Northeast Times

Maggie’s Waterfront Café is closer to expanding

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Due to a re­cent rul­ing by Phil­adelphia’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment, Mag­gie’s Wa­ter­front Caf&ea­cute; has moved closer to ex­pand­ing its din­ing ser­vice by more than 40 seats.

Mean­while, the East Tor­res­dale Civic As­so­ci­ation seeks as­sur­ance from the busi­ness that it won’t ex­pand fur­ther. Oth­er­wise, the civic group might ap­peal the ZBA rul­ing.

Dur­ing the ETCA’s monthly meet­ing on Feb. 13, the civic group voted to file a form­al ap­peal of the ZBA’s Jan. 17 rul­ing not­with­stand­ing an agree­ment with Mag­gie’s. If the civic group and the bar/res­taur­ant reach a com­prom­ise, the civic group in­tends to with­draw­al its ap­peal.

Gen­er­al man­ager John Nagle rep­res­en­ted own­er Kev­in Good­child at the civic meet­ing.

Good­child owns the busi­ness at 9242 N. Delaware Ave., in ad­di­tion to four ad­join­ing prop­er­ties that city tax re­cords clas­si­fy as va­cant land. All five lots have res­id­en­tial zon­ing. The bar/res­taur­ant op­er­ates with a use vari­ance. There are two struc­tures on that par­cel, in­clud­ing a primary bar/res­taur­ant and a sec­ond­ary two-story ad­di­tion.

The zon­ing board last month al­lowed Good­child to con­sol­id­ate three of the lots in­to one, while ex­tend­ing the din­ing use vari­ance throughout the rear ad­di­tion and erect­ing an awn­ing or “over­hang” to cov­er a walk­way between the two build­ings.

The busi­ness also had been seek­ing to build an­oth­er ad­di­tion (primar­ily for new bath­rooms) and to ex­tend the use vari­ance to an out­door, rooftop deck. It with­drew both of those ap­peals due to com­munity op­pos­i­tion, Nagle said.

“I’m not go­ing to fight you for things I know you’re not go­ing to give me and it’s not the good neigh­borly thing to do,” the man­ager said.

Neigh­bors re­mained skep­tic­al of the busi­ness’ ex­pan­sion plans, however.

Re­flect­ing those con­cerns, ETCA pres­id­ent Lew Halas asked Nagle to com­mit in writ­ing that Mag­gie’s has no in­ten­tion to try to ex­tend its bar/res­taur­ant use to the ad­join­ing “va­cant” prop­er­ties. Mean­while, ETCA treas­urer Alice Urbanski noted that the busi­ness con­tin­ues to use the va­cant prop­er­ties il­leg­ally for park­ing, des­pite be­ing cited by the city’s De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions for do­ing so.

An L&I hear­ing on the is­sue was pending as of the civic meet­ing.

The two lots in­volved in the park­ing dis­pute were not among those that the ZBA con­sol­id­ated with the busi­ness lot.

Urbanski also said that the rear ad­di­tion is taller and wider than Good­child ini­tially told neigh­bors it would be. Nagle said he was un­able to com­ment on that the point be­cause the ad­di­tion was already com­pleted when Good­child hired him last year.

Nagle an­nounced oth­er meas­ures to ap­pease im­me­di­ate neigh­bors of the bar, who have long com­plained about noise and rowdy pat­rons in the area.

The busi­ness will pay to have fen­cing built on neigh­bors’ prop­er­ties that is meant to ob­scure the busi­ness from their view. It will also plant trees or shrubs as an ad­di­tion­al buf­fer.

The busi­ness will move its trash bins to­ward the Aren­del Av­en­ue side of the prop­erty, farther away from neigh­bors, and it will erect a pen to con­tain the trash bins.

Fur­ther, the busi­ness will dis­con­tin­ue its con­tro­ver­sial block party fund-raisers be­ne­fit­ing po­lice and fire­fight­er char­it­ies, as well as a Cereb­ral Palsy char­ity. Mag­gie’s began host­ing the events three years ago. Neigh­bors have com­plained that the events are dis­rupt­ive, at­tract­ing un­wanted traffic and un­desir­able be­ha­vi­or by pat­rons.

The bar is locked in­to one more po­lice be­ne­fit in March, Nagle said, but does not plan to re­new the oth­er block parties this year due to the cri­ti­cism.

The next East Tor­res­dale Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing will be on Monday, March 12, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Evan­gel­ic­al Free Church, Linden Av­en­ue and Mil­nor Street. ••

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You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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