East Liberty Neighborhood Opposition to Front Yard Parking Variance - Pittsburgh
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Dear Zoning Board of Adjustment,
We are concerned neighbors and are writing regarding zoning case 295 of 2015 involving 610 North Saint Clair Street in East Liberty. We spend a lot of time walking around our neighborhood and this property is on a block that connects us to the thriving East Liberty business district. It is an area with high pedestrian and bicycle traffic and we are concerned about the impact of this variance on both safety and the urban environment.
Variance 903.03.D.2 would allow the owner to construct a parking pad in the front of 610 North Saint Clair within the 15 foot setback dictated by the R2-H zoning in which it is located. Putting surface parking at the front entrance to a home is not consistent with the urban environment that East Liberty residents have been working for years to create. Not only will it require a new curb cut and driveway through a sidewalk with high pedestrian traffic, but it is aesthetically unpleasant and visually inconsistent with the surrounding homes – all of which have green yards in the front setback. In fact, we are unaware of any home in the immediate surrounding blocks which has a front parking pad.
There is no hardship that would warrant this variance. This property is located in an area with a large amount of street parking. A number of multiunit structures in the immediate area (including 610 North Saint Clair, I believe) have recently been converted to single family homes, so if anything the demand for parking in the neighborhood has decreased in recent years.
As Pittsburgh brings to regain population and people move back to the urban core, the last thing that we need is to allocate more valuable front yard green space to surface parking. One reason that we have a zoning code is to maintain higher design standards in our neighborhoods and to protect livability; variances should not be granted without a strong rationale. If the rationale in this case is the need for parking, this exists in abundance on many blocks surrounding this home.
We oppose the granting of this variance and feel strongly that the building owner should work with the community and adjacent property owners to find a solution that does not pave over a green lawn in favor of parking.
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