Northeast Times

News in brief for the week of Sept. 11

NoLibs' Finnigan's Wake up for sale; Fishtown apart­ments await zon­ing de­cision; cops search for Kenzo theif, and more news in brief. 

Fishtown apart­ments and gym await zon­ing de­cision

De­veloper Ro­land Kassis, who pro­posed to con­vert a former ho­siery fact­ory in Fishtown in­to an apart­ment build­ing with an at­tached City Fit­ness gym, ap­peared be­fore the city’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment (ZBA) last week, Plan­Philly.com re­por­ted.

Kassis’s pro­ject has been cri­ti­cized by neigh­bors for lack­ing suf­fi­cient park­ing and po­ten­tially con­trib­ut­ing to neigh­bor­hood con­ges­tion. 

At a meet­ing held by the Fishtown Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation (FNA) Zon­ing Com­mit­tee in June, res­id­ents sup­por­ted vari­ances for this pro­pos­al and an­oth­er pro­pos­al by Kassis presen­ted at the same meet­ing, for 30 apart­ments in the former REACH base­ball glove fact­ory at 1701 Tulip St. in Fishtown. 

The total com­munity vote was 107 to 77 in fa­vor, but the loc­al vote, of res­id­ents liv­ing with­in 500 feet of the de­vel­op­ments, was op­posed to grant­ing the vari­ances, 48 to 32.

After that meet­ing, Kassis said he would try to re­solve the park­ing is­sues – and ap­par­ently mod­i­fied his Columbia Av­en­ue pro­pos­al to add five park­ing spaces, up from the 25 ori­gin­ally pro­posed at the FNA meet­ing to 30 park­ing spaces offered in the pro­pos­al be­fore the ZBA.

The pro­ject re­quires vari­ances in­clud­ing for com­bin­ing eight par­cels in­to one and for us­ing the site for the mixed res­id­en­tial and com­mer­cial uses which the apart­ments and gym would rep­res­ent. 

The ZBA’s de­cision is pending. ••

Kens­ing­ton thief wanted

The Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment has re­leased sur­veil­lance foot­age on Philly­Po­lice.com of a con­veni­ence store burg­lary that took place last Thursday when the rob­ber entered the store through the roof.

The burg­lary took place around 4 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 at Sunny Side Store in Kens­ing­ton, loc­ated at the in­ter­sec­tion of Kens­ing­ton Av­en­ue and Somer­set Street.

The sus­pect, a 30 to 40-year-old black male, can be seen in sur­veil­lance foot­age pos­ted on Philly­Po­lice.com drop­ping in­to the store through the tiles in the store’s ceil­ing and jump­ing onto a top shelf filled with mer­chand­ise. After jump­ing to the floor, the sus­pect ran past the se­cur­ity cam­era with his face covered.

The sus­pect took an un­spe­cified amount of mer­chand­ise and fled, caught on sur­veil­lance cam­er­as climb­ing back up­wards through the hole in the ceil­ing that he cre­ated.

The sus­pect is de­scribed as hav­ing a beard and wear­ing a blue Polo-style shirt, blue jean-shorts and black and white sneak­ers.

Po­lice are ask­ing that the pub­lic not con­front this sus­pect but call 911 if he is spot­ted.

Or, to sub­mit a tip to the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment, call 215-686-TIPS (8477) or text PP­DTIP (773847). ••

Famed NoLibs bar for sale

Finnigan’s Wake, the Ir­ish pub at Spring Garden and North 3rd streets in North­ern Liber­ties, was re­cently lis­ted for sale with an ask­ing price of $5 mil­lion, re­por­ted Philebrity.com.

The bar’s real es­tate list­ing, pos­ted by Pruden­tial Fox & Roach, calls the well known and visu­ally strik­ing bar “an icon­ic piece of Phil­adelphia his­tory.”

The 19,140-square foot, three-story bar and res­taur­ant, which has a lis­ted ad­dress of 537-41 N. 3rd St. and is zoned com­mer­cial, will be sold with all its con­tents – in­clud­ing kit­chen and bar equip­ment.

Finnigan’s Wake is known for its col­or­ful street ap­pear­ance, with a mock-store­front design that looks like six dif­fer­ent busi­nesses on a street in old-time Dub­lin, and a huge mur­al above, fa­cing the street.

The cur­rent own­ers were able to se­cure two bills in the Phil­adelphia City Coun­cil re­lated to the pub, one which would al­low an ad­ja­cent va­cant par­cel on Bod­ine Street to be con­ver­ted in­to out­door seat­ing for the pub, and an­oth­er which would al­lowed a bal­cony to be built fa­cing Spring Garden Street, ac­cord­ing to the real es­tate list­ing.

City look­ing for its next poet laur­eate

The city’s Of­fice of Arts, Cul­ture and the Cre­at­ive Eco­nomy is look­ing for Phil­adelphia’s next Poet Laur­eate, a po­s­i­tion es­tab­lished in Janu­ary 2012 to give one tal­en­ted poet the op­por­tun­ity to pub­licly rep­res­ent the city in the me­di­um of po­etry. So­nia Sanc­hez, Phil­adelphia’s in­aug­ur­al Poet Laur­eate, will com­plete her two-year term at the end of 2013.

The ap­plic­a­tion pro­cess is ad­min­istered by OACCE.  Ap­plic­a­tions must be sub­mit­ted on­line to OACCE at ht­tp://cre­at­ivephl.org/Po­et­Laur­eate by 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30. The Poet Laur­eate will serve a two-year term start­ing in Janu­ary 2014. 

Sub­mis­sions will be re­viewed con­fid­en­tially by the Poet Laur­eate Gov­ern­ing Com­mit­tee, which will then make its re­com­mend­a­tion to the May­or. Guidelines and the ap­plic­a­tion are avail­able on­line at ht­tp://cre­at­ivePHL.org.  All ap­plic­a­tions must be sub­mit­ted on­line to be ac­cep­ted. ••

PGW rates dip

Nat­ur­al gas rates will de­crease slightly for Phil­adelphia Gas Work’s res­id­en­tial, com­mer­cial, in­dus­tri­al and mu­ni­cip­al cus­tom­ers, the city-owned util­ity re­cently an­nounced. 

The new rate re­flects what PGW pays for the gas. The rate for res­id­en­tial cus­tom­ers, for in­stance, will be ad­jus­ted for the next three months from its cur­rent $1.49 per hun­dred cu­bic feet to $1.41 per hun­dred cu­bic feet for res­id­en­tial cus­tom­ers. 

With this rate de­crease, the cost for an av­er­age PGW res­id­en­tial cus­tom­er equals the same peri­od last year. On an an­nu­al­ized basis, the av­er­age res­id­en­tial cus­tom­er us­ing 850 Ccf, will lower their PGW bill by ap­prox­im­ately 4.7 per­cent per month and equates to sav­ings of $68 per year.

PGW re­views its gas rate quarterly and de­term­ines, based on mar­ket con­di­tions, wheth­er it should change. The new rate began Sept. 1 and will stay in ef­fect through Nov. 30. ••

IRS warns tax­pay­ers of top scams

Tax scams can hap­pen any­time of the year, not just dur­ing tax sea­son. Three com­mon year-round scams are iden­tity theft, phish­ing and re­turn pre­parer fraud. 

These schemes are on the top of the IRS’s “Dirty Dozen” list of scams this year. They’re il­leg­al and can lead to sig­ni­fic­ant pen­al­ties and in­terest, even crim­in­al pro­sec­u­tion. 

Here’s more in­form­a­tion about these scams that every tax­pay­er should know:

– Tax fraud by iden­tity theft tops this year’s Dirty Dozen list. Iden­tity thieves use per­son­al in­form­a­tion, such as your name, So­cial Se­cur­ity num­ber or oth­er identi­fy­ing in­form­a­tion without your per­mis­sion to com­mit fraud or oth­er crimes. 

An iden­tity thief may also use an­oth­er per­son’s iden­tity to fraud­u­lently file a tax re­turn and claim a re­fund.

– The IRS has a spe­cial iden­tity pro­tec­tion page on IRS.gov ded­ic­ated to iden­tity theft is­sues. 

It has help­ful links to in­form­a­tion, such as how vic­tims can con­tact the IRS Iden­tity Theft Pro­tec­tion Spe­cial­ized Unit, and how you can pro­tect your­self against iden­tity theft.

– Most tax pro­fes­sion­als file hon­est and ac­cur­ate re­turns for their cli­ents. However, some dis­hon­est tax re­turn pre­parers skim a por­tion of the cli­ent’s re­fund or charge in­flated fees for tax pre­par­a­tion. Some try to at­tract new cli­ents by prom­ising re­funds that are too good to be true.

Choose care­fully when hir­ing an in­di­vidu­al or firm to pre­pare your re­turn. All paid tax pre­parers must sign the re­turn they pre­pare and enter their IRS Pre­parer Tax Iden­ti­fic­a­tion Num­ber. 

The IRS cre­ated a webpage to as­sist tax­pay­ers when choos­ing a tax pre­parer. It in­cludes red flags to look for and in­form­a­tion on how and when to make a com­plaint. Vis­it www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.

For the full list of 2013 Dirty Dozen tax scams, or to find out how to re­port sus­pec­ted tax fraud, vis­it IRS.gov. ••

You can reach and at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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