The purpose of EFCC's Zoning Committee is to protect & improve the quality of life within East Falls, a community of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, through the cooperative actions of East Falls residents.

ZONING

UPCOMING Zoning MeetingS: 
NOVEMBER 16 @ 7pm

 

EFCC zoning meetings take place on the third Wednesday of every month. Use the Zoom button below at the start of the meeting to connect with those who share your concerns.

AGENDA - NOVEMBER 16TH:

3500 Ainslie Street (Ainslie & Conrad)

Proposal is for 5 apartments where currently 4 exist. This is a corner property with trash and recycling cans stored on the sidewalk with no dedicated parking. 

Refusals:

  • 5 parking spaces are required - none supplied.

  • Lot is adjacent to an RSA-3 district and is zoned CMX-1 which does not allow multiple family living.

3300 HENRY AVENUE

To change the zoning at The Falls Center from single family residential (RSA-5) to commercial/mixed use (CMX-3) that more accurately reflects the nature of all the uses that are there.  Currently the site has a variance for all these different uses. This site was previously known as MCP/Womens Medical.

  • Community /Neighbor input and approval to the proposed zoning change is required. 

  • To review the existing uses at The Falls Center  https//:falls-center.com

EFCC is a Registered Community Organization (RCO) with a Zoning Committee made up of volunteers. Members include: ​

Hilary Langer, (Chair) , Emily Nichols (EFCC President), Bill Epstein, Glynis Tart, Todd Baylson,  Stan Sherman,  LB Young, Paul Elia, Thomas Flynn, Jim O'Toole, Bruce Weitz, Matt McClure, Linda Norris.

All members abide by the zoning rules and regulations provided by the ZBA and the EFCC's procedures and bylaws, which can be reviewed in the EFCC's Archives.  

About Zoning

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UPDATED School House Lane

Traffic Study

New traffic Access Study dated 10.14.2022 for William Penn Charter Schools' Master Plan. This study is based on new data just collected.

New Traffic Access Study PDF Here  

See below link for The Parking Assessment dated 10.14.2022

Parking Assessment PDF Here

 

See below link for the RCO July 17th presentation by CEO Hal Davidow and EwingCole Architects. This presentation is also in the process of being updated and will be presented on the October 19th Community Meeting.

Masterplan & Lower School Presentation PDF HERE

ZBA Hearing 10.26.22 Report - Penn Charter presented The Master Plan and Traffic Study/Parking Assessment. Due to time constraints the hearing was scheduled to be resumed on November 30th at 2.00 pm. Several neighbors have hired an attorney to represent their concerns regarding the master Plan and Timmons House parking.

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3504 Ainslie Street

Re: RCO Meeting Calendar No: MI-2021-003662

Zoning Application No: ZP-2021-007889

Project Address: 3504 Ainslie Street

For the erection of 2 new homes on an existing single lot with one existing home to be subdivided into three lots. Open lots have existed for 147 years between these homes.

Zoning Committee Meeting: 09/15/21 & Neighbor Site Meeting: 10/11/21.

Neighbor position: OPPOSE

ZBA Hearing Date - 11/02/21:  continued at request of the 11th hour hiring of an attorney by the Owner.

ZBA Hearing Date - 03/09/22: Continued.

Zoning Appeal Application Withdrawn by Owner: 04/07/22.

Owner has submitted for subdivision of the Lot into two lots which was approved. The zoning for the single family home has also been approved by the L & I and is now by-right.

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3549

SUNNYSIDE

AVENUE

Re: RCO Meeting Calendar No: MI-2021-002538

Zoning Application No: ZP-2021-003150

Project Address: 3549 Sunnyside Avenue

The owner of 3549 Sunnyside Ave. seeks to change the ‘use’ to (4) dwelling units in an existing building with an existing granted ‘use’ of one (1) commercial unit and three (3) dwelling units.

Community Zoning Meetings:  10/20/21 & 11/17/21.

Neighbor Position: SUPPORT

ZBA Hearing Date: 03/23/2022 - Variance Granted.

 

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2783 Roberts Avenue

Re: RCO Meeting Calendar No: MI-2021-002538

Zoning Application No: ZP-2021-0000765

Project Address: 2783 Roberts Avenue

This is an application for an Assembly and Entertainment use on the 1st floor limited to 49 people. There is an existing office use on the upper level which is currently vacant. The assembly and Entertainment use is not allowed in this zoning district (I2).

ZBA Appeal date of 01/26/22 was continued as there had been no community review at that time or representation by Counsel.

ZBA Appeal Date of 06/22/22 was continued  due to lack of community review. 

The required community meeting was held on September 21st. It was reported at the meeting by the attorney of the adjacent business that several illegal gatherings have been held at this location without the zoning approval of the variance that would authorize assembly use. This was documented in surveillance video on several dates. The zoning committee is unwilling at this time to support the proposal. 

ZBA appeal date 11/09/22:

The Variance was granted by the ZBA with Provisos. Those provisos and the variance were granted for a 2-year term only and consisted of operating hours restricted to Thursday, Friday & Saturday -  8 pm until 2.00 am. The Events are restricted to 49 people, and the owner will employ security for the duration of the event and trash pick up.

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4401 Ridge Avenue

EFCC Prevails at 4401 Ridge Avenue!

(185 Apartments, 179 parking spaces, 179,000 SF.)

The East Falls Community Council is pleased to announce that the zoning variance for 4401 Ridge is no longer in place. Attorneys for the property owner, PHA, have contacted our attorney Paul Boni stating that PHA would be abandoning the zoning application, the zoning permit and the zoning variance.  PHA also explained that the property is no longer under contract with the developer, Atapco.    

 

PHA has put this position in writing and papers were then drawn up and filed with the Court.  As the parties requested, the Judge signed the Order declaring that our appeal is moot and sending the case back to the Zoning Board so they can cancel their old decision that granted the variance.  We received a copy of the signed Order on Friday, October 7th. 

 

Why did the PHA forfeit the variance?  We know that PHA’s attorneys reviewed the transcripts of the hearings held by the Zoning Board.  Our attorney, Paul Boni, has always been confident that we presented a great case at the Zoning Board, and that we stood a good chance at prevailing in Court.  Perhaps PHA saw the same writing on the wall? Also, and we are just speculating, it is possible that business reasons were at play on some level:  the real estate market, the cost of construction materials, inflation, etc.  None of this takes away from this huge success, and the pride we have in the community standing firm and presenting our case so well at the Zoning Board. 

 

Where do we go from here?  We believe we should engage with PHA and talk to them about what type of development would better fit on this property.  PHA is still the owner and presumably will want to pursue another sale or development.  It is in our interests to work with PHA to try and find a project that works for both PHA and to the benefit of the community at large. 

 

For now, we celebrate this success.  We celebrate the residents of Falls Ridge and Hilltop, the residents most immediately impacted.   We also celebrate all those who participated in the zoning hearings, and all those who have supported funding of our legal appeal.  Finally, we thank those of our executive and zoning committees who have managed the process and our attorney Paul Boni.

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Address

Details

Current STATUS OF GRANTED Variance Requests 

3570 Calumet

For the erection of 3 new town homes with parking spaces in rear under the town homes accessed by a shared driveway. There is included 12 parking spaces dedicated to 3515 Midvale on the rear section of the site zoned CMX2.5. To review the submission going before the ZBA click here.

Zoning Committee Meeting: 11/17/21

ZBA Appeal date: 01/12/22

Variance Approved.

Applying for Building Permits

3743 Midvale

This is for an accessory roof deck and exit stair for what will be Mike Murphy's Taqueria Cresta and bar on Midvale right next to Black Squirrel. See application here.

Zoning Committee Meeting: 10/20/21

ZBA Appeal date: 12/15/21

EFCC Zoning  Committee: SUPPORT

Variance granted.

Building permits obtained and under construction.

UPDATE EXISTING APPLICATIONS:

3018 Midvale

This is for the legalization of a dwelling structure above garage on the rear portion of a double lot. The owner has progressively enlarged the existing building as we have met with no effort to remove, alter or reduce the size of the structure. EFCC has opposed the variance. Finally, on August 25th, the ZBA denied the variance. See ZBA Notice of Decision. (NOD)

 

3445 Division Street

This application for 2 small but tall homes of 900 SF each on an 1800 SF site was denied by the ZBA. The owner has appealed the decision which will take it to the Court of Common Pleas. The neighbors have agreed to fund the legal costs of the intervention and representation giving the neighbors and EFCC standing at the appeal to continue to oppose this development.

The developer withdrew the appeal and has now successfully applied for a single family home on the lot.

 

GOOD NEWS:

 

4300-26 Ridge Avenue - GRASSO Project

Yes the day finally arrived when we will see this forever vacant and blighted lot with a building! Groundbreaking took place on Friday September 10th 2021. Foundation, lower parking levels and 1st floor reinforced concrete building base is completed with 4 floors of apartments under construction above.

 

4440-2 Ridge Avenue - HOW Project.

Ground Floor Steel and deck above retail ground floor complete. 5 levels of apartment framing and sheathing completed to date.

Current Proposal & Variance Request Updates as of September 14th 2021 

1. 4401 Ridge Avenue - former PHA site (Parcel 3 or III) - Ridge and Merrick - review of developer proposal with notified stakeholders. 185 rental units, 180 cars and 179,000 SF overall development. 90' tall at its high point. To see the ATAPCO proposal  Click here for the layout and design of the project presented at the 2nd Civic design Review.

Please click here for community input following the community design review at City Planning.

Following the course of of two civic design reviews with City Planning and the EFCC Zoning group, the ATAPCO developers from Baltimore Maryland made some minor cosmetic changes namely the addition of balconies to some of the apartments and more significantly, an increase in the footprint of the corner retail at Ridge & Merrick. The green roof area was increased and a second loading bay added. The number of apartments remains unchanged but parking spaces have been reduced to 180 (going forward to the ZBA appeal process) The overall footprint of the project places a long unbroken high rise block at the back of the site, which has been described as reminiscent of the original towers demolished. 

 

The ZBA appeal hearing (required because of the steep slope refusal) was held on June 9th and was continued to August 17th at 9.30 am. Zoning notices were improperly posted around the site, but more significantly an additional meeting was requested by Councilman Jones and Kelvin Jeremiah of PHA to learn more of the concerns of near neighbors to the development . This meeting was held by zoom on Tuesday June 29th.

 

The August 17th ZBA hearing was resumed to September 8th at 3.30 pm due to the length presentation and testimony of the applicant. At this time the protestants and close neighbors in opposition to the development to the development in its current form will be able to be heard. 

2. 3445 Division Street - proposal for 2 homes with garages on undersized lots of 908 SF (1440 SF is minimum requirement). As of March 10th after the 3rd attempt to reach a vote, the ZBA unanimously gave a NO vote to the Zoning Variance Appeal in the favor of the neighbors. The developer NUBO Group has subsequently filed an appeal at Court of Common Pleas to overturn the ZBA vote. EFCC and neighbors have intervened so we may continue to uphold the position of the Zoning Board and the neighborhood.

3. 3018 Midvale Avenue - the owner is seeking legalization of an existing recently built structure in rear lot. The variance hearing of 01/27/21 was continued due to an incorrect application for accessory storage, when in fact the owner was applying for an accessory residential unit above a garage. The owner has since proposed to make significant alterations to the existing structure but the ZBA has still issued 2 refusals which brought the owner and community back to a hearing on August 3rd. The ZBA did not hear testimony of neighbors at this meeting or meet the EFCC request for continuance as the most recent proposal had not been reviewed. They decided that a letter of support/opposition will be read on August 25th and the board will take their vote after the reading. Fortunately the ZBA agreed with the neighbors and denied the variance and legalization of the property.

4. 4440-42 Ridge Avenue  - Construction has started on this 136 unit 96 parking space apartment building. The lower level is retail space which is isolated and disconnected from other retail on Ridge Avenue. The lower parking level and foundation excavation is well underway. 

Here is the CDR presentation of the apartment project.

5. 3515 Midvale Avenue - Construction has started on this 33 unit apartment building on the former site of Chucks garage. The large bill board has come down and the existing garage building is demolished. Site remediation and removal of fill is complete and foundation and foundation walls have come up to grade  level. 

6. 3570-74 Calumet Street - David Ross of Argos development is proposing 3 townhomes fronting onto Calumet with parking in the rear. Parking via a common driveway is also proposed for 12 parking spaces dedicated for 3515 Midvale Avenue. Access to the rear of 3515 Midvale Appts would be provided via restricted access to steps down the steep slope. Originally the proposal for this site was for 22 cars to address concerns of parking on Midvale. However, Calumet neighbors rightly did not want parking issues on Midvale to become their congestion issue. Two meetings of neighbors at the project site came to the census that townhomes and limited parking for Midvale might be a reasonable compromise..

Review Argos development Proposal here.

7. 3227-43 Stokley - an existing event facility with an outside deck and entertainment applying for a restaurant and full kitchen. This is a non-conforming use in the zoning for the site. This is a shared neighborhood project with RAH Ridge Allegheny Hunting Park Civic Association. The project location is close to the Bakers Center shopping center. This project is supported by EFCC after a July 21st meeting was held with the owner and RAH and due to the strong support voiced in the meeting. the ZBA approved the variance and the project on August 25th.

8. 2783 Roberts Avenue - an existing corner building with some mixed uses including daycare. There appears to be some maintenance work shop space in the lower level. They are proposing to apply for restaurant use which is not allowed in the zoning for the building. This is a shared neighborhood project with RAH Ridge Allegheny Hunting Park Civic Association. The project location is close to the Bakers Center shopping center.

As always, please email us at zoning@eastfallscommunity.org with any questions, ideas or concerns.  

We make every effort to post the upcoming meeting agenda as soon as is possible and will also post on Next Door. The best way to get the agenda is by signing up for the weekly EFCC newsletter by emailing info@eastfallscommunity.org 

 

EFCC zoning meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month, unless otherwise noted here. Meetings are public and all are welcome. Neighbors living close to projects on the Agenda are strongly encouraged to participate.