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. ••