Friday, July 5, 2013

Despite opposition, two Westwood parcels rezoned for office

Two properties just off of Harrison Avenue in Westwood have been rezoned from single-family to office use, despite opposition from the Westwood Civic Association (WCA).

The properties, located at 3630 and 3634 Boudinot Avenue, include the Heitner Building – originally built as a school building and now partly used by the West Fed food pantry – and a soon-to-be vacant single-family house that requires significant repair.

Property owner Grace Lutheran Church requested the zoning change in order to rent the remainder of the Heitner Building for non-church office uses. The single-family house would be demolished for a parking lot.

While the WCA supports the office use, it opposes any rezoning, arguing that it isn't consistent with the goals of its 2010 strategic plan because the rezoning away from single-family use takes away parcels that could be used to boost owner-occupied housing.

The neighborhood's housing is currently 40 percent owner-occupied.

"Westwood's goal, according to the Strategic Plan, is to reach 60% Single-Family/Owner Occupied Housing," WCA President Joel Kimmet wrote in a Feb. 20 letter to Rekha Kumar of the City's Department of Planning and Buildings. "The Plan calls for rezoning as much property as possible back to SF use. To reach the goals stated above, as Commercial, Multi-Family, Rental properties become available for sale, declared obsolete, unusable or condemned, these properties will be declared obsolete, past their useful life, and demolished, restoring the neighborhood to Single-Family zoning and Single-Family use until the ratio of Single Family rises to 60%."

Previous reading on BC:
Planning Commission Friday: dunnhumbyUSA, Fire Station No. 35, land sales and rezoning (5/2/13)