(Plain Press, July 2016) At the June 20th meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals, members of the Fulton Lorain Bailey Block Club spoke in opposition to a proposal by B.R. Knez Construction to receive variances to build a two story single family residence on a lot at 2072 W. 40th Place, the corner of W. 40th Place and Burton Court. The variances requested that the house be larger and closer to the street than current zoning code allows.
In a letter to the Board of Zoning Appeals, Block Club Co-Chair Joan Chase said plans to build the house right up to the street would make an already tight turn radius on the street even worse. The letter notes that, currently, vehicles larger than a midsize car, turning from Burton Court to W. 40th Place, can’t negotiate the turn. Instead, she said they are forced to go the wrong way on a one-way street. She noted that it is especially concerning when emergency vehicles have to back up and reach the street from the other side of W. 41st – adding several minutes to response time.
Block Club Co-Chair Joel Elvery said the block club appreciated the investment that B.R. Knez was making in the neighborhood by building new housing on vacant lots, but hoped for a delay to redesign the proposed house so the street could be widened at the corner to accommodate large vehicles such as emergency vehicles and garbage trucks. He submitted Chase’s letter along with some photos of tire marks where vehicles had run over the lawn and pictures of a dented guard rail that the city had placed on one side of the street.
In making the request to the Board of Zoning Appeals, Elvery said that the block club had been under the impression that the lot was a land bank lot that the City of Cleveland owned and could widen without infringing on property rights. He told the Board of Zoning Appeals he just learned that was not the case and the lot was privately owned. He asked that B.R. Knez Construction consider changing the design of the house so as to allow for better sight lines and for the street to be widened.
A representative of B.R. Knez Construction said the company wants to be cooperative with the neighbors. He said, “We are willing to go back to work and see if we can find a reasonable compromise.” The Board of Zoning Appeals agreed to postpone a decision on the requested variances until its August 1st meeting.
Later, in the June 20th meeting, without any opposition, the Board of Zoning Appeals approved variances for B.R. Knez Construction to build single family houses on four other vacant lots in the Ohio City neighborhood south of Lorain Avenue. The houses will be built on vacant lots at: 2191 W. 33rd; 4300 Orchard Ave.; and 4304 and 4306 Bailey Avenue.