One denial, two approvals for residences
Buyer beware would be a good way to describe Tatiana Arolli’s request to the Zoning Hearing Board Feb. 24. The owner of the property at 1137 East Third St., Arolli, represented her LLC, Silver Maple Enterprises, in a bid to convert an existing garage into two rental apartments with parking. There were several immediate issues raised. A parking spot between the garage and her adjacent rental property was illegal. The garage did not have interior access to the second level, nor did it offer a necessary second point of egress.
While Arolli highlighted the demand for affordable housing as a reason for approval, her application was denied, in consideration of the above issues and no coherent plan for resident parking. When the board asked Arolli if she had purchased the property with the intention of converting it to multiple apartments, she agreed. This highlighted the need for buyers to do research and to consult the Zoning and Planning department to inspect a site before purchase.
935-945 Monacacy St. was similar, in that the owner was seeking to convert a space into a rental apartment. The property address is 935-945 Monocacy and 207 Fairview St., and is at the corner of Monocacy and Fairview Streets. The owner is Arna Investments and was represented in the appeal by Kevork Parsamian. The part of the property being considered for conversion was the owner’s storage space. When viewing the front of the building, the space is on the ground floor, right side. At one time, a small convenience store occupied the space. Parsamian presented a floor plan for a two bedroom, one bath apartment, with an open floor plan kitchen and living area. He also presented a plan to extend the driveway for an existing three car garage, allowing residents to “stack” two cars per apartment, to fulfill parking requirements.
The unit has been vacant for about 15 years. Parsamian has not attempted to rent the space as it is.
Parsamian testified he felt that the apartment would improve the neighborhood. He also mentioned the need for more housing in the area.
The appeal was approved, with the considerations that parking would be as presented, and that the exterior design would conform with the existing neighborhood.
A third case also brought up affordable housing. Owner Mordechai (Martin) Schweid sought to turn a single family residence at 808 Broadway into a two family residence. The house already has two kitchens, eight bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is also parking on site for four cars. Also, there are separate utility meters, and separate exterior entrances for each unit. Schweid testified these conditions existed when he purchased the property about five months ago, and he has only painted and redone some floors.
James Shantz asked if the home was purchased as a single family home or a multi family home. Schweid replied he had purchased it as a single family home.
Chairman William Fitzpatrick explained that Schweid would need approval from the fire department, and a review from the zoning department for a second point of egress from the second floor.
Zoning Officer Criag Pfeiffer noted the rear stairs are metal fire escape stairs. He asked if this was the main entrance for the second floor. Schweid said yes, but he could build new stairs. Pfeiffer asked if a design professional had been retained. Schweid replied one had.
The approval was granted, with the conditions of a second point of egress for the second floor, and continued oversight by the Zoning and fire departments for the conversion.