HAIRDRESSER'S ZONING REQUEST WITHIN REASON
How far should the city go in allowing and encouraging people to run sole-proprietor businesses out of their homes? The La Grande City Council soon will be faced with hearing an appeal of a planning commission decision to disallow a one-station hair salon in a residential neighborhood.
TWO NEIGHBORS objected to Vicki Hughes-Stanton's hair salon at her house at 1703 Cedar St. The neighbors claim and the planning commission agreed that Stanton's business adds parking and traffic pressures in the neighborhood.
The commission rejected the planning staff's earlier administrative approval of the permit based on the fact that the Stantons can't provide a total of three off-street parking spaces two for the home and one for the business. Like many houses in La Grande, the Stantons only have a single driveway.
The council needs to put some common sense into the equation when it considers its decision on the appeal. Stanton operates a single-station salon from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. She can seat no more than one client at a time, and the only overlap would be when one person is finishing an appointment and another is waiting. One client can park in the driveway, another in the street, which on most weekdays has ample space available. Clients logically would alternate between parking in the driveway and on the street. Stanton can park in her garage off an alley.
THE HOME occupation doesn't appear to put any burden on neighborhood parking or traffic situations during weekdays. The congestion the objecting neighbors refer to is hard to spot. The city's staff report noted that "heavier use of on-street parking is more likely to occur in the evenings and on weekends.'' A two- or three-station salon could create such a nuisance in a residential neighborhood, but it's hard to see how Stanton's business as it exists would cause congestion.
Stanton isn't asking the city to open up its residential neighborhoods to a retail or commercial establishment that would create lots of traffic. She wants to be able to work out of her home. Unless someone can show that her business has had a negative effect on parking and traffic, she should be given the opportunity to continue. The council should correct the planning commission's unwillingness to put some common sense in its decision.
BID TONYA ADIEU
Tonya Harding gets far more press than she deserves. Harding is a has-been, yet every move this Olympic skater-turned-loser makes is chronicled by Portland's TV stations.
Harding has made her life a joke, and Portland's media won't let her slip into the oblivion that she deserves. Chronicling her misadventures should be left for the tabloids. Mainstream media need to ignore her.