Trying to get through this sweaty Monday, we hoofed it over to Federal Donuts in Pennsport to grab some sugary and doughy goodness. Sated, we walked out the door and spied an odd banner on the fence on the northwest corner of 2nd & Manton.
From a quick read of the banner, it seems that a developer is planning a home for a small lot here and that someone else is none too pleased about the idea. Thankfully, the folks opposing the project have put together a website that details the situation. We did some additional digging to help better understand the situation.
The lot in question is 1212 S. 2nd St., and it's the property immediately to the north of the property at the corner. The difference between the parcels can be seen by the contrasting fences in the photo above. A developer purchased the property a little over a year ago (after years on and off the market) and as the banner says it's incredibly small. The purchase price of $25K drives this point home, as a standard lot in this neighborhood would probably trade at 3-4 times that price. The developer presented plans to the community last month for a home on this property and we'd guess they are looking for 100% coverage which requires a variance from the ZBA. We're fairly certain that the head of the opposition is the individual that owns the home immediately to the north, who also happens to own the small parcel immediately to the south which is being used as a garden. As the banner suggests, they've made the preservation of the tree in the back of their property the crux of their objection to the project.
If the developers built a home next door, the tree would require so much trimming (IRL, not in Photoshop) that it probably wouldn't remain viable. This would certainly be unfortunate, as it's a nice tree and apparently one of the largest and oldest in the neighborhood. On the other hand, property rights! Of all the cases that go before the ZBA, it's rare that we see this kind of legitimate hardship. The lot is impossibly small but zoned for single-family use. Anything other than 100% lot coverage would result in a home that's so small it's not worth building. We would imagine that the developer's attorney will make this case a the ZBA, and we're not sure that the tree will move the needle in the other direction.
But who knows what will happen? The project goes to the ZBA at the beginning of next month for what we're sure will be a contentious hearing.