A Bustleton man who wants to demolish an Evans Street house and replace it with two single-family homes last week didn’t get the support of Greater Bustleton Civic League members.
Members didn’t vote to oppose Emilio DiCicco either, but they did give him an earful.
DiCicco and his partner, Vincenzo Ciocca, want to tear down a small brick home that sits on the property at 9615 Evans St. and replace it with two houses they hope to sell for more than $400,000 each. They also want to cede 5 feet to the abutting property owned by DiCicco’s father.
DiCicco wants the league’s support for his plan because he needs a variance to build homes that have only 50 feet of street frontage. The quiet neighborhood near Grant and Bustleton is one that is made up mostly of single-family homes. The Evans Street property in question is zoned to have 65 feet of street frontage. It now has 105, but each of the two houses the partners want to build will have just 50 feet each, so they need the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s OK.
According to the league, the project is in compliance with zoning regulations regarding parking, lot size width, total lot size area and side yard width requirements.
Neighbors turned out to the league’s Nov. 20 meeting, and were vocal in their opposition to the plan presented by attorney Dawn Tancredi. But throughout the sometimes heated exchanges during the league’s session at the American Heritage Federal Credit Union on Red Lion Road, some give-and-take evolved to the point that zoning officer Carl Jadach asked members to vote to keep talking with DiCicco.
They voted overwhelmingly to meet with the developer, who lives on the next block of Evans, if he agrees to ask the zoners to delay his upcoming ZBA hearing.
Earlier in the Nov. 20 session, City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) urged members to oppose the developers’ proposal. He said they plan to build homes that are out of character with the neighborhood, whose current housing stock is composed of homes “that are not fancy, but are very nice homes … a lot of brick and stucco and stone.”
He said the neighborhood had been remapped to require larger lots with the very idea of making it more difficult to put more buildings on one street.
The councilman said he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with the existing house, and, although one neighbor said the current structure is an eyesore, most neighbors agreed with O’Neill. Many urged the developers to rehab the small building.
The partners purchased the building this past spring for $189,000. Currently, their zoning hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1515 Arch St., 18th floor.
The night before it was due for a City Council vote, O’Neill talked up an ordinance he and Councilman Bobby Henon (D-6th dist.) introduced that would prohibit medical uses in many areas of their councilmanic districts.
The ordinance is a zoning overlay, O’Neill told league members, that specifies almost all medical uses would need a zoning variance.
The measure unanimously passed a Council vote the next day, O’Neill said Nov. 21.
The new ordinance requires zoning hearings for all new methadone clinics, and other medical uses like doctors’ offices, in the Northeast.
Methadone clinics, which are facilities that provide treatment for heroin addicts, fall under the medical use category, and are not defined separately in the zoning code.
The councilman told league members that, “It’s not about clinics; it’s about everything.”
“We are inundated with doctors’ office,” he said. “There is a glut of them.”
Referring to another zoning matter, Jack O’Hara, the league’s president, said zoners in January will reconsider their decision on 9997 Haldeman Ave., whose owner was granted a three-year temporary variance to operate a dental implant-manufacturing business in his residence.
A year ago, league members had overwhelmingly refused to support owner Flore Andresi’s variance application. When the zoning board approved it anyway, league members took the matter to court. They won their appeal in July when Common Pleas Court Judge Ellen Ceisler ordered the ZBA to rehear Andresi’s application.
The hearing will be at 2 p.m. on Jan. 15 at 1515 Arch St., O’Hara.
The league’s president also talked up the upcoming tree-lighting ceremony at American Heritage Federal Credit Union at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30. The annual event always draws a large crowd.
The league’s next session will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the credit union’s Carriage House, off Red Lion Road.
Contact the league at 215-676-6890 or visit www.gbcleague.com ••