O’Neill: Medical Mission Sisters not selling for now

Ru­mors about a new low-in­come hous­ing de­vel­op­ment on the Med­ic­al Mis­sion Sis­ters’ Fox Chase cam­pus are not true, ac­cord­ing to City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill.

Speak­ing at the bi-monthly meet­ing of the Fox Chase Homeown­ers As­so­ci­ation and Town Watch on Sept. 11, O’Neill re­futed what he de­scribed as swirl­ing spec­u­la­tion about the fu­ture of the 45-acre tract at 8400 Pine Road, while con­firm­ing that the re­li­gious or­der has be­gun to con­sider fu­ture uses for the prop­erty.

“Noth­ing is hap­pen­ing right now. The nuns are think­ing long-term,” O’Neill said.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil­man, the sis­ters have cir­cu­lated a re­quest for pro­pos­als for the pur­chase and re­devel­op­ment of the land. It is not known what, if any, pro­pos­als have been sub­mit­ted for the site.

The prop­erty is zoned for only single homes, so any al­tern­ate de­vel­op­ment would have to gain ap­prov­al from the city’s zon­ing board and pos­sibly from City Coun­cil, O’Neill said. That means neigh­bors will also have a say in what hap­pens, be­cause Coun­cil and the zon­ing board both re­quire com­munity in­put.

“The com­munity will be pro­tec­ted,” O’Neill said.

The coun­cil­man con­tends that the real es­tate mar­ket is not fa­vor­able for new home con­struc­tion, so de­velopers are not likely to pro­pose it un­til the mar­ket changes.

In an un­re­lated is­sue, O’Neill re­por­ted that the own­er of a home at Rising Sun Av­en­ue and Ripley Street has filed a zon­ing vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion to keep a goat and chick­ens on his prop­erty. Earli­er this year, neigh­bors com­plained to city of­fi­cials about farm an­im­als in the yard, in­clud­ing a horse. Un­der the city health code, a horse is leg­al, but goats and chick­ens are not, so a health in­spect­or forced the prop­erty own­er to re­move his goat and chick­ens.

O’Neill ex­pects the zon­ing board to throw out the vari­ance re­quest be­cause farm an­im­al policies are not part of the zon­ing code.

O’Neill in­vited res­id­ents to at­tend the Philly Re­cycles Tour at his dis­trict of­fice at Bustleton Av­en­ue and Bowl­er Street on Sept. 21. Vis­it­ors can get a free re­cyc­ling bin, sign up for the re­wards pro­gram and get an­swers to their re­cyc­ling ques­tions. The event will be from 10 a.m. to noon.

Also dur­ing the Fox Chase civic meet­ing, city Com­mis­sion­er Al Schmidt an­nounced the launch of his of­fice’s new web­site, www.Phil­adelphiaVotes.com

The primary duty of the com­mis­sion­er’s of­fice is to man­age elec­tions in the city. The web­site of­fers ac­cess to voter re­gis­tra­tion and elec­tion-re­lated ser­vices. There are spe­cif­ic sec­tions ded­ic­ated to as­sist voters, can­did­ates and cam­paigns, as well as elec­tion board work­ers. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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