Residents want decision to allow duplexes in area reconsidered by board

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Some city residents upset with a decision to allow multi-family dwellings in neighborhood of single-family residences want that decision reversed, or at the very least reconsidered.

Several residents in the West 14th Street and Summit Avenue area of the city do not agree with the Board of Adjustment’s 3-2 vote to issue a special-use permit to Luis and Valerie Taveras, who live in Brooklyn, New York, to build four duplexes on a lot between West 14th and West 15th streets. The board’s split vote was made June 14. Those residents, some of which voiced their concerns to the City Council on Monday, contend the duplexes are not in character with the single-family nature of the neighborhood.

They want the Board of Adjustment to reconsider the matter regarding the property at 294 W. 14th St.

City Attorney Franz Holscher informed the residents and city officials there were two options the residents could purse. One option is to persuade the Planning Board to reopen the matter, which rarely happens, he noted. The other option is to appeal the board’s decision to Superior Court.

Barry Friedland, who lives at 1307 Summit Ave., told the council he and some of his neighbors are not happy with the board’s issuance of the permit. “Possibly eight families on a lot slightly larger than a half-acre. Our neighborhood is a neighborhood of single-family homes,” he said.

To demonstrate why he believes the duplexes would be out of place in that neighborhood, Friedland hammered a square peg into one of several holes in a board, something that got the attention of the overflow crowd in the Council Chambers and adjacent hallways. “I’m going to show you what they have done. … They (board members) have put a square peg in our neighborhood. That is wrong,” he said.

Friedland said letters written by people opposed to the issuance of the permit and submitted to the board for its consideration were not read by the board. “They were ignored. … No questions were asked of the people speaking against this proposal — no questions,” he said.

“We are trying for a rehearing, and any subsequent review processes that this project will go through, we ask you to be vigilant to see what is happening to this plot of land. It’s important … to everyone who has bought into a single-family neighborhood,” Friedland said.

Other speakers expressed similar views.

Councilman Doug Mercer said the council could not change the board’s decision. It’s up to the board to decide if it would reconsider that decision.






About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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