The Panther Hollow Trail In Danger
These people requesting the variance are presumably the responsible property owners who leave an open & unsealed abandoned garage full of broken beer/liquor bottles & other things next to a playground, yes?
Yes, fortunately variances don’t operate on precedent like other laws, they are special relief from the law for specific cases, determined on an individual basis, sort of similar to why police are allowed to break speed limits when necesary in special instances, it doesn’t change the law for anyone else.
“These people requesting the variance are presumably the responsible property owners who leave an open & unsealed abandoned garage full of broken beer/liquor bottles & other things next to a playground, yes?”
Yep. That garage is freaking creepy too. When I first moved down to Panther Hollow, I used to hear the college wastoids walking through the woods to get down into there with their clanking liquor bottles and cans of spraypaint. Used to creep the hell out of me.
I don’t hear them much anymore. I think it was just a bunch of squatters sitting in what could very well have been toxic paint chips.
There were about 15 people there at the hearing for this, which took almost an hour. There were about three representatives for the parking lot and about fifteen testifying against it. There was no decision announced, but I am optimistic.
The pro-lot group presented their designs and noted that it appeared to comply with the landscaping and tree requirements. They said there was no other realistic option for that land under the existing zoning–a 1,500 square foot house would cost about $200,000 to build and sell, which is out of line with neighboring properties, which are valued around $50,000 to $60,000. Given the other two nearby parking lots with 200+ spaces, they did not think an additional 38 spaces represented a significant burden on the community, but it would be a hardship to find another profitable use for the property.
The anti-lot group included immediate neighbors and others from farther off. Neighbors said it would damage the character of the neighborhood. One said that the existing lots have lots of noise pollution, from midnight car alarms to everything else. One said she didn’t like the direction this kind of spot-zoning would take the neighborhood in. Several mentioned concerns about additional traffic, with noise and safety concerns. Gary presented his petition/signature board, with many signatures–I didn’t count, but it could have been around 100. A neighbor living on Parkview Avenue was concerned about erosion/landslide issues for homeowners on streets above the hollow. ErinK (from the board) and I talked about bicyclist safety and other issues.
It was very well-attended by the standards of these things. I can’t know how it will turn out, but I would say this is by no means a “done deal” for Teris.
“They said there was no other realistic option for that land under the existing zoning…”
“…it would be a hardship to find another profitable use for the property.”
Those two statements blow my mind.
Maybe that particular bit of land simply isn’t profitable… But what exactly has changed since they purchased the land? And who says they’d have to build a 1,500 square foot house? Or that one has to cost $200k? Talk about lack of imagination.
I can think of any number of things one could do with that land. Most are not profitable, true, but most things in life worth doing are not profitable either. Sounds like they just bought dud land and are trying to make lemonade out of it.
Since I spoke at the zoning board I got a letter the other day about its decision. The board denied the variance, yay!
Some excerpts from the conclusions:
– “…The proposed parking lot would substantially alter the essential and fundamental characteristic of the neighborhood.”
– “While there are other commercial lots in the area, their street locations are far too dissimilar to that of the proposed lot to be used as suitable comparisons.”
– “Without any other evidence to prove that unnecessary hardship will result if the variance is denied or that the plans are not contrary to the public interest, this Board finds that a variance would be extremely inappropriate in this case.”
There can be an appeal within 30 days, but I wouldn’t guess that’s a good idea given how strongly the decision was worded.
Hehe I saw the hot pink poster board on Saturday, heralding the good news!
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