The Northwood Civic Association last week unanimously rejected a woman’s bid to open a hair salon at 5260 Castor Ave.
Attorney Michael Etkin explained that the property, on the southwest corner of Castor Avenue and Bridge Street, has been vacant for about seven years. It was formerly a video store and an appliance store.
The interior of the property is 758 square feet, and the owner plans to have three chairs for hair styling and wig remodeling on the ground floor.
Etkin said employees and customers would park along the perimeter of a small park, not on a residential block. The hours are to be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The owner needs a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to open her business, since the property is zoned residential. She plans to rent the second and third floors to a single family.
Joe Krause, the civic association president, excused Etkin at the end of his presentation and told him the group would discuss and vote on the matter, and that he would relay the outcome the following morning.
Much of Northwood is covered by a deed restriction that prohibits anything other than single-family properties, though the site in question is outside the deed-restricted area.
Neighbors, though, noted that there are other hair salons in the area. They prefer to keep things the way they are.
“We want to preserve the residential character of Northwood,” said Tom McAvoy, the group’s vice president.
“Deny this thing,” urged board member Frank Bennett. “It’s going to hurt the neighborhood.”
Listening to the discussion were aides to City Councilman David Oh, Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and state Rep. John Taylor, along with Frankford Civic Association president Pete Specos.
Specos explained that allowing a commercial business in a residential area could set a bad precedent.
In other news from the Jan. 15 meeting:
• Erica Smith Fichman, a manager at TreePhilly, said the city Department of Parks and Recreation is encouraging residents to plant trees on their block.
The trees can be placed curbside; in side, rear or front yards; on church grounds; and in community gardens.
Yard trees are free and can be planted by property owners.
Street trees — for instance, those planted at curbside — are planted by contractors. An application is necessary.
For more information on new trees, contact Smith Fichman at 215-683-0217 or Erica.firstname.lastname@example.org
To report a tree stump that needs to be ground, call 311.
• Lou Grow, a director at Turning Points for Children, invited neighbors to attend a community forum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Tacony Baptist Church, at 4751 Disston St. Refreshments will be served.
Grow also announced that the agency is looking to open an office somewhere in the 15th Police District. Its present location is in Center City.
Turning Points provides skills and resources to help families raise safe, healthy and educated children.
“All our services are free,” Grow said.
The agency formed after the 2008 merger of the Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Society for Services to Children, both of which originated in the 1800s.
Turning Points is funded, in part, by private donations but receives most of its money from the city Department of Human Services.
• A woman who lives on the 1100 block of Herbert St. brought a bag full of posters offering $200 to $400 in cash for junk cars.
The woman tore them down from neighborhood poles.
“It’s ghetto looking,” she said of the signs.
Signs on poles are illegal, and the individual placing them can be fined, if the city enforces the ordinance.
• The New Frankford Community Y, which closed in 2009 due to a lack of membership and state funding, has been renamed the Northwood Frankford Community Y.
Board president Frank Bennett and vice president Kristy Schneider are working on a business plan and recruiting commercial tenants.
Meanwhile, the lights and phone are working, and the board is planning to upgrade its electrical system and open the community room.
Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Northwood Frankford Community Y, 4700 Leiper St., Philadelphia, PA 19124.
For more information, check out the Northwood Frankford Community Y page on Facebook.
• Northwood doesn’t seem to have too much crime. The Town Watch report included just one item — a truck parked illegally on Dyre Street for one night.
• Northwood Civic Association will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., at St. James Lutheran Church, at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street. ••