To: Zoning Board of Haverford Township
RE: Thursday, July 19th, 2007 meeting: Re: Z07-15
The Kelso Company,
owner of the property located at 821 Aubrey Avenue, Ardmore, PA D.C. Folio # 2206 00060 00, who seek a variance determination
that the demolition of an existing garage and the proposed construction of a two-story office building is permitted as a matter
of right. In the alternative, a special exception to §182-802.B to permit the
proposed construction. Zoned C-2 Neighborhood Commercial, Ward 6.
South Ardmore Betterment Alliance Neighborhood Association, prepared by its Officers and Key Volunteers
Date: July 16, 2007
Though building a commercial
office building may be allowed by right, continued long-term existence of non-conforming light industrial tenants at 821 Aubrey
whose businesses do not benefit the neighborhood as described in the Township’s
C2 zoning code needs to be addressed and resolved by the Township.
The street is narrow. Cut through traffic is heavy. Neighbors
are concerned about visibility into and out of this property as well as tractor trailer deliveries. Some neighbors wonder what would happen if a fire broke out in either Building A
or B (as identified on Yerkes map) when a tractor trailer was also in the lot at the
The loading and unloading
of manufacturing materials is done via the only available loading area in front of the building. No attempt has been made to mask this activity from the street. Nor does the new proposed construction address this problem.
The landlord has not maintained
this property to reflect its C2 zoning. It is at variance with the
look of its residential neighborhood. One or more of the
tenants use one end of the property to dump unused materials. The parking of commercial vehicles overnight
and during weekends does not fit its C2 designation.
construction is allowed on this property, neighbors ask the Township to uphold its zoning and
overall Comprehensive Plan and seek a more extensive and thorough re-development of the property rather
than the piecemeal approach being proposed.
The goals of C2 zoning
for this property (which is also zoned R6) has never, since Mr. Kelso purchased the property, been
Context: An Older Residential Neighborhood
Homes that are contiguous
or across the street from the proposed construction are zoned either R6 or C2. They
are brick twins of either two or three stories. Over the years, many of the three-story
twins have been converted into rental properties. Tenant parking for these rentals
has been an issue as renters “pack” these homes with more than three unrelated renters, each having a car. Parking of these cars then spills onto
the street. The neighborhood association continues to monitor these rentals for
violations especially of illegal student rentals.
Context: The Street is Narrow and Used as a Cut Through
Avenue is used as a cut through to
and from County Line. Due to parking on one side of
the street, the roadway is narrow. Significant commercial traffic comes in and
out of 821 Aubrey. Tall hedges on
both sides of 821 Aubrey reduce visibility for those turning in and out of the parking lot.
Context: 821 Current Tenants
In a meeting with David
Kelso and attorney Fred Fromhold on June 28th, 2007, held at the Township
Building, neighbors asked a variety of questions about the proposed office building
and plans for the overall commercial lot.
They learned that current
tenants represent a variety of non-conforming uses that are light industrial in nature. There are no plans at this time to
seek new tenants that would conform to the property’s C2 status.
A+ Awning, 1-800-627-9122, www.aplusawningcleaning.com
A+ Awning cleans
awnings on site and then stores them. Its facilities are located in the northwest
corner of the 15,452 main building Building A.. Concerns: The fans used to ventilate the facility are located on the northwest side of the building and blow directly
into adjoining residential yards app. 5.5 feet away.
Calconix Inc., www.timezoneus.com/Link1.asp, 888-256-2544 Fax: 610-642-5928
promotional items, and etches Lucite and plastics. On their web site a description
of their workplace includes that it is a “Union Factory – Workers are represented by SEIU Local 252.” Calconix is located in Building A. Concerns: The etching produces exhaust fumes and associated smells from this production are
released into the neighborhood. This happens most frequently when the company
delays replacing filters on their equipment.
John Neill Painting and Decorating, 610-664-5555
Concerns: John Neill’s painters use company vans and then park their own cars in the lot. App. once a month the company holds a large meeting of all its painters. At these times the lawn area and parking spaces cannot accommodate the overflow and tenants that arrive
later must park on the street.. John Neill Painting is located in Building A.
Surbeck Waterjet Company , 610-642-4482, www.surbeckwaterjet.com
From their web
site: “Surbeck Waterjet is
a design and manufacturing company that uses waterjet cutting technology to produce and fabricate corporate logos, works of
art, and contracted floor designs, from an assortment of materials including metals, plastics, stone, glass and tile.”
Surbeck is located in Building A.
Concerns: Delivery of manufacturing material is done at the front of the
building visible from the street; sometimes tractor trailer drivers have difficulty either entering the lot due to parking
constraints or turning trucks around after delivery.
SABA does not know the name of this company but it is presently housed in the 2,174
square foot block and brick building B on the southwestern side of the lot closest to St. Marys Road. Concerns: Two
years ago, an interior storm water management system for this building was stopped and exterior downspouts from this building
were added. At least one of these downspouts is just yards away from 2807 St.
Marys and 2805 St. Mary’s and their yards and basements are now experiencing water issues.
A. Concerns: A New Conforming
Structure on a Property that has a
Variety of Non-Conforming Uses
The neighborhood would
welcome a true C2 Neighborhood Commercial district at 821 Aubrey that would “provide retail and service facilities which
serve primarily the daily needs of the immediate surrounding neighborhood
and to encourage attractive, compact retail commercial development in locations close to the residences served.” Neighbors voiced their concerns at the
June 28th meeting that adding another building to this lot, rather than working to bring
current uses to C2 standards just emphasizes the patchwork, fragmented nature of the current uses
within Buildings A and B. [Note that Building A on the map is actually two buildings
attached along one side – this is somewhat visible in the arial photograph of the property printed at the end of this
No organized attempts
have been made to modify the light industrial uses within Buildings A and B to make them
more conforming with their C2 designation. One could even
argue that though this property is zoned C2, its current owner rents it out as a Light Industrial property and if so it should
be re-zoned as such to reflect this current use.
Though construction of
a new office building may be permissible by right, neighbors ask that the Township enforce its
codes and comprehensive plan by requiring that prior to further development of 821 Aubrey that
existing uses within existing buildings be brought into C2 zoning specifications.
SABA contends that the
demolition of the accessory building garage and proposed construction of a two-story office
building and parking lot while maintaining current nonconforming uses creates, in effect, an office “park” for
Mr. Kelso and that is certainly not the intent of the nonconforming 181-182 sections nor the intent of the C2 Commercial
The arrival of the
above tractor trailer bed with its unidentifiable mechanical contents, emphasizes that current tenants’ needs and uses
for this property are at variance with its C2/R6 zoning. Neighbors are frustrated
that such equipment and uses continue to exist on a property that was re-zoned many years ago to be C2.
B. Concerns: Safety of and Overall Maintenance of Property
We believe that this property
still greatly resembles the light industrial nature of its former laundry and that little has been done
to support its current C2 zoning designation.
This year neighbors were
concerned about an abandoned mobile trailer that was in the parking lot for many months. It was an attractive nuisance for vandals who broke into it. It required repeated efforts on the behalf of residents and the township to have the
owner remove the trailer.
Neighbors ask that
the Township Enforce this property’s current C2 Zoning and that this property
be maintained as such.
C. Concerns: Constructions’ Visual and Physical Impact on
a Congested Street
The open land at the
front of 821 Aubrey where the office building and parking lot are proposed helps to visually offset the
current parking from tenants of Buildings A and B as well as give the congested street a more open, green
feeling. The proposed office building will be 10 feet from this home, 825 Aubrey.
Neighbors are concerned about the allowable height of 45’ for the proposed building
and the inclusion of five parking spaces underneath the building which will
be its first floor.
D. Concerns: Tractor Trailer Deliveries to Current Tenants at
Several tenants require
delivery via tractor trailer of manufacturing materials. These tenants include
Surbeck Waterjet and Calconix. The entrance to 821 Aubrey is fairly narrow with
parking along one side. Tractor trailer deliveries to this property are common. Sometimes when the parking lot is full and overflows onto the lawn, tractor
trailer drivers who are not familiar with the lot have difficulty making deliveries and then turning their
June 28th meeting neighbors shared with Mr. Kelso and Mr. Fromhold their concerns about
the proposed parking lot and new building configuration as it would affect these
tractor trailer deliveries.
[Please note - tractor
trailer deliveries are not made to the rear loading dock but instead occur along the front of Building
A - visible from the street.] Front of property visible
from Aubrey. Tractor Trailers have to navigate this driveway, filled with parked cars on both sides, load and unload and then
E. Concerns: Current Parking
There is not enough parking
for current tenants.
At the June 28th
meeting with Mr. Kelso and Mr. Fromhold, neighbors brought their attention to the parking situation as it currently stands. Mr. Fromhold said that current parking was adequate as defined by code and
that parking fluctuations would occur in the future as tenants changed over time.
Residents on the street
can see that current parking is not adequate and that bringing in additional tenants even with additional parking may not
be adequate EVEN IF allowable under current code. Spillover of commercial tenant
parking onto the street can be avoided with careful planning. Mr. Kelso’s
proposed plans need to be modified to take into account current tenant uses of parking, esp. as current tenants will remain.
821 Aubrey is a substantial
property nestled closely to its R6 neighbors. The aerial view shows how
821 Aubrey is very “embedded”
physically in the neighborhood with the only available buffer being the current
lawn where construction is proposed.
you for taking the time to read these concerns of the neighbors with whom we have met and spoken.
by the officers of SABA