|CAT member Barrett Ladd|
Barrett Ladd, a member of CAT and the building's owner since 2003, told zoners that the building has always housed a business. Recently, it was the home of Jackie's Ceramics. But she has since retired. Converting it into a residence would be too costly, Ladd explained, so he'd like to lease it to CAT as an office, for light bicycle maintenance as well as some small classes on bicycle repair and safety.
Steve Schmitt, CAT's director, testified that a West end location would be a convenience to people in that area, who might have trouble making it to his main facility. He described it as a "support facility" for people who bicycle. He explained that, in addition to learning how to fix a flat, CAT staffers would help members find appropriate routes to use a bicycle as a mode of transportation.
He explained membership costs $75, but there is a "barter" program in which someone could join after performing a community service like picking up garbage in the neighborhood.
Ladd was represented by Center Street Attorney Sarah Andrew, who argued that the building's use for light bicycle repairs would be "no more intensive" than its use as a ceramic shop.
But six neighbors disagreed.
"Where are we supposed to park?" asked Debbie Peipher. "We are taxpaying citizens!"
Ben Bartolett, who referred to himself as a "blockheaded Dutchman," warned, "Kids are going to stand there and smoke and cause trouble."
Schmitt and Ladd both tried to allay these concerns, noting that most people visiting the facility will be on bicycles, not driving cars. Attorney Andrew, for that reason, described CAT as an "ideal tenant." "Even its solvents are soy-based," she added.
Peipher and Rosanne Minarovic, another neighbor, described some of the businesses that have operated at the location. In addition to the ceramic shop, there has been a lunch counter, shoe repair shop, hair salon and even a motorcycle repair business.
They added there might have been one or two shootings during its motorcycle era.
After this testimony, zoners bought Attorney Andrew's argument that a bicycle repair shop using soy-based solvents is probably a little less intrusive.
|Ladd and Director Steve Schmitt promote car-free lifestyle.|