The Somerton neighborhood has been holding its ground on several recent zoning issues.
During the May 14 meeting of the Somerton Civic Association, zoning chairman Seth Kaplan reported that the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment had rejected a pair of variance applications affecting local properties. Meanwhile, SCA members voted unanimously to oppose a new variance application.
The newest case involved a two-story wood-frame twin house at 15203 Bustleton Ave. The occupant is seeking permits to open a psychic reading business there. SCA members rejected the proposal. As a policy, the civic group does not condone the use of residential properties for commercial businesses. A zoning board hearing is pending.
In two older cases, the zoning board rejected variance applications although the civic association actually endorsed one of them, Kaplan said. A homeowner at 208 Dumont St. was seeking to convert his attached garage legally into living space. The civic group saw no problem with the plan, but the zoning board did, according to Kaplan.
Meanwhile, the board sided with the civic association in denying a homeowner at 855 Southampton Road permission to subdivide the property and to build a second house on the newly created lot.
• In unrelated business, state Rep. Brendan Boyle reported that a new “Welcome to Somerton” sign has been erected at Bustleton Avenue and Trevose Road. Last year, the lawmaker supported the erection of a similar sign on a traffic island at the same intersection, but vandals removed the sign. The new sign is in the same location, but is taller, allowing motorists better visibility of the roads.
• Boyle presented a Pennsylvania House citation to Somerton resident Sally Rotenberg to recognize her many community and charitable contributions. A retired teacher, Rotenberg was a regular participant in the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure before she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. As a survivor, she now speaks publicly in support of cancer awareness and volunteers for Ronald McDonald House and Aid For Friends.
• Kaplan said that officials at the Bustleton Branch Library have seen improvement in their graffiti and loitering problems involving suspected George Washington High School students. The librarian, the school principal and local police have partnered to address the case, which the Northeast Times first reported in March.
Police have made one drug-related arrest outside the library, while vandalism has ceased. Some young people still loiter outside the library, which is next door to the school, but their disruptions have diminished, Kaplan said. A library friends group is considering investing in a surveillance camera system.
• Kaplan is seeking help from neighbors in finding his family’s lost dog. Champ is a 3-year-old male pit bull/lab mix. He weighs about 60 pounds and has brown fur with a white spot on his chest and baldness on his backside. He is a friendly dog and was last seen near Loesche Elementary School.
Call 215-760-9021 to report information about the dog. ••