By CRISTINA JANNEY
The former Catholic Parish Hall in Hays passed its first hurdle Monday in a planned renovation of the historic building into apartments.
The Hays Area Planning Commission approved a zoning change for the property from public and institutional to residential multi-family.
The commission heard a joint application from the Catholic Dioceses of Salina, which owns the property, and developer Todd Co. LLC.
Developer Justin Pregont of Atchison attended the meeting Monday night. The zoning changed passed easily — no one from the public spoke for or against the project.
Pregont is tentatively planning for 12 units in the former parish center, but that can't be confirmed until the project's design phase is completed.
The limestone building, 210 W. 13th, was built in 1907 and was used as a school and administration building for years. The building has not been used for more than five years.
The parish center is under contract, but the developer has not closed on the sale.
Because the parish center is listed as a historical building, it could qualify for state tax credits. The property is also within the Neighborhood Revitalization Program area and is eligible for tax rebates for 10 years.
Pregont said he is unsure what size of apartments the parish center will be able to accommodate or if they will be one- or two-bedroom units.
He will be applying for Moderate Income Housing funds through the Kansas Housing Resource Corp. He said he can't develop the project without that funding. An announcement on application awards will be made in December.
The zoning change will go before the Hays City Commission on Sept. 9 for final approval.
El Charro Addition
The planning commission also approved a replat of the El Charro Addition.
Both the addition's preliminary and final plats were approved Monday.
The addition, 2010 and 2020 E. Eighth, is not in the Hays city limits, but it is within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Jesse Rohr, public works director, who was filling in for the director of planning, said the city does not plan to annex the addition at this time. These properties are served by city water and are part of the Big Creek Sewer District.
The addition is the site of Ol' 40 Express Convenience Store and three apartment complexes, which were all built in the 1940s.
The addition was one lot before 2015. In 2015, the convenience store was split into a separate lot from the apartment buildings. The plat considered Monday would break the addition into four lots, with each apartment complex on a different lot.
The city commission will likely consider the replat at one of its September meetings.