Northwood Civic rejects bid for new hair salon

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

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. ••

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