Authorities are cracking down on a few properties that have become neighborhood nuisances, said Pete Specos, the Frankford Civic Association’s president.
Speaking at the the association’s Dec. 5 meeting at Aria Health’s Frankford campus, Specos also said that police are keeping their eyes on a couple of local bars and that the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections have closed up a private Oxford Avenue club.
Over the summer, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board shut down an Orthodox Street bar
Capt. John McCloskey, commander of the 15th Police District, said he is putting a patrol car out on service from 1:45 to 2:15 a.m. daily outside the Kinsey Street Cafe on the 1700 block of Kinsey Street. There have been fights outside the bar, the captain said, and occasionally some shots are fired.
“We’re paying some visits inside, too, mainly on weekends,” McCloskey said in a phone interview Dec. 6. Police are looking for drugs and underage drinking.
Similar actions are being taken near the Bridge Street Cafe on Frankford Avenue hear the SEPTA terminal.
“It’s always a source of problems,” the captain said.
Outside the bar, there are a lot of drug sales, he added, and police have made narcotics and weapons arrests.
“We went in there and found some people under 21, but they were not drinking. We escorted them out,” he said.
On a couple of occasions, officers have entered a private club at 4721 Oxford Ave. that was rented for parties and have found six guns, the captain said. The establishment was reported to L&I and the department sealed the place.
L&I “ceased” the property, said department spokeswoman Rebecca Swanson, “because an illegal nightclub was being run there without proper zoning or licenses.”
Obtaining that paperwork would require getting the property rezoned as a nightclub and obtaining a special assembly license and certificate of occupancy. That further would entail inspections to determine the property has fire-suppression systems and other safety features to make it safe for occupancy, she said.
“In the meantime, the cease means that the property cannot be used as a nightclub or anything else that exceeds the current zoning,” she stated in a Dec. 6 email to the Northeast Times.
Cease orders are enforced by the police, not L&I, so if anyone sees any activity that appears to exceed current zoning, the police should be contacted.
The LCB shut down Timmy’s Place on the 2100 block of Orthodox, the captain said.
“We had nothing to do with that. … It was a technical violation. They were supposed to serve food if they were open on Sunday, but they weren’t, so the LCB shut them down.”
Residents who live near Tackawanna and Ruan streets said there was a lot of shooting going on late Dec. 3 into Dec. 4.
McCloskey said 28 shells were found on the 1900 block of Ruan Street. No one was found injured and there were no arrests. Some residents speaking before the association meeting said bullet holes could be seen in some windows and building facades.
A police spokeswoman said two parked cars and three buildings were hit.
The civic group’s members ordinarily meet on the first Thursday of each month, but Specos said the organization’s premier 2014 session will be at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday, Jan. 9, in the second-floor conference room of Aria Health’s Frankford campus, 4900 Frankford Ave.
A few zoning issues will be discussed at that meeting, said Specos, who also is the association’s zoning officer.
He said 1429 Unity St. currently is listed as a commercial property, but the owner now wants the two-story corner property to return to residential use, and wants the association’s members’ support.
The owner of DiCicco’s car wash on the 4300 block of Torresdale Avenue wants to put a take-out snack window on the property, which will require the OK of the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment. He will be seeking the association’s support.
The property currently is zoned for heavy industrial use.