Northeast Times

City permit revoked from Morrell Park resident

A permit allowing Maureen McKeown to operate a skin-care business in her home was revoked earlier this month.

A city per­mit that would have al­lowed a Mor­rell Park res­id­ent to op­er­ate a skin-care busi­ness in her home has been re­voked.

City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill (R-10th dist.) said Tues­day the city’s De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tion no­ti­fied res­id­ents it had re­voked the per­mit earli­er this month. Joseph Beller, who rep­res­ents Maur­een McK­eown, said his cli­ent is likely to con­tin­ue try­ing to get the city’s OK to op­er­ate her busi­ness in her home on the 3300 block of Mor­rell Av­en­ue. 

McK­eown’s prop­erty is res­id­en­tially zoned. Beller said his cli­ent just wants to give fa­cials in a small part of her home for three years and then will move her busi­ness to a com­mer­cial loc­a­tion. O’Neill and many of McK­eown’s neigh­bors op­posed McK­eown’s plans. Not only did a hand­ful of neigh­bors show up at two Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment ses­sions to testi­fy to their op­pos­i­tion, O’Neill also let the zon­ers know he didn’t like McK­eown’s pro­pos­al and even hired a law­yer to ar­gue against it.

The story isn’t a long one, but it has had an up-and-down his­tory.

On Jan. 21, the zon­ing board un­an­im­ously shot down McK­eown’s ap­plic­a­tion for a vari­ance that would have al­lowed the busi­ness. Op­pon­ents who had come out to the meet­ing went home happy.   

The next month, Beller agreed to rep­res­ent McK­eown and per­suaded the zon­ers to re­con­sider the case.

O’Neill and even more op­pon­ents showed up at the zon­ing board’s April 2 ses­sion, but Beller asked for, and got, a con­tinu­ance. Op­pon­ents went home grumbling.

Beller then got his cli­ent a per­mit for a “home oc­cu­pa­tion,” scratch­ing the need for any fur­ther zon­ing board hear­ings.

O’Neill then com­plained to the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, ar­guing that who­ever in L&I had is­sued the per­mit didn’t un­der­stand the zon­ing code. The coun­cil­man said he be­lieves L&I took a second look and then put the kibosh on the earli­er OK.

“L&I is now look­ing at this cor­rectly,” he said. “It has a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of why this is not per­mit­ted. … This use doesn’t be­long there.”  

O’Neill said what Beller has de­scribed last month as “ba­sic­ally fa­cials” is not a home oc­cu­pa­tion per­mit­ted un­der the city’s zon­ing code.

“It’s clearly pro­hib­ited,” he said. The coun­cil­man said the whole is­sue had been de­cided cor­rectly the first time — on Jan. 21.

Beller said the per­mit was not a mis­take and was gran­ted prop­erly.

“I’m not happy,” Beller said Tues­day morn­ing. “I don’t think they’re right. … We’re go­ing to ap­peal one way or an­oth­er.”

He said he didn’t see how his cli­ent’s small, by-ap­point­ment busi­ness could have an ad­verse im­pact on any­one. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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