Catty zoning board approves new Front Street apartment
Vincent Smith approached the Catasauqua Zoning Hearing Board April 21 to ask for a variance to add an apartment to his primary residence at 125 Front St.
"There has always been an apartment on the third floor and it has a separate entrance," he said.
According to Smith, when he purchased the house it was divided into three apartments. He converted the property to a single-family dwelling once he completed his renovations. Now that his family is older and members of the family have moved out of the house, he no longer needs the 3,700 square feet of space the house provides.
Smith would like to activate the third floor unit so he could pick up extra income to cover portions of his tax bill.
The board considered two specific areas when reviewing his request.
Parking is the prime consideration with any property along Front Street. The borough is engaged in an analysis of parking along Front Street and Second Street. According to Smith, he remodeled a two-car garage and added five other parking spaces at the property. At one time, his family consisted of six people, so the need for on-site parking was necessary. The board reviewed Smith's parking areas and deemed them adequate for a tenant. The proposed one-bedroom apartment requires a minimum of two parking spaces.
The second issue in Smith's appeal was a variance on apartments in the Downtown Commercial (DC) zone. Requirements in the zoning ordinance require that apartments in this zone have a business use on the first floor. The intent of the ordinance was to help develop the downtown retail area.
"The house is not compatible with a business use on the first floor," Smith said. "It is a unique Victorian property with a grand staircase on the first floor." The board was aware of the unique style of the house.
Jodi Freymann, a neighbor at 123 Front St., confirmed Smith's house has had a third-floor apartment since 1940 and she had no objection to activating the apartment. She confirmed adequate parking exists around Smith's house and neither he nor his family had taken spaces reserved for others.
The board unanimously approved the variance for a third-floor apartment.