By Claire Byun
A proposed dental clinic in the City Park neighborhood scored approval from the zoning board this week, leaving some residents worried about already-tight parking spaces in the area.
The New Orleans Board of Zoning Appeals approved a waiver to reduce parking space for the proposed clinic – located at 605 Carrollton Ave. – at their meeting Monday. The shotgun’s zoning requires at least five off-street parking spots for the business, but the building’s owner said similar businesses in the area have only supplied three spaces.
Chelsea Accardo, DDS, said the required five spaces are based on the number of rooms her office will have, but it doesn’t take into account the actual volume of patients. As an endodontic specialist, Accardo said she doesn’t need all five spaces.
“I’m a specialist so I only see so many people a day, and I believes three spaces will be enough,” she told the board.
Accardo is proposing to convert two of the former residential units on the second floor of the double shotgun into an endodontic clinic. The proposed clinic would provide three exam rooms, work space, a receptionist area, an office, ADA compliant restrooms and an employee break room.
There was no vocal opposition from anyone at the meeting, but the board received a few letters of opposition from neighbors. Carolyn Scofield, who lives on the 600 block of Carrollton, sent a letter to the BZA bemoaning the already-limited spaces along the busy street. Scofield said spaces are taken by coffee shop employees and customers, which leaves little room for the residents along the corridor.
“With a growing number of commercial businesses on the block, residents are being shut out,” Scofield wrote.
Emily Leitzinger, president of the Mid-City Neighborhood Association, sent a letter to the BZA reiterating residents’ concerns about the lack of parking. The letter suggested Accardo could consider an agreement with Mid-City Market, “as they maintain a nearby (within 300 feet) underutilized surface parking lot.”
Scofield suggested that rather than denying the parking waiver, the city could make the 600 block of Carrollton into a two-hour residential parking zone. She said she’d be happy to get a permit to park closer to her home, if necessary.
The BZA didn’t consider the proposed two-hour zone, but did require three provisos from Accardo: the first requires the new office to have enough permeable space, or else the Office of Safety and Permits won’t issue a building permit.
The second requires Accardo to repair any city sidewalk that’s damaged by the renovations, and the third requires her to provide the Department of Sanitation a copy of a contract between a litter abatement company and her office.