Central Roxborough Civic Association Meeting Minutes
November 2, 2017
492-498 Roxborough Update
This is the site of a church at the intersection of Roxborough Avenue and & Ridge. A developer presented a plan to build 27 apartments on part of the land and look into to redeveloping the church for a commercial use. CRCA voted to support the project on the condition that there be a deed restriction filed that would prohibit demolition of the church. The Zoning Board of Adjustment granted the variance.
340 Hermitage Preview
This is a proposal for 13 units on land protected by the City’s Steep Slope Overlay. CRCA’s Zoning Committee has met with the developer who is revising plans based on input received. The project will be presented at CRCA’s December general meeting.
451 Green Lane Update
This was a proposal to demolish an existing 19th century home and construct a multi-family triplex. ZBA denied the variance and the developer appealed to the Court of Common Pleas, which upheld the ZBA decision. The case in now in Commonwealth Court. Thus far, CRCA’s legal fees to oppose the project through the court system total over $8,000.
4549 Silverwood Preview
This is another development proposed in a steep slope area. Manayunk Neighborhood Council is the coordinating RCO, so the plan will be presented at their next meeting on Wednesday, December 6, at 7:30 P.M. at Venice Island Performing Arts Center.
Ridge Avenue Demolition Moratorium
Members of several local civics from Roxborough, Wissahickon, and Ridge Park met with Curtis Jones recently for a tour of Ride Avenue. The Councilman has proposed a moratorium on demolition for a section of Ridge Avenue after expressing concern that significant or historic buildings will be demolished and fundamentally change the character of the Ridge. The moratorium would give a chance to evaluate and designate appropriate properties for preservation.
Community Relations Officer Maurice Scott
The 5th District’s CRO, Maurice Scott, stopped by to give an update on crime situation in the neighborhood. Officer Scott replaces Officer Jones, but he is not new to the area. He has been working this district for seven years. While other areas outside of Central Roxborough are experiencing the most serious crime, there is the persistent issue of theft from autos in the area. Please lock your cars doors and don’t keep valuables in your vehicle.
A community member asked for an update on the drug issue in the neighborhood. Officer Scott admitted it’s “an uphill battle” and stated that police are limited by laws and policy in their ability to confront or arrest individuals if a drug deal is not done in their presence. Indoor drug arrests also require the involvement of a separate City narcotics division. Police (and even civilians such as librarians) are currently undergoing Narcan training to instruct them on how to revive people who have overdosed.
Officer Scott praised the Town Watch program, which has held several meetings recently. He is excited that concerned citizens from throughout the community are willing to volunteer their time and efforts to keep their neighborhoods safe.
At the December CRCA General Meeting (first Thursday in December, 7:30, Leverington Church), the Board will present a slate of officers and accept nominations for Board Members. Attendees at the January meeting will vote on the nominees.
Twisted Gingers Tap Room – Mark Mayer
Mark Mayer from Lafayette Hill introduced himself as a man with a lifetime off experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry who has been seriously brewing beer for the past 12 years. He is interested in starting a small tap room at Fleming and Cotton Streets, at the site of the former Common Ground bar (property owned by Tim Masters, who was also present). The endeavor would be called Twisted Gingers in honor of Mr. Mayer and his daughter’s red hair. He hopes to cultivate a positive/celebratory atmosphere. Hours would be limited to Thursday through Saturday at first start up but hopefully expand with the business. Pints will be in the $4 to $7 range and there will be food. A tap room would require Zoning Board Approval, so Mr. Mayer will be back on a future date to discuss more details.
On 10/26, the newly formed Parking Committee of CRCA held a listening session to gather information about resident concerns regarding parking in Central Roxborough. CRCA District Rep. and Parking Committee Chair Margaret Ann Morris asked for additional input at this meeting and got a variety of responses. Some issues raised included the parking crunch on streets next to those with permit parking who do not have it on their own block, cars parking in front of their garages on the pavement/sidewalk, cars parked so tightly together it is impossible to get out, and cars parked illegally on corners creating a safety hazard for fire trucks and emergency vehicles. One proposal would be to have parking spaces clearly painted onto streets, although varying vehicle sizes would need to be taken into account. When informally polled at the meeting, there were mixed feelings about those would be willing to pay for a remote parking site.
Want to get involved? There’s another Parking Meeting hosted by CRCA Saturday, November 11 at 10:00 A.M. at the Roxborough Memorial Hospital Auditorium. The hospital has ample parking.
Roxborough Development Corporation Update
James Calamia of the RDC went over some recent improvements to the neighborhood. Groundbreaking has started at Pocket Park with good things to come. RDC recently retrofitted street lamps at Ridge & Green with LED lights as a trial to see if switching to LED lighting down the Ridge would be a good idea. The Leverington Avenue parking lot was recently completely renovated. RDC is looking into lighting options for the Dupont Street parking lot.
When asked about demolition noted at the site of the former thrift store that burned down on Ridge (the rear of which abuts the Dupont Street lot), Mr. Calamia responded that the property was purchased with the intent of construction a 7,000 square foot commercial space on the bottom floor with 27 residential units above. The total building height would be 45 feet. This project would be by right (i.e. conforms to zoning code and would not require a variance) and is within the standards set by the recent Ridge Corridor zoning remapping.