Members of the Frankford Civic Association have voted to not oppose two neighborhood zoning variance requests, but strongly opposed a plan to put a high-occupancy rooming house on the second floor of a Frankford Avenue commercial property.
Association members dedicated almost all of their Jan. 5 session at Aria Health’s Frankford campus to discussing three zoning-variance requests.
Members eligible to vote unanimously said they would not oppose Harry Cyril’s renovation work at 1619 Haworth St., a property extensively damaged by fire in July.
Pete Specos, the civic association’s zoning officer and acting president, said the owner had hired a contractor who did not get proper city permits and absconded with a large amount of the owner’s money. Specos said the owner and his family have been put up at local churches because the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections stopped work on the property.
A zoning variance is needed because the building extends 5 feet past its line. Members had no problem with what the owner is doing and voted to send the city Zoning Board of Adjustment a letter of non-opposition to Cyril’s work.
Members also said they’d tell the zoners they do not oppose Frank Rocchino’s plan to build two large apartments on the south side of what was a warehouse at 4134-36 Orchard St.
Specos said Rocchino, whom he described as a longtime and reputable landlord in Frankford, already had put two apartments in the north side of the building. Rocchino said each apartment would be more than 1,000 square feet.
Charles Meadow’s proposal to put a rooming house on the second floor of 4325-27 Frankford Ave. was presented by his attorney, Miguel Leon, but not well-received by association members who have a long record of opposing housing for large numbers of unrelated adults, especially if the housing is for recovering addicts.
Meadows did not attend the civic group’s session. Leon said the housing would be for single men and exist as a rooming house, not a recovery house.
The civic group’s treasurer, Tim Wisniewski, pointed out that there were a few nearby facilities that aid recovering alcoholics and addicts.
“You can say it’s not going to be a recovery house,” Wisniewski said, “but forgive us if we’re skeptical.”
Specos said he had pointed out to Meadows that the property, as it currently is laid out, would be a firetrap. If you stood in the hallway at 2 in the morning and the lights went off, you could not find your way to safety, he said.
Jason Dawkins, an aide to City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sanchez, said L&I had found numerous fire code violations on the property and that it had been operating as a recovery house before and after Meadows bought it in 2008.
Members encouraged Leon to tell Meadows to come up with a better proposal for the property. They voted to oppose a plan for a rooming house. ••
The Frankford Civic Association’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the second-floor conference room of Aria Health’s Frankford campus, 4900 Frankford Ave.EndFragment