When: Mo
nday, September 21st 2009
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Deer Park Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
To Be Announced

The Voice of the United Estates of Deer Park
Official Publication of the Deer Park Neighborhood Council
Vol. 15; No. 53 July 2009

by Julia Long

1. The proposed development near the corner of Fernwood and Deerwood is to be heard by the Planning Commission at 6 PM Monday, August 10 at City Hall. Anyone wishing to speak needs to be at the meeting twenty minutes early to sign up. Right now, most of that land is R-1 (single-family), and a smaller piece is R-3, each zoning with its own rules to protect residents. It's very important to remember that what is being requested is a zoning of Planned Development District (referred to as PDD or sometimes just PD). That means that essentially the rules that apply are those actually shown in the plan that is accepted by the city; regardless of oral promises, we cannot assume that anything will be done that is not actually written in the plan at the time the city votes to accept it. The plans have changed a bit from what was presented to the community in the meeting at the library.

Instead of the 134 apartments we were told about, the owners now plan 150. The original plans mentioned the age of "55" in reference to whom the apartments are planned for, but we were assured that "55" was a typing error, and they really meant "age 62." Now the typing error has been corrected - "55" has been removed from the plan, but it has not been replaced with the age "62." The plan now says that "units will be targeting independent seniors" but doesn't give any actual age limit; as we know, for some purposes the word "seniors" applies to people as young as 55. Also, the plan still doesn't specify that the units will be actually restricted to "seniors" (whatever age that may be). The phrase "targeting" could, no matter what promises are made now, later be argued to mean "marketed to" or "hoped for " or "planned for," in order to try to admit younger people, even including children, especially if not enough "seniors" rent the apartments. If Federal money is involved, it may mean that only one person in the apartment has to be as old as 55.

Also, for the 150 apartment units, there will be a total of 128 parking spaces provided for residents, visitors, people working there, etc. It is safe to assume that any extra people will be parking along the street. The plan also shows no sidewalks, though any construction in our neighborhood is normally required to have a sidewalk built in front of it. A section of land less than 200 feet wide is apparently included in the plan, despite the fact that the law clearly states that any property to be zoned PDD must be a minimum of 200 feet between any two boundary lines. Also, one of the apartment buildings is very close to the property line of the property next door to it on Deerwood, with no drainage protection shown on the plan behind the apartment building to protect against stormwater flowing onto the next-door property. (If the next-door property were zoned R-1 for single-family residences instead of R-3 for trailer park, we might have a better chance of doing something about that potential drainage problem.)

2. A number of proposed changes to the zoning ordinances are scheduled to be heard by the Planning Commission at that same meeting. As far as we can tell, the main thrust of those changes is to increase density and traffic in several zoning categories.

For example, right now our Neighborhood Office lots are restricted to the kind of businesses that have appointments - like doctors, beauticians, and tax preparers. That keeps the hourly traffic down. Also, there is a height restriction, so that tall office buildings cannot be built. The proposed new ordinances would allow on these same lots tall buildings that could include many, many offices plus such higher-traffic businesses as a credit union, dry cleaners, fitness center, cafes, and office supply stores. The B-1 along University Boulevard, including B-1 lots inside our neighborhood near Deer Park Baptist Church, would, under the proposed changes, allow everything in the Office zoning plus such additional uses as grocery stores without limit as to size, video stores and arcades and internet cafes, clothing stores, and laundromats. All of these businesses belong somewhere, but could bring serious traffic and noise problems on our present B-1 lots inside our neighborhood and next to our residences.

The proposed changes don't alter the R-1 (single-family) rules in our area, where a house can be built on 6,000 sq ft. However, any R-1 designated as "Traditional Neighborhood Development" can have house lots of only 4,358 sq. ft. Right now, the "Traditional" areas seem to be in the Remount Road and Park Circle areas, but we don't know what future plans there may be for extending the "Traditional" designation. As for the R-2 (multi-family) zoning, the proposed changes greatly increase the number of units that can be built on a particular piece of property. Here is as an example, as far as we can understand the changes: Suppose a developer has a lot of 9600 sq ft. and plans to put in common parking. Right now he can put one duplex; under the proposed laws, four duplexes. Or right now a row of three 3-bedroom townhouses can go on that lot; under proposed changes, a row of eight 4-bedroom townhouses. Now could go on the lot a two-story apartment building with five 2-bedroom units or four 3-bedroom units or three 4-bedroom units; under the proposed changes that same building could apparently have eight 2-bedroom units or eight 3-bedroom units or eight 4-bedroom units.

Also, you remember how hard our Councilman Bobby Jameson worked to get an important safety requirement for houses to be built with a side yard of at least 10 feet, so ambulances and fire trucks could have access? The proposed changes seem to say that it's OK to build a garage in that side yard, thus again preventing access.

Bobby Jameson

Design for Northwoods Gym renovation is currently underway. Hopefully ready to begin construction in early September. Improvements include:
  1. Replacing all windows and skylights in gym with energy efficient models. Energy efficient (10) 2 x 8 storefront windows and (2) 2 X 4 storefront including 1" thick insulated glazing: Replacement of the (10) Translucent Panel
  2. Installing spray foam or bat insulation in roof area over gym.
  3. Installing a HVAC unit for gym.

There is another grant that is supposed to replace the lighting with LED lights and do some other updates. Details will be coming soon.

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 - August 6th and August 20th

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

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
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