NeighborsÂ in the immediate vicinity are understandably concerned about this, and have created an Albion Neighbors blog to keep residents and other concerned citizens informed about the project and its potential neighborhood impact.
According to public records, the building is currently owned by Barak Jolish, who received a letter of determination from the planning department in July of 2010 stating that:
It is my determination that the subject building was established as a religious facilty and group housingÂ in 1974 through the issuance of Building Permit Application 7411224. No other building permit or otherÂ development approval was issued since then to legally change the use of the building. Therefore, theÂ existing legal use of the ground floor chapel area of the subject building is “Religious Facility,” and theÂ existing legal use of the remainder of the subject building is “Group Housing.”
The purchaser sent the planning department the letter on June 18, 2010 and received a response dated July 19, 2010. Public tax records show the purchase closed on August 9, 2010 so it appears that Mr. Jolish had a response from the planning department prior to completing his purchase of the property. From what I understand, the new owner wants to substantially increase the number of units in the building for the purpose of a group residence home.
I have absolutely no idea what kind of residents the developer is targeting for this project, but given that the building is steps away from a public housing authority project common sense seems to say that this is about the worst possible location in the city to build a home for recovering drug users, alcoholics, parolees, or other individuals that require support for successful independent day-to-day living.
I’ve attempted to reach out to and track down the owner, offering him a chance to present his perspective here as well. If I hear from him I will certainly let you know.
If you are the type that finds going to meetings to be a productive or enjoyable use of your time, here are two upcoming meetings related to the project:
- There is an upcoming planning commission meeting this Thursday September 15th. It will be at 12:00pm in City Hall Room 400, and from what I understand this project is on the agenda.
- In addition, according to the Albion Neighbors blog there is a meeting to appeal the permit that is scheduled for September 21 at 5:00pm in City Hall Room 416.
Â [Update] The property owner has been in touch with neighbors and it sounds like constructive dialog is taking place. Here’s to hoping everyone involved can find a satisfactory resolution.