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Archive for Thursday, April 12, 1990

ZONING APPEALS BOARD TO REHEAR RENOVATION CASE

April 12, 1990

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A fight by an East Lawrence resident to block renovation of a triplex resumes tonight in a court-ordered rehearing before the Lawrence Board of Zoning Appeals.

The BZA will meet in special session at 7 p.m. today to consider whether a city building permit should have been issued for renovation of a triplex at 1101 Pa.

Richard Kershenbaum, 1112 N.J., filed suit in March 1989 against the city over the renovation. Kershenbaum argued before the BZA in February 1989 that a building permit allowing renovation of the triplex should not have been issued to the building's owner, Paul Horvath.

Kershenbaum maintained that the triplex, which is on property zoned for single-family use, should have lost its legal, non-conforming use status when it was used for storage space for several years. The BZA, despite Kershenbaum's assertions, decided in a 4-0-1 vote that the triplex use was not voluntarily discontinued and that the building permit was properly issued.

DOUGLAS COUNTY District Judge James Paddock sided with Kershenbaum in January when he ruled that the BZA acted unreasonably when it allowed the renovation. The judge ordered the BZA to rehear the case and consider all information presented in its decision.

"The record as a whole indicates the decision of the board was unreasonable, was not made according to the law, and the conduct of the hearing was not fair and impartial," Paddock wrote in ordering the rehearing.

The rehearing will be conducted under new rules instituted by the BZA after Paddock's hearing. Witnesses will be sworn in and the opposing parties in the hearing will be allowed to cross examine witnesses.

DAVID GUNTERT, city planner who serves as a technical adviser to the BZA, said the board may not render a decision immediately after tonight's rehearing, which in the past would have been done automatically.

"They may recess the meeting to take a look at the evidence, review the minutes, even ask the two sides to prepare findings of fact to consider," Guntert said. "They then could set another meeting to deliberate over the information and announce their decision."

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