Neighbors oppose using house for small salon

They see link to proposed development in Howard

April 06, 2005|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A proposed one-chair beauty parlor in a woman's Centennial-area home has sparked outrage from dozens of neighbors who see the specter of commercialism and a pending four-house development as a threat to their quiet area.

More than 70 people wearing "Save Our Homes - Don't Rezone" buttons crowded into a hearing room Monday night in the George Howard building in Ellicott City. County hearing examiner Thomas Carbo had to gavel for quiet several times to stop bitter bickering over Tamila Aliyeva's application for her home business on Gwynn Park Drive, off Old Annapolis Road.

"It's a residential neighborhood, and we're afraid it's going to set a precedent. It will change our way of life," said Linda Fitzsimmons, who has lived in the Gwynn Acres community for more than 30 years.

Aliyeva, 38, who is renting the house, said her neighbors' hostility is keeping her awake at night and frightening her children, ages 10 and 14. Her business would serve only one customer at a time, she said, and would require no physical alterations to the house.

"They come and stare at my windows, take pictures of my driveway and measure my driveway. This is too much for me," she told Carbo.

"I was stunned," said Bruce Mann, Aliyeva's attorney, who argued that her request is a simple conditional-use zoning case that should be routinely approved.

But people like John Hauf, 55, whose family has lived in the neighborhood since 1959, said they don't trust Aliyeva or Jacob Hikmet, the developer who owns her house. Hikmet battled through the courts for years for permission to build his seven-house Red Fox Estates development off Gwynn Brook Drive.

Now he wants county permission to build a driveway past Aliyeva's house to develop four more homes on steep, wooded slopes behind it. That's why he bought the property, he said. His driveway request was deferred by the county's subdivision review committee because of doubts he has the required 24-foot right of way required for the driveway, said Cindy Hamilton, chief of the division of land development.

County officials and Hikmet said his request for a waiver to build the driveway is not related to the beauty shop case, but the neighbors said they don't believe it.

"It's a first step in getting the houses," Hauf said. "She'll say, `I need a bigger driveway.' It's incremental."

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