Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Proposed Law Draws Criticism from Public

It was almost a full house for the public hearing on Monday on the proposed law that would eliminate the requirement for offstreet parking for apartments in basements and converted accessory buildings and would permit businesses to be established in parts of the city now zoned residential in buildings that had previous commercial uses.

The goals of the legislation seem noble enough: to create more affordable rental units and to allow people to establish commercial enterprises in buildings in residential zones that had historically housed commercial enterprises. An example of the latter is Basil Nooks' plan to open a restaurant specializing in Caribbean food in a building he owns on North Third Street, which up until 2004 had been an eating and/or drinking establishment for decades. 

The proposed local law met with some pushback from those present at the public hearing--from Kristal Heinz, who didn't want commercial enterprises in her neighborhood in the Boulevards; to Gossips, who worried about the devastation of the authenticity and charm of the alleys the law would encourage; to Craig Haigh, code enforcement officer and former fire chief, who warned of the public safety issues such a law would create.

Amanda Purcell reported on the public hearing in today's Register-Star: "Residents speak out on zoning law change." Dan Udell was there to document the hearing, and his video can be seen here. The public hearing begins at 13:20.

In the end, it was decided that the proposed local law needed some work.

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