Upper Holmesburg opposes apartment expansion

Up­per Holmes­burg res­id­ents voted un­an­im­ously to op­pose a loc­al apart­ment house own­er’s plan to build a third rent­al unit in an ex­ist­ing two-unit build­ing.

Dur­ing the monthly meet­ing of the Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation on Feb. 21, Zon­ing Chair­man Paul DeFinis re­por­ted that the own­er of 8714 Dit­man St. had filed for a zon­ing ap­plic­a­tion to ren­ov­ate the prop­erty. The two-story brick house is at the end of a block of single-fam­ily row homes.

Un­der the cur­rent zon­ing, two apart­ments are per­mit­ted — one unit per floor. The zon­ing ap­plic­a­tion seeks per­mits to build a third apart­ment in the base­ment, which has a sep­ar­ate en­trance at the rear of the build­ing.

Im­me­di­ate neigh­bors of the site re­por­ted see­ing a con­tract­or “act­ively work­ing” on the prop­erty in re­cent days.

DeFinis said he in­vited the zon­ing ap­plic­ant to speak at the civic meet­ing, but neither the prop­erty own­er nor man­ager at­ten­ded.

City prop­erty re­cords list a wo­man with a Brook­lyn ad­dress as the own­er. The wo­man bought the house for $242,000 in 2005. The prop­erty taxes are paid up.

DeFinis re­com­men­ded that the im­me­di­ate neigh­bors con­tact the city’s De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tion to re­port any con­struc­tion that they ob­serve. A zon­ing hear­ing is sched­uled for early March. The civic as­so­ci­ation will draft a let­ter op­pos­ing the zon­ing ap­plic­a­tion and send it to the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment.

In un­re­lated UHCA busi­ness:

• Three polit­ic­al can­did­ates asked for the com­munity’s sup­port in the May 21 primary elec­tion. Demo­crat Brett Man­del is run­ning for city con­trol­ler. The Rhawn­hurst nat­ive is the former dir­ect­or of the con­trol­ler’s Fin­an­cial and Policy Ana­lys­is Unit, and the founder of Phil­adelphia For­ward, a tax-re­form ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tion.

In ad­di­tion, private real es­tate at­tor­ney Frank Ben­nett is run­ning sim­ul­tan­eously for seats on Com­mon Pleas Court and Mu­ni­cip­al Court. He is a former vice pres­id­ent of the North­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation and the pres­id­ent of the North­wood Frank­ford Com­munity Y.

Re­tired po­lice of­ficer Jose Figueroa is run­ning for a seat on Traffic Court. As a cop, he was a long­time truck en­force­ment of­ficer with the Phil­adelphia High­way Patrol. Figueroa works in the in­sur­ance in­dustry and vo­lun­teers with the North­wood Frank­ford Com­munity Y and the Boy Scouts. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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