March 2013

Zoning08 Mar 2013 01:17 pm

The Zoning Committee of the Passyunk Square Civic Association is not scheduled to hear any cases this month and the meeting has been canceled for March. Our committee members have been swamped with cases these past few months and are getting a well deserved break! See you in April.


The PSCA Zoning Committee meetings are opportunities for neighbors to hear the details of zoning applications within our civic association boundaries. The Zoning Committee does not make final decisions on the applications, but it does send letters to the Philadelphia Zoning Board Administration.

Check or for any last minute changes

Please email with any zoning-related questions.

Philadelphia06 Mar 2013 06:31 pm


Prepared by the Passyunk Square Civic Association

¬  AVI = Actual value initiative introduced by the City of Philadelphia (“City”) to revamp the system of real property taxes.  All real property in the City has been reassessed based on market value (i.e. what someone might buy it for on the free market).  The market values of all real property in Philadelphia were determined by the City’s Office of Property Assessments  (“OPA”).   The City’s stated purpose for AVI is to make the values of real estate, and thus the tax obligations of property owners in Philadelphia, accurate and fair.

¬  OPA released the new assessments on February 15, 2013.  The assessments relate to tax year 2014.  Each property owner should receive notice of his/her new assessment in the mail.  You can also check the new assessments online at:

¬  The amount of real estate taxes will be determined once the City has determined the tax rate.  The tax rate will be determined when the City has approved the budget for 2014.  The City budget is typically determined around May of the preceding year.  Currently, the minimum tax rate that has been identified by the City is 1.25% of the assessed value of each property.  For example, if your assessment is set at $100,000 and the tax rate is set at 1.32%, your tax obligation will be $1,320.

¬  Owner/occupants can apply for a homestead exemption, by submitting a paper application that was previously mailed, by applying online at, or by calling 215-686-9200 to apply. The deadline to apply for the homestead exemption if July 31, 2013 for applicability in tax year 2014. It should be noted that the homestead exemption measure is not yet finalized, but is currently proposed as a $30,000 reduction of a homeowner’s assessment. For example, if your assessment is set at $100,000 and you are eligible for the homestead exemption, you will be taxed at $70,000 for the period of the exemption. Other proposals for the homestead exemption and other gentrification protection measures are being considered by City Council. The greater the discount measures approved, the higher the tax rate will be.

¬  Property owners may appeal their new tax assessments here  First level of review is conducted by OPA.  You must complete a request form by March 31, 2013 and provide information you think is pertinent to your assessment.  It should be noted that the OPA evaluator may increase, decrease, or keep your assessment the same as a result of the review.

¬  If homeowners are not satisfied with the outcome of the first level of review, they may appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes (“BRT”).  Formal appeals to BRT are due by October 7, 2013 for tax year 2014.

Contact information for our 1st District Councilman, Mark Squilla:
Mark Squilla
District 1
City Hall, Room 332
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3290
(215)686-3458, (215)686-3459
FAX: (215) 686-1931

For contact information for the rest of City Council or to confirm your council district, please visit

Now that you’ve learned more about AVI, please take a moment to answer the questions found on the survey located here to tell us about your awareness and concerns around the city’s coming AVI implementation. Please submit survey responses by March 25th. If you have any questions or trouble accessing the survey, email us at


Minutes06 Mar 2013 11:22 am

Minutes from March 5, 2013 PSCA General Meeting @ St. John the Baptist Church

Meeting began at 6:40 pm, ended at 7:47 pm. Attendance: Approximately 35.

Board Members Present: Zenzola, D’Ippolito, Anton, Morris, Emma, Fioretti, Knapp, Wilder, Knox. Board Members Absent (excused): Geary, DiCapua

Welcome and Introductions: Pam Zenzola had attendees introduce themselves to new neighbors. She thanked Underdogs for donating the hot dogs and soda for the meeting.

Committee Reports:

Events: Ilene Wilder reminded attendees that PSCA will host a silent art auction on March 22 at Theatre Exile, chaired by volunteer Aubin Clever, from 7-10pm. Please let us know if you would like to volunteer or if you know of artists we should contact for donations of artwork. Tickets are $5 in advance/$10 at the door. Our neighborhood theatre company Theatre Exile is also hosting a roast of Fergus Carey called Fergie Fest on April 4, 2013 at the Ruba Club.

Trash and Recycling: Carmela Fioretti announced that PARC’s cleaning contract will resume March 12 (after a brief hiatus for late January and February). Look for the cleaners on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Spring Clean Up is April 13 from 9am-2pm, and volunteers may sign up by sending an email to PSCA will host another e-waste (electronics) recycling event on May 11 from 10am-2pm at the Acme.

Education: Christine Knapp reported on a few items: PSCA expresses sympathy for the recent passing of a Jackson kindergarten student; Jackson now has three classes of kindergarten and three classes of 1st graders, which allows small class sizes and accommodates growing enrollment; Jackson still has a website for those who wish to donate money for school projects and supplies; Jackson facilities have seen improvements recently, including a renovated science lab, fully stocked library with active library volunteers, and curriculum improvements with all kids now being able to take music and the arts. Jackson will also soon expand the mural on the outside of their building. Christine is meeting with a teacher from Kirkbride soon to try to work with our other neighborhood public school.

Planning: Karin Morris reported that the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Washington Avenue Roadway Design Study is beginning soon. It will investigate bicycle and pedestrian safety and a new roadway design for Washington Avenue from Broad Street to Christopher Columbus Boulevard. Another study will look at Washington Avenue from Broad to Grays Ferry Avenue, mostly focusing on parking and loading issues. There will be opportunity for the neighborhood to offer input, and we will invite PCPC to make a presentation at a future general meeting once the study is underway.

Beautification: Andrew Emma and Sarah Anton announced that the Spring tree planting is April 20 at 9am at Capitolo. Volunteers are needed and can sign up by emailing Form submission deadline for the Fall planting is April 5.   There will be a yard tree giveaway on April 13 from 10am-noon at Capitolo through the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, where anyone with yard space can pick up a container tree (which are 5-6 feet tall). Passyunk Gardens will open April 21 and is always looking for volunteers to assist with the garden. PSCA continues to work on bringing more public art to the neighborhood, and ideas for locations can be sent to

Parks: Ilene Wilder mentioned that Gold Star Park still needs a volunteer leader. Columbus Square will host their flea market on April 27, and spaces are still available. Columbus has received a grant from the Community Design Collaborative to work on an overall plan for the park. Capitolo will host an Easter egg hunt on March 23 from 11am-2pm. Columbus Square Advisory Council meets the 3rd Thursday of every month, while Capitolo Advisory Council meets the 1st Wednesday of every month.

Neighborhood Ambassador Program (NAP):  Angel D’Ippolito reported that the next NAP meeting is March 14 at 7pm at 1326 S. 9th Street. NAP hopes to incorporate Town Watch into their program, and is looking for more volunteers. Angel reminded residents to use the city’s 311 service to report graffiti, zoning violations, and other nuisances.

Actual Value Initiative: Angel D’Ippolito encouraged residents to fill out our new survey about AVI available on our website, as PSCA would like community feedback. The survey will close March 25. On March 26, the public is invited to a meeting of the combined South Philly civic associations about AVI, with Councilman Squilla, at 7pm in the Neumann-Goretti HS Auditorium. Similar meetings are being held in other neighborhoods if you cannot make this one, see for more details. If you plan to appeal your new assessment value, the form is due to OPA by March 31, 2013.

Zoning: Pam Zenzola reported there are no active zoning cases to be heard in March, so there will be no zoning committee meeting next week. South Broad Street Neighbors Association recently held a meeting to hear more about the Armory project at 1221-23 S. Broad Street, where a developer plans to demolish the building and build a 50-unit apartment building.


Ken Metzner of Kun-Yang Lin Dancers (1316 S. 9th Street) invited PSCA residents to attend the dance company’s upcoming performances on March 22 and 23 at Drexel University’s Mandel Theatre, and you can receive a discount of $4 per ticket if you use the code PSCA1. Kun-Yang Lin Dancers also hosts a wide variety of movement classes at their studio on S. 9th. For more info, see

Lisa Budnick, owner of the 10th Street Laundromat (10th and Ellsworth), and one of our Sponsors, distributed discount coupons and laundry bags, and spoke about her commitment to the neighborhood. She has been in business there for 13 years, the site having been a laundromat since the 1950s. They offer wash, fold, dry services for $1/lb as well, and have large capacity, high efficiency washers and dryers for blankets and other large items. She also supports local artists through art shows at the laundromat, and offers a stipend to the exhibiting artist. For more info, see

Linda Fernandez of the Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catherine Street, gave an overview of the classes and programs run by Fleisher, many of which are low-cost or tuition-free, for all age groups. Programs for kids include Saturday classes that bring 500 kids to Fleisher, as well as a Teen Lounge, and partnerships with local schools (Jackson, Kirkbride, Nebinger, and Meredith) to bring art instruction into the curriculum. Fleisher also runs ColorWheels, a mobile art studio that they bring to community events to offer art lessons. They are able to do some ColorWheels visits for free in zip codes 19147 and 19148. In other areas, the fee is generally $250/hour. There are also many classes and workshops for adults at Fleisher, including open studios for artists to use. Upcoming events include: Fleisher at the Kids on 2nd Street Festival on March 9 in Old City, hosted by the Arden Theatre; Fleisher Student Exhibition on March 22 from 6-8pm, and ARTspiration on June 8, which is their annual block party/open house. For more info, visit

Denny O’Brien, Republican City Council Member At-Large, stopped by to say hello, as a relatively new member of City Council (January 2012). He is visiting civic associations across the city.

 –Submitted by Karin Morris, PSCA Secretary, March 6, 2013.

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