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. ••