Wednesday , 26 October 2016

Letter to the Editor: A Proposal From North Brook Estates Residents

Dear Sir/Sirs or Madam/Mesdames,

I am writing to you today on behalf of the residents of North Brook Estates, High Meadows, Raintree Estates and Westwood. We are greatly troubled by the proposed rezoning item #13-241Z, regarding the Bob Tomes Collision Center at the corner of North Brook Drive and Park View Avenue. Our concerns include the safety risks of the proposal to bring tractor trailer auto transporters in and out of the facility via Park View Avenue, the financial impact this change will have on the neighborhood and finally the aesthetics of the proposed change.

opinionTo briefly summarize, the proposed change includes reducing the previously agreed upon landscape buffer from 60 feet to 20 feet, building a wall, and erecting a new gated entrance on Park View for auto transport vehicles. The previously undeveloped area to the south of the existing collision center will be turned into a parking lot for new vehicles, and the tractor trailers will enter and exit the facility via Park View Ave. Currently the Tomes Auto Group’s auto transport vehicles park on North Brook Dr. to unload the vehicles. There is a concrete cutout for them so they do not block the road, and there is very little other traffic on the section of road along North Brook Dr from North Central Expressway to Park View Ave.

The citizens of the residential neighborhood which this collision center operates in are concerned about the impact this change will have to the safety of our residents, especially children, walking, cycling and commuting along Park View Avenue. Directly across the street to the south is Al Ruschhaupt Park and Soccer Complex, as well as a disc golf course. Many families walk from the neighborhood to the park, and with the recent changes to the school zones, more children will be traveling along Park View to get to school. If the proposed change goes through, these tractor trailers will be exiting the parking lot with a very small window of visibility before entering the street. If the landscaping buffer were maintained at 60 feet, this would allow a much greater range of visibility for the drivers leaving the lot to see out, as well as cars, cyclists and pedestrians on Park View to see the trucks exiting the lot.

In addition, the new lot, wall, and additional commercial impact on the neighborhood will negatively effect the value of our homes. Park View Avenue is one of the major entrances to our neighborhood, and when people drive in one of the first things they will see is a walled-in, lit parking lot and potentially encounter tractor trailers pulling out of the lot. It is obvious that this will make our neighborhood less desirable, making it harder for people to sell their homes, and reducing the value of those homes. With the already unstable housing market we are dealing with today, houses can take over a year to sell in this neighborhood. Increasing the commercial activity at an intersection where the other three corners are residential, and the land to the south is a park would clearly add one more reason for potential buyers to pass by our neighborhood.

While we resolutely oppose this requested change and want the original 60 foot buffer kept in place to help protect the safety of our residents, maintain the aesthetic appeal of the green zone, and prevent the deterioration of our property values, we have come together to suggest an alternative that we would find acceptable.

We propose a 40 foot buffer, a reasonable compromise between the original 60 foot and the requested 20 foot setback. We feel that while this is not as desirable as the original 60 foot buffer which Bob Tomes originally proposed and agreed to back in 1999, it is much safer and attractive than a 20 foot buffer.

We propose the fence along the 40 foot buffer be a 6 foot tall masonry wall, with the Tomes’ original proposed landscaping with irrigation to keep the grass, shrubs and trees thriving.

Finally, we propose the gated entrance on Park View Avenue be removed from the plans and request that the Tomes Auto Group continues to use the cutout on North Brook to unload their vehicles, using the north entrance to the Collision Center to bring vehicles into the new lot.

We feel that these conditions are a reasonable compromise that will allow us to keep the unique natural feel of our neighborhood entrance, and help keep our neighborhood looking and feeling residential, as well as greatly improving on the safety of pedestrians along Park View Avenue. Our proposed recommendations allow the Tomes Auto Group to develop the property into the storage lot while sticking as close as possible to the original stipulations they agreed to in order to originally rezone the lot back in 1999, while preventing a major impact to the value of our homes and the safety of our residents.

If you agree that the safety of our citizens, the value of our homes, and the look and feel of our neighborhood is worth protecting, then we know you will support our proposal.


Jessica Mauerhan

with the support of the residents of North Brook Estates,

High Meadows, Raintree Estates and Westwood

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