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Seven Duplexes on Palermo’s Property Get Green Light

Seven Duplexes on Palermo’s Property Get Green Light

first_imgAn architect’s drawing of proposed residential duplexes on the 400 block of Asbury Avenue in Ocean City at the site of the vacant Palermo’s Family Market. In a 5-2 vote on Wednesday night, the Ocean City Planning Board approved a subdivision and site plan to demolish the long-vacant Palermo’s Family Market at Fourth Street and Asbury Avenue and to replace it with seven duplexes.The Palermo’s property includes three vacant apartments on the upper floors and an abandoned supermarket that has been vacant since a 2009 snowstorm damaged the property.Representatives of the Palermo family and five board members argued that the merits of the development outweigh detriments to the public.A developer with a contract to purchase the property has agreed to demolish the dilapidated supermarket that neighbors call a hazard to public safety, to pay $325,000 for the cleanup of an oil spill covering the first three lots of the property and a neighboring property, to turn a commercial property with 100 percent impervious coverage into one with about 6,000 square feet of grass and to build seven duplexes that proponents and opponents agree are more tasteful than other cookie-cutter designs.But the seventh duplex required variances, and neighbors and two board members argued that all of the above objectives could be achieved with six duplexes that conform to existing zoning and offer less density.After the board’s vote, Phyllis Coletta, a cofounder of Ocean City Smart Growth, said the citizen group likely would file an appeal in Cape May County Superior Court.What would have been a standard 40-by-100-foot corner lot required variances because sometime likely in the 1940s a 20-by-42 foot lot was carved out of it. It now houses a duplex that is not owned by the Palermos and not for sale.The “special and unique geometry” of the lot (in the words of architect Terry Thomas) required variances for lot frontage (the corner lot has 39 of the required 40 feet), depth (79.66 of the required 100 feet) and area (3,107 of the required 4,000 square feet).The approval of the variances hinges to a degree on interpretation of “hardship” for the applicant.“The lot has always been there. No matter how you size this property, you’re always going to have a nonconforming lot,” said Jon Batastini, attorney for applicant Steven Palermo.“The law is really clear,” Coletta said. “To grant that variance is reversible error.”She said the Palermos purchased the property knowing the abutting property was there. She said because the developer created the hardship by proposing seven lots without enough space, he is not entitled to the variance.The vote on the site plan and variances included board members Mike Dattilo, Dale Braun, Dean Adams, Gary Jessel and Bob Becher voting in favor, and Ken Jones and Chairman John Loeper voting against.Members Antwan McClellan and Joe Sheppard, both real estate agents with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, which has a tentative agreement to list the new duplex properties, were not present for the meeting. Matthew Vanderschuere also was not present.Mick Duncan, owner of Duncan Homes at the Shore and Surfside Construction,  has a contract to purchase the blighted property that is contingent on first obtaining planning and zoning approvals for the project.The seven proposed duplexes include individual units with three bedrooms and about 1,200 square feet of living space.Because he neither owns the property yet nor has started construction, Duncan said earlier this spring that he does not have a listing price. But he said he’s been told that sales of comparable duplex units fall in the $400,000 to $420,000 range.Each unit would have two spaces for off-street parking, one in a garage and one in a driveway off the rear alley (four spaces per duplex).  The corner unit has its garage in the front with a new curb cut to Asbury Avenue in his plan. But because about more than 90 feet of existing curb cut from the existing supermarket would be eliminated, two on-street parking spaces are expected to be added.Six units conform with an existing zone for residential duplexes with 30-foot frontages (R2-30) that was approved in August 2014. Plans for the duplexes show a variety of designs for the front and rear facades.Nine members of the public spoke during the meeting, most echoing Palermo’s neighbor Susan Morrison, who said, “The same result could be achieved by building six conforming duplexes.”“What’s being proposed is a lot less dense than what’s already there,” Braun said.“If you can’t make a profit, it’s not going to happen,” Jessel said in support of the variances, suggesting that if a private party does not assume the costs of the demolition, cleanup and redevelopment, taxpayers likely will, if the work happens at all.The business has been closed since 2009 and listed for sale since 2011.Loeper argued against approving the seventh nonconforming lot and said the developer could have proposed six conforming 35-foot lots.Coletta said earlier on Wednesday that Ocean City Smart Growth’s ultimate goal would be to see the redevelopment proposal defeated and to have the city use its new abandoned properties ordinance to force the demolition and cleanup of the property.“Open space is our preference,” she said.She said the city should buy the property or work with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land to get grants to purchase it.last_img read more

250 youth empowered to fight HIV through tennis sport

250 youth empowered to fight HIV through tennis sport

first_imgOrganisers pose for photos with semi finalists and winners of the youth tennis tournament.Kampala, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  250 Ugandan youths have completed a program designed to empower youth through the sport of tennis while also providing HIV/AIDS education.  Dubbed the Arthur Ashe Tennis Program, the initiative was implemented by the U.S. Mission in partnership with the Tartan Burners Athletic Club, the Uganda Tennis Association (UTA), and the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV&AIDS (UNYPA).  The Program provides HIV/AIDS education and awareness, in honour of fallen African American tennis player, Arthur Ashe, the first and only African American male to win the U.S Open and Wimbledon singles titles. Ashe was the world number 1 tennis player in 1968.  Ashe learned in 1988 that he had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and became an HIV/AIDS activist. He started the Ashe Arthur Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. In 1993, Ashe died of AIDS-related pneumonia.  The US Embassy holds the youth tennis program annually to honour his legacy of “fighting for racial equality and HIV awareness.  The program sponsored tennis clinics and HIV/AIDS education in Hoima, Gulu, Arua, Jinja and Fort Portal, where Tennis instructors teach tennis skills to the youth aged 13-18, and Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV&AIDS holds sessions on HIV/AIDS education.  This climaxed with a Grand Finale at the Lugogo Tennis Court in Kampala, where the US mission organized a youth tournament final and exhibition doubles match between Uganda and USA players on Saturday afternoon.  Christopher Krafft, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala explains that the Mission launched the Arthur Ashe Tennis Program to coincide with the US celebration of Black History Month, a period to commemorate the contribution of various African Americans in various disciplines.  Krafft says that HIV is still a significant health problem and that everyone must take personal responsibility to reduce the spread of the disease. It is estimated that 1.4 million Ugandans are living with HIV.  Some of the youths who attended the grand finale of the program told Uganda Radio Network-URN that the program was empowering and that they are prepared to lead campaigns for an AIDS-free generation. Jovas Natukunda and Karen Namatovu lauded the US Mission for sponsoring the program while Reagan Odongkara, who is a student of Gulu High School says that he will encourage his peers to abstain or use condoms in order to avoid HIV infections.    During the event, Moses Nsubuga alias Supercharger shared his journey, loving with HIV and leading a positive, inspirational life since 1994.  Meanwhile, one Shakira, a young girl born with HIV asked youths to take charge of their lives by living responsibly. She says that much as they encourage infected persons to take their medication among other tips, it is best not to contract the virus. Phil Dimon, the Spokesperson of the US Mission says that he hopes that the program will be held annually and also spread beyond five districts in the near future. He however says that the continuity of the program will depend on the availability of funds.  The US Mission allocated 92 million Shillings for the inaugural Arthur Ashe Tennis program which catered for the tennis clinics and activities for the grand finale. *******URNShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

first_imgFacebook130Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of SheltonAdopt-A-Pet of Shelton’s dog of the week is Henry.Henry is a 14 month old German Shepherd mix. He’s like a sponge, just waiting to soak up everything you have to teach him. Henry lived in a home with mature owners and will do best in a new home with calm, loving, confident owners who understand the breed and who can help him continue to grow and become a confident, happy boy.Henry has never been around other dogs , cats or kids. Henry is a beautiful dog who is a little shy at first but you will quickly discover what a nice boy he really is.We have lots of great dogs and always need volunteers to help them.  Visit our website at www.adoptapet-wa.org or contact Adopt-A-Pet, on Jensen Road in Shelton, at [email protected] or (360) 432-3091.  Join us on Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington”.last_img read more