Plans to put a grocery into a notorious Frankford property were rejected last month by the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Zoners quickly shot down plans for the former T&T bar at 4691 Hawthorne St., said Pete Specos, president and zoning officer of the Frankford Civic Association. The taproom had been the scene of a fatal shooting in early 2011, but even before that, the bar had accumulated local infamy because of noise, fights and complaints of underage drinking.
A zoning variance was needed because a retail grocery is not a permitted use, Specos said. The property’s owner is Tomasina Peralta of Rhawnhurst.
The official rebuff on Sept. 18 echoed sentiments expressed in two community meetings this summer. On Sept. 6, civic association members turned down a request for support. Neighbors, who met with the owner in August, also wouldn’t back the idea.
Most feared the grocery would become a hangout that would become as much a nuisance as the bar was, Specos said.
Christopher Spence, 20, was shot to death in the T&T bar on Feb. 19, 2011. A 19-year-old North Philadelphia man, Tyrese Ford, was charged in his death. Just days before the shooting, neighbors attending a local community meeting had complained about the bar to police.
Days after Spence’s murder, there were calls to permanently shutter the bar during a mass meeting outside the property.
When it reopened a few weeks later under another name, regular protests began across the street. A month after Spence’s death, two men fired into a crowd of protesters, inflicting minor wounds on two people. Within 10 days, Shamus Armsted of West Philadelphia, the bar’s operator, was arrested and charged in the shooting.
In mid-June, Armsted was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of recklessly endangering another person. He is in custody at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road. He faces up to 42 years in prison and $55,000 in fines when he is sentenced on Nov. 7 in Courtroom 1008 at the Criminal Justice Center, 13th and Filbert streets.
Ford’s trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 16 in Courtroom 1007. ••EndFragment