Central Roxborough Civic Association Meeting Minutes
May 3, 2018
CRCA President Celeste Hardester called the meeting to order.
Local resident Rebecca Poyourow reminded those present that there is a primary election on Tuesday, May 15. Get out and vote! There are also 3 ballot questions that anyone, regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof, is encouraged to vote on. The questions relate to the appropriation of funds for the Police Advisory Committee, School Board appointment/dismissal procedures, and sexual harassment training for City employees.
Gorgas Park Fundraiser
Local resident John Boyce announced that on Saturday, May 5, there would be a fundraiser at Tavern on Ridge for Friends of Gorgas Park.
CRCA is hosting a fundraiser at Tavern on Ridge on Wednesday, May 23. Come for dinner and a beer with your family and friends! 25% of proceeds will go to CRCA, so come hungry and thirsty. Thanks to Tavern on Ridge for their generous support.
Zoning: 438 & 440 Lyceum Avenue
Attorney Bill O達rien presented on behalf of property owner Teresa Gleason, who was also in attendance. Ms. Gleason wishes to subdivide rear portions of her properties and remove a shed/garage to create 2 new code-conforming lots facing Mitchell Street for sale, likely to a developer. However, review of the plan alerted L&I to irregularities with the existing properties at 438 and 440 Lyceum.
440 Lyceum, the corner lot, is duly permitted for 4 apartments, but there are in fact five apartments being rented out in the property. Thus the variance request seeks to legalize the fifth, existing apartment. This property is currently taxed and assessed as multi-family.
438, the gingerbread-style Victorian next door, seeks legalization of an existing triplex. Ms. Gleason maintains the property contained 3 units when it was purchased. In 1991, an application for legalization of the 3 units was refused. The property is currently taxed and assessed as multi-family, despite the lack of rental licenses.
Mr. Gleason, who handled the properties, has since passed. His widow wishes to bring the two rental properties into compliance so that she can get the subdivision and sell the 2 lots behind the properties. She stated her intent is to use funds from the sale of the lots to improve/update the exterior of 438 and 440.
Attorney O達rien stated that the demolition of the existing garage will not affect parking, as it is not currently used for parking.
When asked whether the apartments in 438 and 440 were up to current code standards, neither Mrs. Gleason nor Attorney O達rien could give a definitive answer. Attorney O達rien indicated proceeds from the sale of the newly created lots would be used to bring the units up to compliance.
When asked by a neighbor if the grant of the subdivision was contingent on bringing 438 and 440 up to code, Attorney O達rien was unsure. There was an implication that if the property owner failed to get the requested relief regarding legalization of the existing rental properties, she could just sell those properties to someone. The two lots in their present form (i.e. demolishing the existing structures) would support five homes by right under the current zoning.
It was unclear whether the relocation of the lot lines would trigger a variance by virtue of removing parking required by code for 440.
Neither 438 nor 440 Lyceum is certified historic, although the properties are within the Central Roxborough Neighborhood Conservation Overlay.
The property owner and her attorney left the meeting as per CRCA policy and discussion continued among those present. 3 straw polls were taken. The results of these polls will be considered by the CRCA Board when deciding its position before the ZBA.
- Do you support the legalization of the triplex at 438 Lyceum? 1 person supported, 15 people opposed, 5 non-opposed.
- Do you support the legalization of the 5th unit at 440 Lyceum? No one supported, 20 people opposed, 1 person was non-opposed.
- If a refusal is issued for lack of parking at 440, how do you vote? Unanimous opposition