Northeast Times

Frankford NAC hears zoning concerns

Mem­bers of the Frank­ford Neigh­bor­hood Ad­vis­ory Com­mit­tee’s zon­ing pan­el didn’t sup­port — or op­pose — a Ed­mund Street homeown­er’s plans to im­prove his prop­erty on the 4700 block.

They wer­en’t sure what ex­actly El­bin Gonza­lez needed from them, and neither was Gonza­lez. He told mem­bers he wanted to im­prove the prop­erty’s first floor for a com­mer­cial use and showed them a build­ing per­mit. He said he was told by city of­fi­cials to present his plans for the build­ing to the neigh­bor­hood group. But mem­bers asked him more than once, “What do you need from us?”

He was asked if he needed their sup­port for a zon­ing vari­ance and if he had a hear­ing sched­uled be­fore the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment, but Gonza­lez said he didn’t know. Vari­ances, ba­sic­ally OKs to not fol­low city codes for very spe­cif­ic reas­ons, are re­quired if an own­er wants to do something the prop­erty’s zon­ing doesn’t al­low. The prop­erty already has com­mer­cial zon­ing, ac­cord­ing to city re­cords.

Mem­bers poin­ted out to Gonza­lez that there are sev­er­al li­ens on the prop­erty for out­stand­ing real es­tate taxes and that there is a list of code vi­ol­a­tions on the prop­erty on the De­part­ment of Li­censes & In­spec­tions web­site. He was told he would have to clear all of that up if he needed a vari­ance. Since 2011, zon­ers have re­quired proof that real es­tate taxes are paid on a prop­erty be­fore they even look at a vari­ance re­quest. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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