Easton Home Expansion Too Big, Zoners Say
Zoning Hearing Board denies plan to build four-story senior living facility in the West Ward.
The Easton Home's plan to expand in the West Ward has hit a road block.
The city Zoning Hearing Board on Monday denied a request by the senior citizen center to put up a four-story residential building at its existing property on Northampton Street.
The Easton Home—owned by Presbyterian Senior Living—had proposed a 52-unit facility for people 62 and over. Rodney Fenstermacher, director of construction for the project, said these would be residents able to live on their own yet who would still be close enough to access the Easton Home's healthcare services if needed.
The building before the board Monday was a scaled-back version of the project the Easton Home announced last year, which featured 104 units.
But even this version is "out of scale to the neighborhood," said board member Michael Brett, who made the motion to deny the application.
Neighboring property owners had testified against the expansion. Among them was S. 10th Street resident Jim Flagg, who called the Easton Home a good neighbor that would nonetheless "diminish the neighborhood" if allowed to put up a four-story structure.
“That’s going to cut off all natural light to my property," said Flagg, who is the editoral page editor at The Express-Times. "I’m not going to be able to see the sky from my side porch.”
He added that the expansion would create a "hellish" parking situation in the neighborhood, and also worried about a decline in air quality in the neighborhood from extra vehicles the new building would bring.
Residents also objected to a second application from the Easton Home for a 17-space parking lot on Warren Street.
The board approved that one, although the future of the building that would go with it is uncertain.
Bernadette Hohenadel, the attorney representing the Easton Home, declined to say much after the meeting, only that her clients would need time to figure out their next step.