Upper Holmesburg Civic approves used car lot

Auto­mobile sales could be re­turn­ing to the Holmes­burg Shop­ping Cen­ter after the loc­al civic as­so­ci­ation en­dorsed a zon­ing vari­ance sought by the prop­erty own­er last Thursday night.

Mem­bers of the Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation voted 24-3 in fa­vor of the vari­ance, al­though the prop­erty own­er must still ob­tain ap­prov­al from the city’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment. A zon­ing board hear­ing was sched­uled for May 20.

Paul Seo owns the shop­ping cen­ter on the 8400 block of Frank­ford Ave., at the in­ter­sec­tion of Ash­burn­er Street. Ac­cord­ing to the own­er and his zon­ing con­sult­ant, Tom Citro, Seo’s fam­ily bought the strip mall in 2007 and in­her­ited a lease agree­ment with a used car deal­er­ship, Dav­is Auto­mot­ive. Last year, Dav­is Auto­mot­ive ter­min­ated the lease and moved out of the shop­ping cen­ter.

Seo iden­ti­fied a new ten­ant for the 11,000-square-foot lot. But when the pro­spect­ive ten­ant ap­plied for city per­mits, the busi­ness learned that auto sales are not per­mit­ted un­der the site’s cur­rent com­mer­cial zon­ing des­ig­na­tion. In fact, the city had no re­cord of auto sales ever oc­cur­ring at the prop­erty, Citro said.

Seo ap­plied to the city for a zon­ing vari­ance that would per­mit auto sales as well as ac­cess­ory auto re­pairs. That is, the deal­er­ship will be able to fix its own vehicles, but not those be­long­ing to out­side cus­tom­ers.

Dur­ing a dia­logue about the shop­ping cen­ter, res­id­ents in­sisted that the new car deal­er not park vehicles on the side­walks along Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Ash­burn­er Street. They also asked the prop­erty own­er to take bet­ter care of the en­tire shop­ping cen­ter lot by trim­ming weeds and clean­ing lit­ter reg­u­larly. Lead­ers of the civic as­so­ci­ation noted that Seo has been re­spons­ive to oth­er re­quests in the past, par­tic­u­larly when res­id­ents com­plained about tract­or-trail­ers be­ing al­lowed to park overnight in the lot.

• In un­re­lated neigh­bor­hood busi­ness, a rep­res­ent­at­ive from Com­munity Mar­ket­ing Con­cepts told res­id­ents about new reg­u­la­tions for dis­pos­ing of mat­tresses. Res­id­ents may still place old mat­tresses at the curb on reg­u­lar trash pickup days, but the mat­tresses must be en­cased with­in a plastic cov­er.

The city is try­ing to re­strict the spread of bed bugs, ac­cord­ing to Rod­ney Moore, a spokes­man for the mar­ket­ing firm.

Mat­tress bags are avail­able at home sup­ply stores like Home De­pot or Lowe’s. Folks who don’t want to buy a bag may take their old mat­tresses to the city dump at Ash­burn­er Street and State Road.

Moore fur­ther re­por­ted that the city’s next house­hold haz­ard­ous waste col­lec­tion will be held at the Ash­burn­er Street dump on Ju­ly 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. City res­id­ents can bring old paint, solvents, gas­ol­ine and oth­er haz­ard­ous ma­ter­i­als there for safe dis­pos­al.

The city is try­ing to crack down on il­leg­al dump­ing, too, Moore said. If you see someone dump­ing il­leg­ally any­where in the city, call 215-685-9500 to re­port it.

• UHCA Pres­id­ent Stan Cy­w­in­ski re­por­ted that there has been little change in the status of the pro­posed re­devel­op­ment of the former Lid­don­field Homes pub­lic hous­ing site. De­velopers con­tin­ue to meet with rep­res­ent­at­ives from Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity to dis­cuss fund­ing the con­struc­tion of ath­let­ic fa­cil­it­ies on the site and the uni­versity’s pos­sible lease-pur­chase agree­ment for those fa­cil­it­ies.

Cy­w­in­ski said that the uni­versity’s re­tir­ing pres­id­ent, Sis­ter Francesca On­ley, has ex­pressed her con­tin­ued in­terest in the pro­ject, al­though the uni­versity is not in a po­s­i­tion to fund the ini­tial con­struc­tion. On­ley will step down from her of­fice at the end of the aca­dem­ic year, but hopes to stay in­volved in the Lid­don­field pro­ject on be­half of the uni­versity, Cy­w­in­ski said.

Mean­while, City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on has re­mained closely in­volved in the ne­go­ti­ations and has been keep­ing the civic as­so­ci­ation in­formed, Cy­w­in­ski said. The de­velopers have a June 30 dead­line to close their pur­chase of the Lid­don­field site from the Phil­adelphia Hous­ing Au­thor­ity.

• Two can­did­ates for Pennsylvania’s 173rd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict seat ad­dressed the civic as­so­ci­ation. Re­pub­lic­an Mike Tom­lin­son ran un­op­posed in Tues­day’s primary elec­tion to earn his party’s nom­in­a­tion. Demo­crat Paul DeFinis was one of three con­tenders in his party’s primary. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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