DCA opposes rezoning 73 Aberdeen

The Community Association reviews all rezoning and Committee of Adjustment applications in the former Dalhousie Ward. We comment on many, and oppose some. Many of our letters are short and not reported here. This case is more interesting and involved. After some correspondence back and forth with the city planner, we sent in this letter:

14 May 2010

Douglas James

Re 73 Aberdeen Street, D02-02-10-0018

The Dalhousie Community Association opposes the application for rezoning 73 Aberdeen Street.

The property is currently residential zoned. Like on all the short dead-end streets running west off Preston, there are the occasional non-conforming uses adjacent to houses. It is good planning to reinforce the residential fabric of the neighborhood and not facilitate its erosion by primarily non-residential uses.

All the prior neighborhood plans and the currently underway CDP call for continued residential uses on these streets, and for reinforcing the residential nature of the side streets and focusing the commercial uses on the traditional mainstreet, Preston. There are residential infill and intensification projects planned and underway in the immediate vicinity so residential use is an economically viable prospect.

Current zoning permits the owner to conduct a home business, with one or two students/clients at a time. Our association accepts this home occupation use as compatible with the residential use. What is now proposed needs different zoning, but the plan does not tell us how many students/clients the applicant intends to serve.

If the proponent’s art classes consist of, for example, nine students, there would be nine vehicles arriving to pick up students and nine vehicles arriving to deposit the next class load. The entire street surface of Aberdeen cannot support that many vehicles at once, let alone any parking. The short 7 lot street already serves as on-street parking for a popular Preston restaurant (at the corner), for a historic-renovated office building with 130 employees and their parking lot garage, for a non-conforming use auto-body shop, and for the entrance ramp to a 32 unit condo facing Beech Street. This Association has seen no evidence that the street can handle the vehicular traffic that might well be generated by this art school.

We are also concerned by the overwhelming commercial nature of the rezoning. We estimate that the original house has about 1200 sq ft of space, the addition appears to have about 800 more (spread over three floors), yet the residential component when finished is only 570 sq ft, or 28%. If approved, this will be a commercial building with a small residential component. It is far from being a residence with ancillary art studio. (see photos attached).

We also note with concern that Aberdeen Street is a dead end with no turning circle or 3 point turn area, that the north sidewalk is discontinuous and only 20” wide and frequently over-run with vehicles, and suffers considerable congestion (especially in winter as there are no snow windrows possible).

The Dalhousie Community Association opposes the rezoning application as it

• converts the existing residence into a primarily commercial structure,
• is contrary to good planning practice and to existing and in-progress neighborhood plans
• will produce unacceptable traffic congestion that will be a hazard to others

Eric Darwin
President, Dalhousie Community Association