But some residents want dumpster area fenced
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
The Brentwood Board of Aldermen on Monday approved a site plan for construction of a new façade and other improvements to the building on Brentwood Boulevard that contains the Pasta House Pronto, Clockmasters and two other businesses.
For about 35 minutes the board debated whether to require the owners to erect a wooden fence to shield residents who live behind the site from dumpsters in the rear parking lot. After city officials assured that the site plan adhered to all zoning laws, the board approved it by a vote of 7-1, with David Plufka dissenting. The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission had approved it unanimously.
A deciding factor in the debate was that the rear, west side, of the commercial property abuts a vacant lot that is zoned for planned development. If it were zoned for residential, a privacy fence would have been required.
“So by the strict adherence to your code, it wouldn’t require screening because it doesn’t abut residential property or property being used for residential purposes,” said the city’s planning consultant,Todd Streiler.
Alderman Andy Leahy was not convinced, saying, “I believe you’ll find that when we review the code it is a requirement that the trash containers be enclosed, and thus when he sends his inspectors out and they find that, it may have been an overlooked issue.”
Leahy proposed amending the bill to require the owners, by the end of the year, “to make improvements to the dumpster area to bring things up to code.” Mayor Chris Thornton said the motion was out of order because of Streiler’s assurance that “they are in complete compliance.” Leahy eventually withdrew his motion.
Concerned Madge Avenue residents
In the public hearing portion of Monday’s board meeting, before the bill was discussed, resident Louise Charboneau asked for a wooden stockade fence to be erected to shield residents from the rear of the property. She read a letter written to the board by fellow Madge Avenue resident Faith Beckerman, who lives several houses behind the businesses. “I see the back of this building and the fencing every time I park my car, every day when I take the dog out,” wrote Beckerman. “It takes away from my enjoyment of my own yard.”
Charboneau added, “Well it doesn’t really matter that the adjacent property is vacant when this lady who lives five houses away still has a view.”
Later in the meeting, when the bill was discussed, Alderman Plufka told property co-owner Robert Hagen, “I agree with Ms. Charboneau’s concerns … and I would ask you to consider … that you extend the privacy fencing that you’ve already installed to include the entire western border of that property.”
Hagen replied, “In light of the fact that my partner and I closed on this back in September 2015, and part of our due diligence process was basically finding out what violations we had from the city … fencing was never brought up.”
Hagen added, “Bear in mind that … we’re spending a lot of money to renovate this building, I think the back of the building will look good. … In terms of a fence, I think it’s an additional cost that we don’t need to bear right now. I don’t see that being a necessary thing.”
Hagen said extending the wooden fence across the back of the property would cost “Probably another $4,000.”
Toohey asked, “All these concerns that are being brought up — the chain-link fence, the dumpster — those are already present, correct?” Streiler replied, “Yes.” Toohey continued, “So this is an improvement and if we turn it down, those problems are already present minus the improvements he [Hagen] is bringing forth. So I’m failing to see the logic why we would push this on a business owner that wants to improve the lot.”
The site, from 2533 to 2539 S. Brentwood Blvd., has room for two additional businesses. The space where Back On the Rack was located is empty. The one where Option B Designery was will be leased by State Farm Insurance agent Pam Thornton.