The East Torresdale Civic Association and the owner of a neighborhood tavern had almost three months to negotiate a compromise on a series of new construction and zoning permits sought by the business.
But no agreement was to be had. On Sept. 26, the civic group voted to fight most of what Maggie’s Waterfront Café owner Kevin Goodchild wants to do.
Typically, the ETCA holds its general membership meetings on the second Monday each month. The group’s leaders decided to hold a special general meeting last week to address the longstanding concerns about the bar/restaurant at 9242 N. Delaware Ave.
Goodchild is seeking seven zoning variances from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment. ETCA voted to oppose five of them.
Specifically, neighbors voted 26-7 against allowing Goodchild to consolidate 9250 and 9238 N. Delaware Ave. – both vacant lots that he also owns – with the Maggie’s property. Neighbors further voted 27-7 against a proposed exterior stairway to a rooftop deck, 29-0 against the legalization of live entertainment on-site, 26-7 against a 357-square-foot addition to the business and 10-8 against the construction of a roof over an existing 38-foot-long breezeway.
Neighbors voted 30-0 not to oppose the construction of a new walk-in cooler at the rear of the business and 29-1 not to oppose the legalization of a small, one-story addition that had been built to shelter the building’s exterior basement doors.
ETCA president Lew Halas said that, in general, neighbors oppose expansion of Maggie’s, particularly with regard to outdoor service and entertainment, although they recognize that the site has long been home to bar/restaurant-type businesses.
Goodchild told the Northeast Times that he expected the ETCA to approve at least five of the variances upon the recommendation of a special committee formed by the civic group. But the general membership of the ETCA, including many immediate neighbors of the business, did not accept all of the committee’s recommendations, he claimed.
“I’m still trying to work with the community, but it seems like they won’t let go of some of the problems from the past,” Goodchild said.
The business owner says he has resolved noise violations issued by the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections by placing a moratorium on live music performances, except at specially licensed events such as a police-related fund-raiser on Saturday.
Goodchild opened Maggie’s about three years ago. Many neighbors have been complaining about the business almost as long. Although other area residents support and patronize the business, many claim that it is the source of nuisance problems including excessive noise, rowdiness, trash and vehicle traffic.
The sides both testified during a July 5 hearing of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. After the session, the board postponed ruling on Goodchild’s applications and instructed the sides to attempt to reach a compromise.
No follow-up hearing has been scheduled, Halas said.
The civic group plans to forward the results of its votes to the ZBA. If the board rules in favor of the business anyway, the civic group would have the right to appeal.
The next regularly scheduled general meeting of the ETCA will be this Monday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Evangelical Free Church, Linden Avenue and Milnor Street. ••
Reporter William Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or email@example.com