The Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment’s hearing on the proposed Grace Townhomes development was postponed until Wednesday, March 26, to enable the developer to meet beforehand with a community group.
The zoning board’s hearing, where the board would have voted on whether to approve the Port Richmond development, had been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 12.
The Women’s Community Revitalization Project, the nonprofit developer behind the project, requested to delay the zoning board hearing so that it could meet with Somerset Neighbors for Better Living beforehand, according to Paul Aylesworth, WCRP’s development team coordinator.
WCRP had planned to give a presentation on its planned development at the community organization’s February meeting, but a snowstorm forced that meeting to be canceled.
WCRP will give the presentation at the group’s next meeting on Monday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Women’s Education Project at Frankford Avenue and Somerset Street. Residents will be able to vote on whether they support the project, which may help inform the zoning board’s decision.
In recent weeks, community members have debated the project, which would bring 36 rental units to 2201 E. Auburn St. by early 2016.
Some thought building new homes on a block that has been vacant for decades was a no brainer, while others argued that low-income rental housing would not be the best way to revitalize the neighborhood.
“I am not a fan of this project,” Chris Lyons posted on Facebook. “In hopes that Port Richmond eventually grows in property value like our neighboring communities to the south, Fishtown and Northern Liberties, I don’t think we need more affordable housing for low income residents here. Sort of opposite to the direction we need to go in.”
In late January, the Port Richmond Community Group voted 18-5 in favor of the proposed development, with several members of the neighboring Firm Hope Baptist Church attending in support.
Another community organization representing the neighborhood, Port Richmond on Patrol and Civic, deferred on the issue to Port Richmond Community Group.
“We deferred ourselves from it and let PRCG handle it because it directly affects the people down on the lower end as opposed to the members that come out to PROPAC’s meeting,” PROPAC president Kenneth Paul said.
The zoning board hearing will take place at 1515 Arch St., 18th floor, on Wedesday, March 26, at 2 p.m.