City zoning board OKs student home

The city Zoning Hearing Board recently approved a special exception for an Altoona woman to operate a student home not far from Keith Hilltop Terrace in a multiple household residential zone.

Jessie Lunger hopes to begin renting the house at 122 17th Ave. to three students next year, she told the board.

She was eligible for the special exception because there are no other student homes close enough to disqualify the house.

No neighbors attended the hearing to protest, as is common when property owners seek special exceptions for student homes — although the board must grant those exceptions regardless of protests if the owners meet the special exception criteria.

The house has four bedrooms, one of which is very small, Lunger told the board.

Lunger will need to pave the two parking spots in back as part of the exception requirement.

Lunger will take care of cutting the grass and removing the trash, she said.

Board Chairman Mike Halloran suggested that Lunger — who does not have prior experience as a landlord — include a provision in the lease that would permit her to evict tenants upon their slightest involvement with police.

The board also has approved a special exception for antique dealer Marla Heinz to use a former commercial space in Juniata for storage in a limited residential zone.

Heinz had been using the building at 432 N. Sixth Ave. in violation of the zoning ordinance.

The special exception will not permit Heinz to use the building for retail sales, which she told the board she wasn’t sure she wanted to do, anyway.

It will also not permit her to post a sign.

If she decides she wants to begin selling antiques out of the space — formerly a grocery store, later a TV store — she would need to come to the board again for permission, board member Cory Gehret told her.

As it is now, she loads and unloads items there when she goes to shows and flea markets, she told the board.

There is an apartment upstairs, which she may rent or move into herself, she said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.