When: Monday, May 18th 2009
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Deer Park Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Public Works Dept. Representative - Drainage

The Voice of the United Estates of Deer Park
Official Publication of the Deer Park Neighborhood Council
Vol. 15; No. 51 May 200

by Julia Long

Many thanks to Audrey Carpenter, who ably represented the community at the May Variance Board meeting. The Board declined an application from a builder who wanted not to put utilities underground for new housing. If you remember how long it took to repair electrical lines after Hugo, then you understand why we must put all new lines underground. There are so many people now living in the Lowcountry that we absolutely must hold down the number of additional above-ground lines that will have to be repaired after the next big storm.

There's no Deer Park History sample prepared for this month's newsletter because I've been too busy with other civic club matters. I look forward to including another sample next month.

Activity continues in Deer Park businesses:
  1. Bobby Jameson has said he will look into the possibility of getting one of the mobile home parks to set aside either a subsection, or the entire park itself, for seniors only. This would be a wonderful thing for both our neighborhood as a whole and for seniors in need of safer inexpensive housing. With only seniors, noise and traffic problems in that section of the park would likely be less: a real help to older people who appreciate a bit of peace and quiet. Perhaps a security fence could be put around the area. And perhaps the neighborhood and city could find ways to help the seniors get inexpensive but charming little fences around individual lots, picnic tables, etc. to make the senior park feel like a real home. Such parks are very popular in Florida and California, and might furnish us with a partial solution to some of our senior housing problems. Let's all support Bobby in any way we can on this issue.

  2. The barbeque and sub eating places in the new little shopping building on University Boulevard near Fernwood should be in operation quite soon.

  3.  The Hampton Inn on Fernwood is already open and serving customers. I think the final colors - soft yellows and creams - chosen for this five-story building help blend it pleasantly into the view, so that it doesn't stand out as much as I feared it would. The city had to require improvements to the privacy fence at the back of the inn because the fence was built improperly with large spaces between the boards and with boards so unadapted to outside use that in less than a week many were severely warped. The zoning inspector for Deer Park, Creola Washington, is excellent, and soon had the fence problems sufficiently corrected. Unfortunately, the city does not require a privacy fence along the side of the Inn on Fernwood, so the lights from the parking area and the cars are proving to be disruptive to people who live across the street from it. Given all the car break-in problems in our District, I had thought the Inn would put up a fence along Fernwood to protect their own customers. We asked them to. If I were a customer, I would certainly not want to leave my car overnight in the Inn parking area along Fernwood: anyone could quickly pull up, jump out, break a window, and steal from cars parked there. For the sake of discouraging car thefts, and also for the sake of reducing the light-overflow problem for the neighbors, a fence along Fernwood is much needed.

  4. Some land clearing seems to have been done for the expected bank on University Boulevard next to Kerr Drugs.

  5. The City Housing Authority expects to hear in August about whether state money (in the form of tax credits) will be provided to a developer to build a three-story low-income and public housing apartment building, of about 25 thousand square feet on each floor, in an undeveloped area at Fernwood and Deerwood. If this is successful, the plan is to follow up the next year with a second, almost identical apartment building on the same property. There has been some talk of the city possibly adjusting some overall zoning in our area to make up for the fact that the R-1 property chosen for the apartments will decrease the number of single-family homes planned for Deer Park by about 25-35, while increasing the number of apartments by more than 130. The apartments are intended for those over the age of 62, and we think seniors deserve the best. This leads to some questions about safety and quality-of-life issues: What is the emergency evacuation plan? Just what fire safeguards will there be? As Bobby's wise recommendation for a cafeteria or restaurant was not put in the plan, will residents have to move back out as soon as they get a little forgetful about leaving food cooking on the stove in the tiny kitchen area of each apartment? As the buildings will have elevators, meaning there will no doubt be residents who cannot easily manage stairs, and as elevators cannot be used in a fire, how will even slightly disabled people evacuate from the top two floors? How will residents get exercise as we have no sidewalks and there seems to be very little recreational area planned? With a total of not even one parking space planned per apartment, what will family holidays (Christmas, Mother's Day, etc.) be like for residents? As some of the apartments will have two bedrooms, does that mean grandchildren (or great-grandchildren) can be added to the mix? The Housing Authority, we understand, has no plan to provide more information until after it is learned whether the developer will get public money support.

  6. The Medical Emergency Center on University Boulevard near the head of Gable Street should, we've been told, be open within the month.

  7. There has been a request to increase the height of the cell tower going in next to I-26, at the back of a property zoned for a mobile home park. The land is zoned R-3 (mobile homes) and the City permits a tower of up to 125 feet on such property. The builder wants 165 feet in order to add another customer to the same tower. There are, as far as I know, only two ways to do that, and neither appears legally possible in this case. The first way is that the zoning could be changed, with only industrial zoning allowing a tower that high. However, It is not legal to rezone one piece of property in a way different from the rest of the neighborhood, especially when profit is the primary motive. This is called "spot zoning." The second way would be for the developer to get a variance. The law requires that to get a variance, the owner must show that his property is different from other properties in the neighborhood, that a variance is needed to prevent some unfair hardship for the owner, that no harm would come to the community, and that no precedent would be set. However, the property is exactly like all the other properties in Deer Park: no sinkhole in the middle, no marshland intruding, etc. The owner has no hardship other than the fact that the lower tower will provide lower profits than the higher tower would provide, and the ordinances forbid consideration of such profit motives. The neighborhood would indeed be harmed, partly because a variance would indeed set a precedent and we would have other people demanding higher towers in our neighborhood. So at this point, it doesn't seem the developer can succeed in getting a higher tower. I'll let you know if there is any more news on this subject.

Senior Citizens are invited to gather for Bingo and fellowship at the Northwood Park gym on Wednesday May 13, 2009, from 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Bring your favorite light snack to share. In addition, please bring a wrapped gift for bingo.

  • Mr. Russell E. & Mary “Bette” Jameson, parents of our District 3 Councilman, Bobby Jameson, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on April 15th! Not only do they have 20 grandchildren, but also 29 great-grandchildren!! We hope you celebrate many more together Mr. & Mrs. Jameson!!
  • Rheba Isgitt, mother of our Deer Park Civic Club Vice-President, Dennis Isgitt, will celebrate her 74th birthday on May 28th! Happy Birthday Rheba!!
  • Linda Brinson, our Deer Park Civic Club Treasurer, and her husband Bill Brinson, together, gave their daughter, Deborah Joyce Brinson, to be united in marriage on March 14th to Mr. Chris Hanclosky. Congratulations Joyce and Chris!

Garbage Pick-up Schedule

Garbage: Every Wednesday
Leaves/Grass: Every Wednesday
Large Trash: Every Wednesday
(Please note that Thursday will be pick-up day when City Holiday falls on Mon., Tues., Wed.)
Recyclables: every other Thursday - May 28th, June 11th, June 25th

Key Personnel
City Council District 3:  Robert Jameson  824-1500
County Council Rep:  Elliott Summey  200-4244
Neighborhood Crime Watch Representative:  Volunteer Needed!!
N. Chas. Dispatcher: 745-1015
Housing Director:  Darbis Briggmann  740-2560
SPEED Team Rep.:  Jimmy Wagner  745-1069
Code Enforcement:  William Holley  740-2681
CAC Representative Membership:  Linda Brinson  553-8832

Board of Directors
President: Julia Long  797-0893
Vice President:  Dennis Isgitt  797-2455
Secretary:  Chandler Schwede  437-4736
Treasurer:  Linda Brinson  553-8832

Board Mbr. Apptd:  Beth Evans  437-4140
Board Mbr. Elected:  Susanne Azevedo  572-2321
Board Mbr. Elected:  Audrey Carpenter  553-7768
Board Mbr. Apptd:  Mary Hutson  553-4451

Newsletter Distribution:  Jimmy Mitchum  553-0665
                                          Jim Driver  553-0768
                                          Bill Lusk  553-1348
Newsletter:  Susanne Azevedo  572-2321
Disaster/ Preparation:  James Brown  553-4329
Sick & Sunshine:  Susanne Azevedo  572-2321
Voter Registration:  Douglas Azevedo  572-2321

Our Neighborhood Website: www.ourdeerpark.net