Call for action - Official Notice

Submitted by DesireeSchmitt on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 21:28.

Barb McKay in Tremont asked me to post a notice regarding an upcoming BOZA variance meeting regarding two properties on West 8th.


Monday, March 9, 2009, 9:30am, Room 514

City Hall BOZA, 601 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114

Your participation or letters are requested.

Here's the story:

On W. 8th there sits two properties - one lot is vacant and the other lot has a house with violations that have not been addressed since the change of ownership (developer purchase)

The variance appeal:

The owner of these properties, either Keith Brown or P.U.R.E. (not clear on the detail here) has proposed demolishing the existing single family home and building four (4), four (4) story townhomes on both lots.  The lots butt up against each other and share a side on W. 8th.  The proposed new addresses: 2494, 2495, 2491, 2501 West 8th Street.

The issues:

> The block club has voted this request down, repeatedly, for over a year, citing:

  1. Too much congestion with four homes on two lots that previously supported a single family home each.
  2. Not enough parking for four structures with the planned one car garage. Many homeowners have two vehicles. With no drive, that is double the potential visitors who will also take up very scarce street parking.
  3. The design is too modern and does not blend with current housing stock.  Overwhelming majority of current housing stock consists of single family homes, 1 1/2 - 2 stories tall, no garage, and a few have parking pads or driveways.  Some of the housing consists of up/down doubles with no drive or parking offstreet.
  4. Height of the proposed project is undesireable and encroaches on neighboring housing stock.
  5. Foundation of new project encroaches on neighboring lots with fuzzy verbal comments from the development team and no real contracts or commitments regarding where the lines will be drawn.  And for those who lose out, no compensation.  In at least one case, the encroaching foundations will directly cost a neighbor access to their current driveway where they currently park both a work truck and another vehicle.  Freeing up two spots on the street.  Losing the ability to park the work truck in the current driveway could cause considerable hardship to the individual's livelyhood in construction if the vechile is harmed or property stolen from losing the safety of their current off street parking. 
  6. A recently completed project of the same design and congestion is just around the corner.  The development is very unpopular with neighboring residents (reference items above) and they are not in favor of repeating the process and have voted so accordingly... many times over.
  7. A petition was created and presented to the City of Cleveland requesting this variance not be granted.

> The block club members are also frustrated that each time they hear the project pitched, it is the very same.  The project returns to vote at the block club, unaltered, as if it is a battle of wills, timing, and schedules.  (After more than a year of this tactic, it seems the last block club vote either came out even or won by one (1) in favor of the project.  Members are not happy citing they all can't be at them all of the time and voting it down, as-is, ONCE, should be enough..)

Current Status:

The block club is not disfavoring development of these properties, but would like to see the project conform to their desires.  (Otherwise, what's the point of going to block club for approval as a first step?).  The desire is for the project to conform to the nature of the existing housing stock and placing no more than two single family homes on each of these lots, especially if they are to have a single car garage.  Replicating the up/down doubles with no drive/pad/garage would also be a project they are willing to consider...

My Primary Input:

I'm passing this on to RealNEO on behalf of Barb (who is currently out of town) and all of her neighbors who are not internet savvy or elderly.  Barb has given me the play-by-play for more than the past year.


For what it's worth, I attended the meeting that hosted the presentation of the project and the development side wanted to push for a vote.  The block club decided to vote the following month to allow for follow up of unanswered questions specific to the project.  A very heated debate insued and an informal, informational vote was cast.  (I did not vote.  It's not my block club. I was there by request for observance and guidance.) For the record, the ONLY people who favored the project were on contract with, or employed by P.U.R.E.  All other attendees voted against it... no provisions... no abstentions.

Disgusted, the presenter from the architectural firm scoffed an "Ugh. THIS neighborhood!" leaning over commenting to me (an affirmation to me that this development group is just completely out of touch with their audience.. he didn't know me, or my views, from a hole in the wall.)

I responded back that these neighbors are strong willed and it will be an expensive fight for him to lose.  After suggesting he stop wasting billable hours and knock the thing down to two (2) units in the project instead of four (4) and move on... He scoffed back at me, "YOU just DON'T get it."

Oh... I get it. 

...I'll just save those comments for later...


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