From UHNA NPU-D Rep Eva Nason;
I strongly regret to inform you that last evening the Zoning Review Board voted 4-2 to approve the rezoning of 1692 Springer St. from R-4 residential to C-1 commercial.
Whatever there was of wisdom in the 98-6 NPU-D votes and the 60-2 UHNA votes declaring this rezoning from R-4 to C-1 to be long-term detrimental to an entire area counted for nothing with 4 of the 6 members of the Zoning Review Board, if they had even been informed of these votes (I don't recall they were ever mentioned by the ZRB members in the discussion of this case).
Speaking in opposition to this rezoning was Jim Martin, the chairperson of NPU-D and Eva Nason, the UHNA Representative to NPU-D, who read a prepared statement of opposition by Ben Hudgins, the chairperson of the UHNA Planning and Land Use Committee, and Rita Neely, speaking as the Springer St. resident typical of the many Springer St. families with young children.
There was only one person speaking for the applicant, someone representing the applicant, Girvan Henry, Girvan Henry has still, through all of these meetings and deferrals, not made his presence known, and the fellow there last evening representing him seemed to be there completely on his own.
At some time on Thursday, there became available the Staff Report, which gives "Findings of Fact" and a recommendation of approval or denial of the rezoning. This is put out from the director's Office of Zoning and Development, headed by Keyetta M. Holmes. This Staff Report recommended approval of the rezoning with two conditions, 1) that the back yard parking pad be paved and 2) that "Notwithstanding the permitted principal uses in Section 16-11.003" (all those things we usually think of as commercial) . . . "the only permitted use is office."
There were comments in the Staff Report such as "the impact on the neighboring R-4 (Single Family Residential)) zoned properties to the north, east and west should be minimal." (My comment: apparently the zoning staff no longer thinks precedent counts for anything!) Also, there was this comment: "The proposed development is unlikely to have any negative impact on the neighboring properties since this rezoning will be the continuance of an existing use, should the property ever be redeveloped." (My comment: there will now need to be perpetual vigilance on the part of the entire neighborhood of Underwood Hills to see that condition No. 2 stated above isn't conveniently removed at some point, allowing the development of a host of undesirable businesses nextdoor to residences on the north, east and west of this site. And all for the convenience of the neighbor, Girvan Henry, who has never made himself known to us.
What to do? No doubt there will be communication among a few of us as to what might best be done to try to do whatever lobbying can still be done to prevent this rezoning from being established. I, personally, don't know whether an enormous response from Underwood Hills would have any effect these days. If our 98-6 NPU vote counted for not even a mention, then there is a strong sense that the voice of the affected people, however large, will mean nothing. If it is deemed that a neighborhood's voice can be heard at all at City Hall, then I shall try to inform you.
Eva Nason, Underwood Hills resident