So I had to go talk to the Board of Adjustment today about the parking pad problem on our corner. A teeny bit of history is here at All Over But the Shouting, or at Of Course It Would Be a Quaker Phrase or by clicking on the Halliday tag. Today, though. Here's what I had say....
On Halliday, we have been dealing with this problem for a year. It was a year ago that Mr. Heyer illegally paved the driveway in front of his apartment building. We have tried negotiating with this man. We have tried meeting him more than halfway. But in the end, we must rely on the statutes and codes of the city, rely on you, because we have learned we cannot rely on goodwill. We cannot rely on our alderman, who obviously counts the interests of a developer from Chesterfield more heavily than those of the homeowners and voters of 3500 block of Halliday.
It is most frustrating to me that as a resident of this block, of this city, a supporter of neighborhood organizations, a parishioner of a local church, as someone deeply ingrained in city life, my opinion and those of my neighbors do not seem to count. It is shocking that a non-resident, whose children do not attend our schools, who does not shop at our stores or go to our churches, can snub his nose at the rules we abide by as members of this community and do as he pleases although the results could be disastrous.
The last time we met here in this room to attempt to reach a fair conclusion, my greatest concern was about safety. That has not changed. After Mr. Heyer withdrew his appeal, but before the concrete was taken out, my daughters and I went walking. My younger daughter was not quite 3, and we were planning for a walk in Tower Grove Park, which sits just across Grand from our lovely block. We walked west on Halliday past neighbors’ houses, neighbors with children, and our route was to take us up Grand to the light at Magnolia, crossing Grand there and then entering the park. But as we approached the four-car parking lot Mr. Heyer illegally paved, a car pulled out in front of us, a half a car length away from where we were walking. The driver waved at us, sorry, didn’t see you. And I thought to myself, well, thanks be to God this issue is resolved and it’s only a matter of time before we have our clear access returned.
And you could tell me that instead of walking down the public sidewalk, I could have crossed Halliday in the middle of the street, walked down the south sidewalk, and then crossed again at the corner to avoid the parking lot. Sure. But what about the mothers who don’t live on our block, who walk down Halliday from the east to go to the park? What about the students and elderly who get off the bus on Grand and walk up our street to their homes a few blocks away? Are you suggesting we put up warning signs in front of Mr. Heyer’s building so that they know this is a danger?
We just want our street to be safe. A four car parking lot doesn’t fit with that desire.
Thanks to Steve at Urban Review St. Louis for giving this some focus for me last April and May.
We will see what happens next....