Neighborhood news in brief for the week of Feb. 26

The scoop on a pro­pos­al for town­homes on Hope Street, prob­lems with the Rich­mond Street de­tour, the Liv­ing­ston Street col­lapse and oth­er loc­al news.

SKCP re­jects Hope Street town­homes

The South Kens­ing­ton Com­munity Part­ners Plan­ning and Zon­ing Com­mit­tee un­an­im­ously re­jec­ted a pro­pos­al for the con­struc­tion of res­id­en­tial du­plexes and town­homes on Hope Street last Wed­nes­day at a com­munity zon­ing meet­ing. 

Of the eight people who voted dur­ing this meet­ing, not one was in fa­vor of this pro­ject, which would turn a va­cant lot in­to 6 du­plex units and three single fam­ily town­homes, loc­ated at 1210-14 N. Front St. 

Res­id­ents who lived with­in a quarter mile ra­di­us from the pro­posed site were eli­gible to vote.

“The com­munity had is­sues with the lack of com­mer­cial space on the Front Street side of the pro­ject,” ac­cord­ing to co-chair of the SKCP zon­ing and plan­ning com­mit­tee Ar­i­el Vazquez. “Even though the de­veloper took the re­com­mend­a­tions of the DRC [Design Re­view Com­mit­tee] on mak­ing the facade more “com­mer­cial,” this didn’t sat­is­fy the com­munity.”

Vazquez said the de­velopers made steps to­ward provid­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate com­mer­cial design for the build­ings, and the com­mit­tee will con­tin­ue to work with them to fur­ther de­vel­op their plans for the build­ing. 

Fur­ther in­struc­tions at the meet­ing were for the de­velopers to re­turn to the next zon­ing meet­ing, which oc­curs on the third Wed­nes­day of the month, with a re­vised plan, SKCP dir­ect­or of op­er­a­tions Lauren Lynch said. ••

Rich­mond Street prob­lems

In re­sponse to calls from con­cerned con­stitu­ents, state Rep. John Taylor (R-177th Dist.) on Monday re­ques­ted that the Pennsylvania De­part­ment of Trans­port­a­tion make im­prove­ments to the Rich­mond Street de­tour. 

In the first three days that Rich­mond Street was closed for the 95 Re­vive pro­ject, Taylor’s of­fice re­ceived nu­mer­ous calls about the res­ult­ing “ex­tens­ive traffic delays and heightened threat of col­li­sions,” Dis­trict Of­fice Man­ager Marc Collazzo said in an email to PennDOT.

Taylor’s of­fice re­ques­ted that PennDOT make the fol­low­ing changes:

- Add a sign on Delaware Av­en­ue north­bound be­fore Mont­gomery Av­en­ue to warn drivers that Rich­mond Street is closed and to use Ara­mingo Av­en­ue or I-95 north in­stead.

- Have de­tour signs dir­ect drivers up Thompson Street or over to Ara­mingo Av­en­ue, but not south on Ed­ge­mont Street, which has re­portedly cre­ated chaos.

- Re­place the bar­rels at Rich­mond Street and Le­high Av­en­ue with Jer­sey bar­ri­ers, be­cause the bar­rels have been knocked down fre­quently.

In an email Monday morn­ing, a PennDOT of­fi­cial said she would ad­dress these con­cerns. ••

Street col­lapse

Res­id­ents in more than 20 homes were dis­placed as a res­ult of wa­ter and gas leaks on the 3000 block of Liv­ing­ston Street last Wed­nes­day, Feb. 19.

Marc Collazzo, dis­trict of­fice man­ager for state Rep. John Taylor (R-177th Dist.), said he was on the scene with the wa­ter de­part­ment, gas de­part­ment, po­lice and fire of­fi­cials.

“We had to get every­one out,” he said. “Whatever they had on their back was what they took with them.”

Collazzo said res­id­ents were taken to the PAL build­ing at Clear­field and Bel­grade Streets, where the Red Cross was on the scene to of­fer as­sist­ance where needed.

Res­id­ents were al­lowed back in their homes later that even­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the let­ter sent to block res­id­ents, a 6-inch wa­ter main break ini­tially caused the in­cid­ent. Wa­ter de­part­ment of­fi­cials were sent to re­pair the break that day. The tem­por­ary evac­u­ation was a res­ult of re­ports of a gas odor fol­low­ing the wa­ter main break.

The wa­ter main was re­paired and wa­ter ser­vice was re­stored by early the next day, but the gas re­pairs took longer, ac­cord­ing to city of­fi­cials.

The wa­ter de­part­ment has hired in­dus­tri­al clean­ing com­pan­ies to help with the cleanup of flooded base­ments and plumb­ers to re­place hot wa­ter heat­ers and fur­naces, the let­ter said. The wa­ter de­part­ment will help res­id­ents with claims and people will be able to get re­im­bursed for any ap­pli­ances dam­aged by the flood, ac­cord­ing to a city of­fi­cial.

The street will be tem­prarily re­paired with a fi­nal res­tor­a­tion sched­uled for this spring as the weath­er al­lows, the let­ter said. ••

Sus­pects sought in shoot­ing

Po­lice are still search­ing for two sus­pects in a Port Rich­mond shoot­ing that sent two men to the hos­pit­al on Sunday, Feb. 16.

The in­cid­ent oc­curred at 1:18 a.m. on the 3600 block of Frank­ford Av­en­ue, po­lice said in a state­ment. The vic­tims, ages 25 and 29, were ap­proached from be­hind by two un­known males. The first sus­pect shot the first vic­tim in the head, send­ing him to the ground.

The sus­pects made off with the second vic­tim’s wal­let, but not be­fore fir­ing a shot strik­ing him in the head. The two sus­pects fled in an un­known dir­ec­tion.

The vic­tims were able to walk to their res­id­ence, where they no­ti­fied po­lice. They were then trans­por­ted to Temple Hos­pit­al, po­lice said.

The first sus­pect is de­scribed as an 18-20 year old Afric­an Amer­ic­an male, thin build, wear­ing a green coat with a hooded sweat­shirt. He had tat­toos on his face. The second sus­pect was also a black male, no fur­ther de­scrip­tion, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

A sur­veil­lance video is avail­able on the Phil­adelphia Po­lice You­Tube Chan­nel or at www.philly­po­

To sub­mit a tip, call 215-686-TIPS (8477) or text PPD TIP 773847. ••

New chief in­teg­rity of­ficer

Hope Cald­well has been ap­poin­ted the city’s chief in­teg­rity of­ficer. She takes over for Joan Mark­man, who re­tired.

Ac­cord­ing to May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter, Mark­man built the of­fice be­gin­ning in Janu­ary 2008 to pro­mote a cul­ture of hon­esty and trans­par­ency in the city. 

She also wrote the In­teg­rity­Works web­site to help em­ploy­ees, cit­izens and vendors un­der­stand eth­ics and con­tract­ing rules.

“Joan did tre­mend­ous work for the City, pro­mot­ing an en­vir­on­ment of trans­par­ency and eth­ic­al con­duct for how we do busi­ness,” said May­or Nut­ter.  “Hope shares Joan’s com­mit­ment to this work and I know the val­ues we share as pub­lic ser­vants will con­tin­ue un­der her lead­er­ship.”

Since Septem­ber 2011, Cald­well has served as chief deputy in­teg­rity of­ficer.  

Dur­ing that time, she worked on con­tract and fed­er­al grant com­pli­ance and va­cant land dis­pos­i­tion policies. 

She is on the Va­cant Prop­erty Re­view Com­mit­tee and was a mem­ber of May­or Nut­ter’s Elec­tion Day 2012 Taskforce.  

Cald­well also worked with the May­or’s Taskforce on City-Owned Fa­cil­it­ies. 

Pri­or to that, she spent five years in the City Law De­part­ment work­ing in both the con­tracts and real es­tate units. ••

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