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City Council approves zoning change on Coffeen Street

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The City Council narrowly agreed Monday night to change the zoning of three Coffeen Street residential properties to neighborhood business district.

By a 3-2 vote, council members gave the green light to change the classifications from residence B to neighborhood business district for 802, 808 and 816 Coffeen St., following the request of two of the property owners.

Councilmen Joseph M. Butler Jr. and Jeffrey M. Smith objected to the proposal, saying it could change the character of that section of Coffeen Street. Supporters, however, said the neighborhood already has a commercial aspect, so it would have little impact.

The issue came up when Jennifer Parrish requested the change because she intends to convert a detached garage in her duplex at 816 Coffeen St. into a real estate office. Then her neighbor, James P. Scordo, also requested the zoning change, although he does not have any plans for the property at 808 Coffeen St.

The owner of 802 Coffeen St., Daniel C. Scordo, then came forward with the same request.

In November, the city’s Planning Board approved the zone change. The City Council also had to give final consent.

With three properties now involved, Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator, said in response to a question from Mr. Butler that it would not be spot zoning.

But Mr. Smith voiced concerns about the future of that block, saying “it’s not now, but what is down the road?” Both he and Mr. Butler said they received phone calls from residents who were opposed to the change.

Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns recalled that when she was a Planning Board member, development of the Kinney Drugs store at Coffeen Street and Bellew Avenue created a stir with residents. Over the years, there has been “a spillover” from busy Arsenal Street, she said.

“The change of the neighborhood has already changed,” she said.

According to the resolution approved Monday night, the change would not have a significant impact on the environment, although the two opposing council members contended it could change traffic patterns.

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