November 19, 2014
RE: RCO Notification of Permit #527334 (zoning appeal #22928), 537 Morris Street, Philadelphia, PA
Dear Ms. Quintana:
The above-referenced applicant and his attorney initially failed to respond to several emails sent by our Zoning Committee to obtain information and set a date for consideration of the application back in the spring. We received the notice from the City on May 14, 2014. No notice was provided to any neighboring property that we can determine. No posting was completed at all as required prior to the zoning appeal hearing set for September 23, 2014. We understand that hearing was postponed until November 25, 2014. Again, no meeting, no notice, no posting has occurred.
This is the fourth time this property has been proposed as a triplex. In the first letter we sent about this property a number of issues were outlined, including that no one cared for the property, too many occupants, trash and noise. A number of people are currently living there. Further, that block is changing rapidly to single family and this applicant’s request does not further the intent of the zoning code in the RSA-5 area. Prior to the first hearing scheduled for July 15, on July 3, the attorney for the applicant contacted a DSWCA Board member seeking an immediate Zoning Committee meeting based on his assertion that the property was purchased as a triplex in 2004 and zoned that way at that time. We have reviewed the zoning file at the City. While there was an application for a triplex on September 19, 1988, No. 019145, the ZBA refused it on December 2, 1988, as the request was for a triplex in an area zoned R10A and no appeal was filed. Thus, we can find no record that this property has ever been zoned as a triplex. The Co-Chair of our Zoning Committee offered to meet on July 22 if the relevant documents were received by July 8. No further contact from the applicant or his counsel occurred. In August 2013, over a year ago, this applicant first presented to us the same appeal under a different appeal number to legalize the building as a triplex where multiple dwellings in one structure are not allowed in an RSA-5 (formerly R10A) zone. It was also opposed at that time by a dozen neighbors. (See ZBA Application #464097, appeal number 20445). The Dickinson Square West Zoning Committee recommended that the ZBA deny that application. Neighbors are not happy with the numerous delays by this applicant and want to stress their opposition to this multifamily property.
We have not been presented any new information to consider, nor has the applicant followed through to request a meeting of the Zoning Committee to consider any new information. Therefore, the DNCA Zoning Committee recommends the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment DENY permit #527334, appeal #22928 (537 Morris Street).
We appreciate the opportunity to provide comment on this application. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions.
Zoning Committee Dickinson Square West Civic Association
cc: Marie Beren, Councilman Squilla’s office (via email); Jeannette Brugger, PCPC (via email), applicant;Tanya.Sunkett@phila.gov
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