Zoning Committee News by Maureen Tate, CPN Zoning Committee

This article originally ran in the November 2012 Cedar Park Neighbors newsletter.  Want to receive the newsletter delivered to your doorstep (or directly to your email inbox)?  Join CPN today at http://www.cedarparkneighbors.org/join-cpn-donate/cpn-membership-form/  We were pleased to welcome five new members to the Zoning Committee this month, bringing our total to 11, who serve on one of the most active and challenging committees of our association.  We welcome their perspective as neighbors and the additional skills they bring as lawyers, city planners and local business entrepreneurs.

Their added help comes none too soon as we try to get up to speed on the new Zoning Code and facilitate a growing number of zoning issues within our boundary.  At the first Steering Committee meeting regarding the University/Southwest District plan held on October 23, our CPN representative to the meeting was able to take a first look at the report of preliminary findings of existing conditions within our district prepared by the City Planning Commission. We were not surprised to learn that Cedar Park, of all 10 neighborhoods in our planning district, has the highest number of properties, 48% of neighborhood properties, whose land use is inconsistent with its existing zoning classification.  It is no wonder that we have had such a large number of zoning applications to consider as local properties undergo change.

Committee member, Shawn Markovich, is currently attending the Citizens Planning Institute’s Zoning Code Training series co-sponsored by the Department of Licenses & Inspections, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  The training provides an opportunity to learn the new code with City zoning professionals and experts.   Shawn will bring important knowledge back to Cedar Park regarding zoning districts, what can be built where, development standards and parking.

We are also undertaking a review and revision of our CPN Zoning Policy to reflect changes in the new zoning code and its requirements for Registered Community Organizations.  In recent months the Zoning Committee has also addressed the following issues:

- 615 S. 48th St:  Neighbors were informed of the homeowner’s application for a permit for demolition and reconstruction of a mudroom to the rear of the property.  The first hearing was continued and a hearing has now been scheduled before the ZBA for December 18, 9:30 am.

- 5103 Pentridge St.:  A community meeting was held at Wayland Baptist Church on September 26 to consider a proposed use of the property as a banquet facility as well as a meeting space for a girls mentoring program. The applicant has not yet filed for a hearing date but wanted to discuss the use with local neighbors.  Following a presentation by the applicant, local residents asked questions and raised concerns.  While there was no objection to the girls mentoring program which requires no zoning variance, neighbors expressed, both verbally and in written responses, their strong objection to a banquet hall citing concerns about noise, traffic and parking congestion, hours of operation, proximity to nearby residential properties, crowds and possible disruptive behavior that might result.  A major concern was the long term implications of a zoning change to the property that would permit future banquet halls or club facilities at this location.

The CPN Zoning Committee generally meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7pm. If you have questions about these issues or are a CPN member interested in serving on the committee please contact the committee at: contact@cedarparkneighbors.org