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Ardsley neighborhood, home owner at odds over demolition request

  • The possible demolition of this Ardsley Park bungalow along with the planned construction of a larger home on the lot is raising concerns among neighbors who fear the project could set precedence for unfavorable development in the future. The city of Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals will hear the matter at their meeting on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of city of Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals)

A demolition request for a 1920s Ardsley Park bungalow, along with the planned construction of a larger home on the lot, is raising concerns among neighbors who fear the project could set a precedent for unfavorable development.

Mark Stroud, who is acting agent for the owner of the E. 49th St. property, is seeking approval from the city of Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals for a 20.5 percent lot coverage variance on top of the maximum 30 percent allowed, which would bring the total lot coverage to 50.5 percent.

The variances would bring the structure closer to the property lines, which is the main concern for the Ardsley Park/Chatham Crescent Neighborhood Association.

“We’re concerned about the precedent that may be set if the variance is allowed,” said association President Nick Palumbo.

The petition, which will be heard at Thursday’s ZBA meeting and is recommended for approval, shows that the current 1,700-square-foot residential structure along with an outdoor shed, is to be replaced by a 2,115-square-foot home with a one-car garage. The proposed plan would occupy a total of 2,379-square-feet of the 4,702-square-foot lot.

According to the ZBA staff report, the proposed layout of the lot will be similar to that on nearby developed properties and substantially conforms to the development standards prevalent in the neighborhood.

“The subject property is located in the Ardsley Park/Chatham Crescent neighborhood, and was built in the 1920s, prior to the adoption of zoning in Savannah. As such, the development standards in this neighborhood do not conform to those required in the R-6 Zoning District,” the report states.

The neighborhood association however would like to see the property restored. Palumbo said that the group, along with the Historic Savannah Foundation, has offered the developer connections to with local restoration resources as well as assistance with filing for restoration tax credits. The group also offered to absorb the cost of an additional restoration survey.

“The association believes, based on an exterior survey conducted of the property with a preservation professional, that the home is in restorable condition. There is no bowing to the frame of the structure, and while it does have some issues — it’s far from ‘beyond repair,’” Palumbo said.

“We’ve offered every possible avenue for compromise that we can think of, and not only will the new owner not explore them, they simply refuse to discuss any alternative. Even when we’ve offered to do a restoration survey of the property at a cost that would be absorbed by the association.”

Reached for comment earlier this week, Stroud stated he would comment following Thursday’s ZBA meeting.

“One can only surmise that the potential owners either had no intention of restoring the property, or they prefer the feasibility of its restoration be kept from the public,” Palumbo said.

More Info

Breakout Box: 

If you go

What: City of Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals

When: 10 a.m., Thursday

Where: 112 E. State st., Arthur A. Mendonsa Hearing Room

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