Bustleton builders seek community support Dec. 18

Loc­al build­ers will be back be­fore mem­bers of the Great­er Bustleton Civic League next week with re­vised plans for two new homes on the 9600 block of Evans Street.

Emilio Di­Cicco and Vin­cenzo Ciocca want to tear down a small brick home at 9615 Evans St. and re­place it with two houses they hope to sell for more than $400,000 each. They’re seek­ing league mem­bers’ sup­port be­cause they need a zon­ing vari­ance to put up struc­tures that will have just 50 feet of street front­age. Cur­rently, 65 feet is re­quired. The small home’s cur­rent front­age is 105 feet.

When they presen­ted their plan to mem­bers late last month, a few neigh­bors turned out to op­pose the idea. The league’s zon­ing of­ficer, Carl Ja­dach, sug­ges­ted the build­ers and the neigh­bors keep talk­ing, so no vote was taken to sup­port or op­pose the part­ners’ pro­pos­al.

Last week, the part­ners met with league board mem­bers and then with neigh­bors to present mod­i­fied plans.

“We presen­ted our changes to the board that showed sig­ni­fic­ant changes to the ori­gin­al plans,” he wrote in an email to the North­east Times, “that in­cludes height re­duc­tion from 38 feet ori­gin­ally pro­posed to 30.8 feet.”

He said each home would have 10-foot side yards. He said he hopes the com­munity will back the plan.

On Fri­day, league pres­id­ent Jack O’Hara said board mem­bers also talked to the ap­plic­ants, their law­yer and ar­chi­tect about some of the com­ments they’d heard from neigh­bors.

On Monday, neigh­bor Dorothy Eckes said she and her hus­band had hos­ted a meet­ing of the part­ners and five neigh­bors. 

All those who at­ten­ded the gath­er­ing were able to get across their points of view, Eckes said. She said one of the reas­ons she wanted the meet­ing was to pro­mote har­mony in the neigh­bor­hood.

There are a couple of ways to look at what the build­ers want to do, she said. It can be re­garded as a unique situ­ation that has to be judged on its own mer­its, or it is looked at as something people will just say they don’t want.

There’s a back­ground for that lat­ter opin­ion, she said. “A lot of det­ri­ment has been done by in­vestors in the neigh­bor­hood,” she said. “So that’s where that’s com­ing from.”

“Dorothy did a great job let­ting me speak and mak­ing me un­der­stand the neigh­bors’ con­cerns and fears,” Di­Cicco stated in a Dec. 8 email to the North­east Times. “Vince Ciocca and I really ap­pre­ci­ated her ef­fort to try and bring the sur­round­ing neigh­bors to­geth­er to have a private dis­cus­sion and give every­one a chance to voice their opin­ion.”

In a Dec. 4 in­ter­view, Di­Cicco said he and his part­ner have gone to some ex­pense to try to ac­com­mod­ate his neigh­bors. He was ready to have his zon­ing hear­ing, but to first meet with the league’s board and neigh­bors, he said, he asked the ZBA to con­tin­ue the hear­ing. •• 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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