Upper Holmesburg opposes apartment expansion
Upper Holmesburg residents voted unanimously to oppose a local apartment house owner’s plan to build a third rental unit in an existing two-unit building.
During the monthly meeting of the Upper Holmesburg Civic Association on Feb. 21, Zoning Chairman Paul DeFinis reported that the owner of 8714 Ditman St. had filed for a zoning application to renovate the property. The two-story brick house is at the end of a block of single-family row homes.
Under the current zoning, two apartments are permitted — one unit per floor. The zoning application seeks permits to build a third apartment in the basement, which has a separate entrance at the rear of the building.
Immediate neighbors of the site reported seeing a contractor “actively working” on the property in recent days.
DeFinis said he invited the zoning applicant to speak at the civic meeting, but neither the property owner nor manager attended.
City property records list a woman with a Brooklyn address as the owner. The woman bought the house for $242,000 in 2005. The property taxes are paid up.
DeFinis recommended that the immediate neighbors contact the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspection to report any construction that they observe. A zoning hearing is scheduled for early March. The civic association will draft a letter opposing the zoning application and send it to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
In unrelated UHCA business:
• Three political candidates asked for the community’s support in the May 21 primary election. Democrat Brett Mandel is running for city controller. The Rhawnhurst native is the former director of the controller’s Financial and Policy Analysis Unit, and the founder of Philadelphia Forward, a tax-reform advocacy organization.
In addition, private real estate attorney Frank Bennett is running simultaneously for seats on Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court. He is a former vice president of the Northwood Civic Association and the president of the Northwood Frankford Community Y.
Retired police officer Jose Figueroa is running for a seat on Traffic Court. As a cop, he was a longtime truck enforcement officer with the Philadelphia Highway Patrol. Figueroa works in the insurance industry and volunteers with the Northwood Frankford Community Y and the Boy Scouts. ••