thing-a-day 4: civic action

OK, I had to take a detour from my “all things music” thing-a-day for a special request. A house down the street from me had a building permit posted that I didn’t read clearly until 2 days ago. Seems they wanted to split the 30′ wide lot into 2 15′ wide lots, destroy the original 2-story 120-year old building with a gorgeous historic facade, and put up a 3-story semi-detached monstrosity. In fact, the historic facade (which is in surprisingly good shape!) is identical to a few others on the street! My response: “Ah, no.”

I spoke with the neighbours immediately to the north, who were also concerned, and a neighbor across the way from me who’s a good friend and fellow Victorian home owner/restorer. We jointly put together a letter of opposition and presented it in front of committee today.

We won.

The proposal was rejected on the grounds that it was not in keeping with the nature of the other homes in the area, and that the narrow proposed frontage was further unacceptable. The committee went so far as to impune the reputation of the current owner, who clearly hasn’t been keeping up with preventative maintenance. The implication was that, if he can’t maintain the current property, there’s no guarantee he won’t cut corners on the replacement structure as well.

Of course, the applicant is appealing the decision, so this isn’t over — but it’s exciting to get involved and to realize that just 30 minutes spent on a letter of objection, and 5 minutes speaking over at City Hall, is a great way to stay involved wtih your community.

If you want to read the letter I put together and had my neighbours sign, comment using your email address and I’ll send you a link.

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