Carport Debate Shifts to Safety 

The Museum District carport saga is shifting gears. It turns out the anti-carport folks are not just concerned about the effect carports have on the neighborhood's historic architecture. They're more concerned about safety — namely, that Roberta Crowell, who is building the carport adjacent to her home in the 3300 block of Stuart Avenue, would be pulling onto a busy street a block from an intersection where there's a four-way stop.

There have been four accidents in the last four years at the nearby intersection, says Robert Orlowski, head of the Museum District Association's zoning committee, and a preponderance of inexperienced drivers coming from nearby St. Gertrude High School. He worries that an oncoming car could hit Crowell.

“We're bound to pursue this as far as opposing the curb cut as best we can,” Orlowski says. After losing an appeal before the city's Board of Zoning Appeals two weeks ago — it was determined that the association didn't have legal standing to challenge the carport — the group is now working to revoke the city's issuance of a driveway permit for a 23-foot curb cut.

City Council can revoke the driveway permit, Orlowski says, if it determines there is a “superseding public need” to do so. That would be a public-safety issue, he says. 

But Crowell isn't buying it. She told City Councilman Bruce Tyler as much last week, when he knocked on her door looking to negotiate a compromise: Could she move the curb cut to the back alley?

“I told him that we were not going to do that,” she says, explaining that coming through the back alley would require cutting down a majestic hackberry tree.

As for safety, she says her car, parked on the street, was damaged in June 2007: “My car was sideswiped by someone during the middle of the night. Accidents happen and we must all take precautions.”



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