Northeast Times

Mayfair has a few reservations about rental-car office

Start­Frag­ment

The Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment is with­hold­ing a de­cision for a pro­posed Hertz Rent-a-Car of­fice near Frank­ford and Cottman av­en­ues, as neigh­bor­hood groups ne­go­ti­ate with the com­pany.

A Hertz of­fi­cial, the prop­erty own­er, at­tor­ney Shawn Ward and zon­ing ex­pediter Tom Citro last week at­ten­ded a joint meet­ing of the Ta­cony Civic As­so­ci­ation, May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation and May­fair Busi­ness As­so­ci­ation.

Hertz wants to move in­to a va­cant spot at 7257 Frank­ford Ave., at the south­east corner of Frank­ford and Cottman. The agency would be in the rear of the space, which in­cludes an AT&T mo­bile phone store.

Neigh­bors ex­pressed con­cern about park­ing and traffic. They are happy with the AT&T store, which shines brightly at night. They are not as happy about an ex­ist­ing “cash for gold” store, a pro­posed Kids Parade Day Care and Learn­ing Cen­ter and the pending open­ing of a Pennsylvania Wo­men, In­fants and Chil­dren of­fice.

“That’s a high-volume area,” said Pete Mc­Der­mott, zon­ing chair­man for the May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation.

There are signs in the win­dows that pro­claim, “Wel­come to the May­fair WIC of­fice.” The fed­er­ally fun­ded pro­gram provides healthy food and re­fer­rals to so­cial pro­grams for eli­gible preg­nant wo­men, new moth­ers and chil­dren age 5 and young­er.

Hertz pro­ponents ex­plained that they are un­con­nec­ted to the oth­er ten­ants in a prop­erty that once housed Kiki Fur­niture, which moved a block away to Cottman Av­en­ue and Le­on Street.

“We have noth­ing to do with WIC,” Citro said.

Aides to state Reps. Mike McGee­han, Kev­in Boyle and John Taylor and City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on at­ten­ded the Jan. 9 meet­ing, held at the John M. Perzel Com­munity Cen­ter. Taylor plans to open a loc­al of­fice now that his dis­trict will in­clude West May­fair and Holmes­burg.

Sandra Stew­art, Hen­on’s op­pon­ent in last year’s elec­tion, asked Hertz to hire neigh­bor­hood people for the new of­fice, and the com­pany agreed.

Hertz can open un­der ex­ist­ing zon­ing laws but needs a use vari­ance for stor­age of 13 cars in­side the build­ing.

The hours of op­er­a­tion would be week­days from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat­urdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Vent­il­a­tion would be through the roof.

The com­pany has agreed to place a “Turn right” sign as vehicles exit the prop­erty onto Cottman Av­en­ue. It also agreed to save two in­door spaces for cars that are drop­ping off people who are about to rent a vehicle.

In ad­di­tion to cus­tom­ers trav­el­ing to the site, Hertz em­ploy­ees some­times pick up in­di­vidu­als at body shops or even ac­ci­dent scenes.

In lob­by­ing for ap­prov­al, Ward ex­plained that the traffic volume would be less than oth­er pos­sible uses. Citro noted that Hertz is a For­tune 500 com­pany.

“We’re not talk­ing about Joe’s Rent­al Car,” he said.

Still, one man sug­ges­ted that Hertz open in the long-va­cant Cottman Bever­age build­ing at 7544 Frank­ford Ave.

In the end, res­id­ents voted 12-5 in fa­vor of Hertz. Op­pon­ents poin­ted out that the votes in fa­vor came from people liv­ing out­side the im­me­di­ate area of the site.

Mc­Der­mott at­ten­ded a Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment hear­ing two days after the neigh­bor­hood meet­ing. The com­munity groups will de­vel­op pro­vis­os that Hertz would have to agree to be­fore gain­ing their fi­nal ap­prov­al.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, of­fi­cials from the May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation, Town Watch and Busi­ness As­so­ci­ation joined the heads of the Holmes­burg and Ta­cony civic as­so­ci­ation to dis­cuss the up­com­ing Sham­rock Shuttle and Erin Ex­press.

The gath­er­ings bring hun­dreds of people to bars on and near Frank­ford Av­en­ue and oth­er areas of the North­east. They are gen­er­ally held on the first two Sat­urdays of March. This year, a third huge crowd is ex­pec­ted be­cause St. Patrick’s Day is on a Sat­urday.

The com­munity groups will meet soon with bar own­ers to plan for peace­ful cel­eb­ra­tions. ••

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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