Curt Dougherty said.

But Dougherty confirmed with Community Development Director Tom Scannell that, had the property been developed as it is currently zoned for, the population density wouldn’t have been much different, and family housing with children generally creates more traffic than a group of senior houses would.

Dougherty also noted that MACO recently constructed the Grandview Estates senior housing project in his district, on East Salisbury Road west of Missouri 291.

“It’s a real asset to the community; I guess there’s a 50-person waiting list,” he said. “I hope we can work this out.”

The ordinance will have its second reading at Tuesday’s regular Council meeting.