Neighbors Raise Flooding Concerns About Palmer Street Proposal

Residents of the Palmer Street neighborhood raised concerns about a two-unit, two-bedroom townhouse building proposed for 57 Palmer St. at Tuesday night’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

The developers are seeking to demolish a garage that currently exists at 57 Palmer St. and then construct the two-unit building with two parking spaces on the lower level.

There was some confusion among the applicants and board members over the ownership of 57 Palmer and adjoining 75 Palmer. Until very recently, the two lots were merged and had a single owner and the garage at 57 Palmer was used as parking for the existing building at 75 Palmer.

But the architect for the project, James Christopher, said that he had only learned this week that there was a new owner for 75 Palmer and the two lots were no longer owned in common. The split ownership raised questions from board members about a potential easement to create parking behind 75 Palmer since the garage at 57 will be razed to make way for the new residence.

“The intent is to construct a new two-unit building as laid out here, and iron out the wrinkles with 75 Palmer, as well,” said Christopher.

As proposed, the two units would be laid out side by side in a three-story building, with parking on the first level, a living and dining area on the second level, and two bedrooms on the third level of each unit.

Regardless of the ownership issues of the two properties, several neighbors said they were concerned the development would increase flooding in an area that already faces a number of concerns.

Palmer Street resident Arthur Ells said the project itself looked great, but was afraid it would add to the water woes in the area.

“I live adjacent to (the property), and as it is now, water pours through there,” said Ells.

Several other residents from the area said they agreed with Ells that flooding is a major concern in the neighborhood.

“Everything the neighbors have said is absolutely true,” said Precinct 1 City Councilor Todd Taylor. “Last year, we had torrential rain, and it flooded a family out on Columbus.”

There have been efforts to mitigate the flooding with sewer and culvert improvements in the area, but Taylor said it remains a problem.

“Please take all of that into consideration when you make your decision on this,” said Taylor.

Christopher said he believes steps will be taken in the construction of the property to make the water issues better for the area.

Permitting and land use director John DePriest said there would be a further investigation of the ownership issue with the two properties, and that the project may have to re-advertised if it looks like there will need to be an easement on both properties to create parking.

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