A judge has told the city’s zoning board to rethink a decision that allows a dental-implant manufacturing business to temporarily operate out of a Haldeman Avenue residence.
Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler on July 17 told the Zoning Board of Adjustment to rehear a variance application filed by the owner of 9997 Haldeman Ave., said Jack O’Hara, president of the Greater Bustleton Civic League.
The property owner, Flore Andresi, didn’t show, as required, that it was a hardship if he couldn’t use the property for his business, O’Hara said in an Aug. 8 phone interview.
A variance is needed because the property has residential zoning. An owner seeking an OK for a non-permitted use usually asserts the property can not be used in any other way and that it would be a hardship not to allow the use even though the property is not zoned for it. Except for a few commercial establishments, the block is all residential.
O’Hara said he recently learned that the judge rescinded the three-year temporary variance the zoning board had granted to Andresi on Nov. 13, 2012. Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) said he learned Monday that the new hearing will be held on Aug. 21.
O’Hara said he’ll attend the hearing, but he’s trying to have it continued because of the short notice and because many of his members are unavailable or on vacation.
Hardship is a tough sell, O’Neill said.
“The burden is on the applicant to show why you can’t use the property as it’s zoned,” he said in a phone interview.
In late 2012, Andresi’s attorney, Shawn Ward, said his client has operated his business on Haldeman Avenue since he bought the property in 2009. He said Andresi had a business privilege license but didn’t know he needed a zoning variance until a city inspector told him in mid-2012.
Ward had said it was a hardship for his client to be barred from using his property for his business.
“Given that this is a heavily commercial intersection, the property might not be suitable for purely residential use,” Ward said in 2012.
O’Neill said the property already has a residential use. He said Andresi told him he lived on the property, the councilman said.
League members unanimously had refused to support Andresi’s variance application during their October 2012 meeting.
Despite the neighborhood opposition, the zoners gave Andresi a three-year variance to operate his business. At the time, O’Neill immediately encouraged league members to fight the zoners’ decision in court. He said the zoners’ ruling defied logic.
“This is not a minor case,” he said in December 2012. “This is a major case. This could be the beginning of breaking down a neighborhood that is solidly single-family homes.”
O’Neill said he felt taking the appeal to court would be a “slam-dunk” for the league.
In a way, it was. The league got a favorable ruling from Ceisler after a very short hearing, O’Hara said. ••