Midtown Neighbors Protest Plan To Build Four Houses On Two Lots

Thursday, April 16th 2015, 12:05 am
By: News On 6

Midtown neighbors are fighting a builder with plans to squeeze in four homes on just two lots.

Wednesday the city planning committee voted against the plan, but the builder still has other ideas for the property.

The property in the middle of the dispute is about three-quarters of an acre, right in the middle of midtown near 23rd and Delaware.

For a decade the house on the lot has been vacant, and the lot next door had nothing on it; but now a developer wants to shake things up.

With big back yards, the houses sit back from the street - some stone, others brick, but all have a certain charm.

"It's very unusual for a midtown neighborhood to have this much space,” neighbor Paul Landis said.

The space is something Landis and other homeowners in the Bryan Mawr neighborhood don't want to lose.

When a CBC Builds sign went up across the street, Landis found out there were plans to build four homes on two lots.

"I was shocked, very surprised and felt it was too much for the size of the lot," he said. "We are wanting to protect the character of our neighborhood."

“Us building four houses was building smaller houses we thought was keeping with the character of the neighborhood," said Robert David with CBS Builds.

Each lot is currently zoned as a single-family property, so doubling the number of homes means CBC Builds needs approval for a Planned Unit Development, or PUD.

The city's planning commission board turned down the request after hearing neighbor's complaints.

“I was pleasantly surprised they listened to what we had to say,” Landis said.

About 96 percent of neighbors signed a petition against the PUD; many said the builder is just being greedy.

"No, that's not true. We don't think we will make more building four homes, it's twice as hard to build four homes than it is to build two," David said.

Now David is heading back to the drawing board. He said there are two options - either build three houses or stick with the original two.

"I'm not confident about being able to satisfy everything, but we are practical, we can go build two big homes right now and we can go do that," he said.

Cherie Cook with the Coalition of Historic Neighbors) said, "If you are threatening neighbors with McMansions, which is essentially what he did, you aren't developing a good relationship.”

Neighbors do like the idea of three homes, but the builder would have to relocate power lines, and utilities, which would be more costly.