The following is a draft of a letter to be sent to the ZBA regarding the deision of the Passyunk Square Zoning Committee for the applicant at 1537 S. 11th St. This case appeared before the committee on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
May 8, 2012
Lynette Brown Sow, Chairperson
ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
1440 JFK Blvd, 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
RE: 1537 S. 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Dear Ms. Brown-Sow:
The referenced application was first presented at the public meeting of the Passyunk Square Civic Association Zoning Committee on April 10, 2012. The Committee heard the application and public comment, if any, and voted in NON-OPPOSITION to the application for a variance.
The applicant requested a Use Permit for: erection of one accessory double faced projecting sign accessory to the proposed take-out restaurant with seating on the first floor with existing one apartment on the second floor with one apartment on the third floor.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections issued a Refusal for the Permit Application stating:
• the proposed use, take out restaurant with seating, is not permitted in this zoning district
• the proposed projecting sign is not permitted in this zoning district
Before the April meeting with the Zoning Committee, the applicant scheduled an informational presentation at the Committee’s March meeting in order to give the community the opportunity to provide feedback. The applicant then convened a separate informational meeting for the neighbors who live in the immediate vicinity of the property in order to give those neighbors a chance to have all concerns heard and addressed. A member of the Zoning Committee was present and satisfied that all concerns were addressed to the satisfaction of those assembled.
On 10 April, the Zoning Committee voted 5-0 in non-opposition of this application. Following that meeting, applicant learned of an opportunity to convert the 2nd floor of the property to accommodate additional restaurant seating. Applicant informed the Zoning Committee, revised the application, scheduled a second meeting with the Zoning Committee and received a revised refusal for the project that included the following additional refusal:
• The proposed commercial use on the 2nd floor is not permitted in this zoning district
The applicant appeared before the Zoning Committee with the revised refusal (Application# 402818) on May 8, 2012. The Committee heard the application and public comment and voted 4-0 with 1 abstention in NON-OPPOSITION to the application for a variance. The Committee was satisfied with the lengths to which the applicant went to keep the near neighbors of this project informed about the plans for this property during the initial phase. The Committee also believes that the proposed tenant – who is the proprietor of another establishment nearby – is a responsible business owner. The Committee did not find that granting this variance would cause significant harm to the character or appearance of the neighborhood or create a hardship for the neighbors. Finally, the Committee did not find that the change to the application to include the commercial use on the second floor would cause significant harm to the character or appearance of the neighborhood. In fact, given the current use of the building’s ground floor – none – the proposed would be an improvement to the street life and activity of one of the neighborhood’s most high trafficked intersections.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
/s/ John DiGiulio
John DiGiulio, Chairman
PSCA Zoning Committee
Cc: The Hon. Mark Squilla, 1st District Councilman
Senator Larry Farnese, PA 1st Senatorial District
Jennifer Barr, Community Planner, Philadelphia City Planning Commission
Sam Sherman, Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation, Applicant
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