Northeast Times

Somerton officers named

The Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation ap­poin­ted new of­ficers and re­jec­ted a loc­al homeown­er’s ap­plic­a­tion to leg­al­ize an over­sized shed in his yard dur­ing the civic group’s monthly meet­ing on June 10.

Un­der the SCA’s bylaws, the group must hold of­ficer elec­tions every two years. In ad­vance of this month’s elec­tion, Pres­id­ent Dolores Bar­bieri an­nounced her resig­na­tion from the board, al­though she plans to re­main act­ive as a mem­ber.

With single nom­in­ees for each board po­s­i­tion, mem­bers elec­ted the group by ac­cli­ma­tion. The new of­ficers in­clude Seth Ka­plan (pres­id­ent), Lou De­Cree (vice pres­id­ent), Mary Jane Roberts (re­cord­ing sec­ret­ary), Pat Can­t­well (treas­urer) and Nat­alie Sher­man (mem­ber­ship chair). The zon­ing chair po­s­i­tion re­mains va­cant, but Ka­plan and Bar­bieri plan to share the re­spons­ib­il­ity un­til a per­man­ent re­place­ment can be found.

The group voted on one zon­ing is­sue in­volving a single home at 15037 En­dicott St. In 2012, the own­er built a 400-square-foot stor­age shed in the back­yard without ob­tain­ing a city per­mit.

The own­er now seeks to leg­al­ize the build­ing, but has been re­fused for a per­mit be­cause the struc­ture does not con­form to the city’s zon­ing code. The code re­quires it to be at least 25 feet from the rear prop­erty line and 25 from the side prop­erty line. But the shed is three feet from the side and four feet from the rear. In ad­di­tion, the square foot­age is lar­ger than that al­lowed by the code.

An at­tor­ney rep­res­ent­ing the own­er told meet­ing-go­ers that the code al­lows for a 375-foot area. The own­er fur­ther re­por­ted that he ini­tially ap­plied for a build­ing per­mit in 2012 and was turned down by the city. He did not file an ap­peal in time to chal­lenge the re­fus­al.

Neigh­bors com­plained that con­sent­ing to the shed would set a bad pre­ced­ent and en­cour­age oth­er prop­erty own­ers to build sim­il­ar struc­tures in their yards and di­min­ish open space. Oth­er neigh­bors said that they have no prob­lem with the shed, which they said can’t be seen from the street. City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill said that he is un­aware of any pro­vi­sion in the zon­ing code that would al­low a shed of more than 120 square feet at that loc­a­tion.

SCA mem­bers voted 27-1 not to sup­port the leg­al­iz­a­tion of the build­ing. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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