Bustleton Civic says farewell to 7th Police District captain

Capt. Joseph Zaffino is retiring on Feb. 28 after more than 32 years on the police force.

Mem­bers of the Great­er Bustleton Civic League last week sup­por­ted, op­posed and tied on neigh­bor­hood zon­ing ques­tions, heard about the tem­por­ary clos­ing of a loc­al fire­house and said good­bye to the com­mand­er of the 7th Po­lice Dis­trict.

Capt. Joseph Zaffino is re­tir­ing on Feb. 28 after more than 32 years on the po­lice force. He has been the boss at the 7th at Bustleton and Bowl­er for the past six and a half years.

“I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter as­sign­ment,” the North­east res­id­ent said. “I’ve had the help of so many people, which made my job easi­er. … I couldn’t have got­ten half the things I did done without you.”

He told mem­bers dur­ing their Jan. 29 ses­sion at the Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Cred­it Uni­on that they should keep do­ing what they’ve been do­ing. “Keep fight­ing for your neigh­bor­hood.”

Zaffino, who al­ways has been well-re­ceived at the civic league’s ses­sions, got a stand­ing ova­tion at the well-at­ten­ded meet­ing.

Fire Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers and Deputy Com­mis­sion­er Der­rick Saw­yer told mem­bers about the tem­por­ary clos­ing of the fire sta­tion at Bustleton and Bowl­er. 

When work to re­place the ap­par­at­us floor began in mid-Janu­ary, Saw­yer said, a sub­floor was dis­covered un­der­neath. Work, ori­gin­ally sched­uled to be com­plete in about six to eight weeks, might now take an­oth­er month, Saw­yer said.

“The work that’s be­ing done is ne­ces­sary work,” Ay­ers said, “so the en­gine can keep serving the com­munity.”

Ay­ers said En-gine 62 will be re-lo-cated to En-gine Com-pany 18 at 8205 Roosevelt Blvd. Lad-der 34 and Med-ic 6 will be in the En-gine 58 fire-house at 812 Hendrix St.

While he had mem­bers’ at­ten­tion, the com­mis­sion­er re­minded them that they should have smoke de­tect­ors with 10-year lith­i­um bat­ter­ies in their homes, and sug­ges­ted in­stalling one on each floor. He also ad­voc­ated get­ting car­bon monox­ide de­tect­ors.


Pennsylvania Su­preme Court Justice Seamus Mc­Caf­fery got mem­bers’ un­an­im­ous sup­port for a zon­ing vari­ance he needs to ex­pand the kit­chen of his home on the 9000 block of Jen­nifer Ter­race, 

Mc­Caf­fery needs a vari­ance be­cause the 385-square-foot kit­chen ad­di­tion won’t have the re­quired 15-foot side yard. The new part of the home will bump up against some un­developed city-owned ground, said Mc­Caf­fery’s at­tor­ney, Shawn Ward. After the 28-0 vote to sup­port his vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion, the justice said he was ex­pand­ing the kit­chen so it is big enough to ac­com­mod­ate fam­ily hol­i­day gath­er­ings.

“This is cost­ing me a boat­load of money … just so I can have three din­ners a year,” Mc­Caf­fery said. “At my age, I should be downs­iz­ing … get­ting a little house in the sub­urbs. … But I’d rather stay in Bustleton.”

The justice also com­pli­men­ted mem­bers for turn­ing out to de­cide zon­ing ques­tions.

“This is what you need to do,” he said, “to keep Bustleton nice.”

That pro­voked a wry com­ment from his at­tor­ney, who fre­quently has ap­peared be­fore civic league mem­bers on zon­ing mat­ters and hasn’t al­ways walked away happy.

“Be­lieve you me, they’ve kicked my ass more than once,” he said.

In fact, in late 2012, mem­bers over­whelm­ingly op­posed a vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion Ward presen­ted for a cli­ent on the 9900 block of Hal­de­man Av­en­ue. The cli­ent wanted a vari­ance so he could leg­ally con­tin­ue op­er­at­ing a dent­al im­plant man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness in a res­id­en­tially zoned home at Hal­de­man and Red Li­on Road. Des­pite the neigh­bor­hood op­pos­i­tion, the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment favored Ward’s cli­ent with a tem­por­ary vari­ance. The league took the mat­ter to Com­mon Pleas Court, which tossed it back to the zon­ers be­cause the own­er didn’t prove hard­ship —- show the prop­erty could could be used for only the pur­poses the own­er wants.

A re­hear­ing to de­term­ine hard­ship was sched­uled for mid-Janu­ary, but was post­poned. A new date was not yet been set.

The own­ers of 9289 Dar­ling­ton Road, Moua Vang and Xiong Kalia, did not get the league’s back­ing for a vari­ance to build a 240-square-foot shed on the prop­erty. Zon­ing for the area al­lows only sheds that are 120 square feet, ac­cord­ing to in­form­a­tion provide by the league last week.

The shed as pro­posed would not have the re­quired rear or side yards.

Mem­bers voted 11 for and 17 against sup­port­ing the vari­ance.

Jack Bon­ner, the league’s re­cord­ing sec­ret­ary, said he dis­covered a dent­al im­plant busi­ness was be­ing op­er­ated at the ad­dress. Zon­ing of­ficer Carl Ja­dach said mem­bers were there only to con­sider the shed. He said the city’s De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions had been in­formed a busi­ness was in the house, which has res­id­en­tial zon­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a check last week of Kalia Dent­al Lab’s web­site, its ad­dress is 9289 Dar­ling­ton Road and it has been in busi­ness since 2005. The web­site said the busi­ness op­er­ates 12 and a half hours per day, six days a week.

The hear­ing for the vari­ance is set for 9:30 a.m. on Tues­day, Feb. 18, on the 18th floor of 1515 Arch St.

Mem­bers tied 11-11 on an ap­plic­a­tion by St. Peter’s Church, 9948 Hal­de­man Ave., to build an ex­ten­sion and con­fig­ure and ex­pand its park­ing lot.

On Jan. 30, John McK­eever, the league’s vice pres­id­ent, said ties could be broken only by the league’s pres­id­ent, who does not vote on zon­ing mat­ters un­less there is a tie. However, since league pres­id­ent Jack O’Hara was trav­el­ing on busi­ness when the meet­ing oc­curred, McK­eever said, the or­gan­iz­a­tion will tell the zon­ing board a de­cision could not be reached. The Great­er Bustleton Civic League’s next meet­ing will be at 7 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, Feb. 26, at the Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on’s Car­riage House at Red Li­on Road and Jam­is­on. The league’s hot line is 215-676-6890 and its web­site is www.gb­c­league.org ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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