I’ve lived in the 2000 block of Sherwood Avenue for 16 years, and I’ve had few reasons to complain about my neighbors. Now, though, I have to call out one of them for a contemptible lack of neighborliness. That would be the owner of Scorpio Interiors on Bardstown Road who, on a recent Monday morning – the day Sherwood was scheduled for street cleaning – had at least three of his neighbors’ cars towed. They were towed from the outer parking places in his, yes, posted-no-parking lot that probably could accommodate 14 or 16 vehicles. He set up his neighbors to pay a minimum of $115 to reclaim their vehicles from the tow lot, rather than share a little typically unused space between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., leave them notes that they’d best go elsewhere the next time the streets are cleaned.
My car wasn’t towed. Those neighbors whose cars were towed don’t have garages like I do. But count me among those who’ll never buy a thing from Scorpio Interiors. It is NOT a good neighbor.
– Susan Salsburg
2021 Sherwood Avenue, 40205
Editor’s Note: The Highlander invited Scorpio Interiors to respond to the previous letter. Their response is as follows:
Scorpio Interiors’ Response
For the 18 years Scorpio Interiors has been at this location, nearby residents/non-customers have parked in our lot. In the past 14 months or so, a number of people seem to have adopted a self-proclaimed right to consistently park in the spaces intended solely for my customers and deliveries. We have left notes on these cars numerous times. Not once did any of the car owners heed our warnings, so the only solution seemed to be to have them towed.
If Ms. Salsburg wanted to concern herself in a situation that does not even affect her, it seems she would have brought it to my attention by calling or simply stopping by the store. For example, recently a contractor asked for extended permission to use our lot for several of his workmen who would be parking and unloading supplies while building a garage for one of Ms. Salsburg’s neighbors. He approached this up front in a civil and polite manner; of course I granted his request.
I appreciate The Highlander for having given us this opportunity to respond, as we strive to excel in contemporary design and service and being a good neighbor for more than 35 years.
– Larry Wolfe, owner, Scorpio Interiors
1517 Bardstown Road, 40205
Getting What’s Due
When citizens are faced with issues such as rezoning and development, they expect Metro government to be a neutral body. They expect Metro government to follow procedures and to provide an arena where citizens have the opportunity to participate in the process and to be treated fairly and objectively without judgment. Unfortunately, many in Metro government do not subscribe to the philosophy of “due process” and, sadly, our community suffers because of it.
Based on a decision to deny a rezoning hearing to be “held in the neighborhood” concerning the historic property located on Edgehill Road in the Highlands-Douglass area, Jay Douds, President of the Highlands-Douglass Neighborhood Association (but acting as a private citizen) and I filed a complaint for temporary injunctive relief against the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, the Department of Codes & Regulations, the Division of Planning & Design Services, and the Louisville Metro Planning Commission.
According to section 153.03 of the Metro Louisville Code of Ordinances, regarding time and location of Planning Commission public hearings:
(A) When public hearing dates are set by the Louisville Metro Planning Commission, certain requirements must be followed in addition to procedures already in place.
(B) If the hearing has been scheduled at the Planning Commission regular place of business, and if within 15 days of the scheduled hearing date the Commission shall receive a petition from 300 or more property owners living within the affected Metro Council district and/or adjacent Council districts requesting that the hearing be rescheduled for a time after 6:00 p.m. at a convenient location, then the Planning Commission shall reschedule the hearing.
(C) Should the Planning Commission find the aforesaid necessary petition to be defective in any manner or if the Planning Commission is unable to reserve a suitable location for the hearing within four calendar weeks after the originally scheduled hearing date, then the Planning Commission may hold the hearing at their regular place of business but after 6:00 p.m.
In addition, several official publications and Web sites promoted by Metro Government and Planning & Design Services state that, “Citizens may also petition to have a public hearing held after normal working hours in their neighborhood. This requires signatures from 300 or more property owners living within the affected county district.”
Though I followed every instruction to the letter in gathering signatures and submitting the petition, we were told by Planning & Design Services that they had jurisdiction over the term “convenient location” and that the numerous publications and Web sites written for public consumption were incorrect. The rezoning hearing was not rescheduled and remained on the docket for October 29.
The decision to file for a temporary injunction had nothing to do with the development proposal for the Edgehill Road property and everything to do with our rights as citizens. The pathetic display of government bureaucracy that we witnessed showed a complete abuse of power and a blatant disregard for the law. We felt a responsibility to challenge the decision and to hold Planning & Design Services as well as the Planning Commission committee accountable for their actions. To do nothing would have been cowardly and unprincipled.
We, along with Belknap Neighborhood Association President Nancy Carrington and Irish Hill Neighborhood Association Co-chair Lisa Dettlinger, met with Councilman Tom Owen, who took a stand on the issue and wrote a letter to the Planning Commission urging them to defer the hearing until a neighborhood venue was available. In addition, we added the Highlands-Douglass Neighborhood Association to the Plaintiff’s list.
I find it ridiculous that we needed to go to such extremes to have our rights as citizens recognized and unfortunate that the mentality of those in charge at Planning & Design Services is nothing more than a big boy network that bullies outsiders without conscience.
Though the proposal process was delayed, the blame lies with Planning & Design Services and the Planning Commission committee. Had they given due process to those who signed the petition to begin with and followed the law, the events that occurred would not have happened.
While the injunction was not granted due to insufficient suffering of “immediate and irreparable harm,” the Planning Commission acknowledged the significance of due process and, in a stunning announcement at the beginning of the October 29th rezoning hearing, voted to reschedule the hearing to be held at a later date “in the 8th district, i.e., the neighborhood.”
It is obvious that the actions of several individuals compelled Planning & Design Services to re-examine their procedures and to minimize the attention focused on this preposterous situation. At the time of this writing, some three weeks after the initial dispute, all information concerning “Public Comment Opportunities” remains unavailable on the Planning & Design Services Web site. Clearly, the resolution to hold the rezoning hearing downtown was far more damning than they ever realized.
Despite the fact that we did get the rezoning hearing in the neighborhood on November 19, I can’t help but wonder if the next petitioner will be provided due process without a fight. Perhaps our efforts have sent a message and Metro government will think twice before disregarding the rights of citizens.
– Shellie Nitsche, 40205
The Highlander Turns Three in December!
Thanks to our contributors and readers who have participated in making this little newspaper a success. And, of course, thanks to our advertisers, whose continuing support makes it all possible each and every month. Have a safe and happy holiday and a good year in 2010.