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South Ardmore Betterment Alliance (SABA) P.O. Box 772, Ardmore, PA 19003

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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.

From: The South Ardmore Betterment Alliance Neighborhood Association, prepared by its Officers and Key Volunteers

Date:   July 16, 2007

 

Overview:

 

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 same time.

 

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.

 

Before further 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 achieved.

 

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

Aubrey 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.

 

Current Tenants:

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

Calconix produces 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.

 

A Landscaping Company

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 document.]

 

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 residential code.

 

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 821 Aubrey:

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 trailers around. 

 

At the 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 turn around.

 

E.  Concerns:  Current Parking Conditions

 

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.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read these concerns of the neighbors with whom we have met and spoken.

 

Prepared by the officers of SABA

Brochure for HSH Site

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ENCOURAGE your neighbors to sign up for our email news list.  There is a lot of activity occuring in Haverford Township that you'll want to know about....(for example.....consider how the US Open is going to impact our neighborhoods in 2013 - yes we are already planning and thinking about this now!).

Copyright 2006, SABA