537 Morris Street (ZBA Application #464087)
The above-referenced applicant presented the ZBA application at a Dickinson Square West Civic Association (DSWCA) Zoning Committee meeting on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. The Zoning Committee provided public notice to surrounding neighbors for that meeting (enclosed). At that time, the applicant presented plans to legalize the currently illegal use of the building as a triplex, where multiple dwellings in one structure are not allowed in an RSA-5 (formerly R10-A) zone.
The DSWCA Zoning Committee heard from a dozen neighbors who were unanimously opposed to the proposed use, as the site is subject to several of the effects of an absentee landlord, including trash, poor building maintenance deterioration and multiple occupants (interior photographs showed 4+ twin beds per bedroom). Neighbors also noted that the building had been operated illegally by the same owner even under the old zoning code. The Committee feels the use variance is not justified, impairs the intent of the zoning code, and conflicts with the civic association’s mission of neighborhood improvement. Therefore, the DSWCA Zoning Committee recommends the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment deny ZBA Application #464087 (537 Morris Street).
528 Titan Street (ZBA Application #481959)
The above-referenced applicant presented the ZBA application at a Dickinson Square West Civic Association (DSWCA) Zoning Committee meeting on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. The Zoning Committee provided public notice to surrounding neighbors for that meeting (enclosed). At that time, the applicant presented plans to build a three story dwelling to replace a one-story garage on the property. The applicant presented plans for that dwelling requesting a 23% open space variance, where a minimum 30% is required for interior lots in a RSA-5 (formerly R10-A) zone. The applicant’s plans showed slab on grade construction in order to accommodate her anticipated need for easy access and to accommodate a motorized scooter. The applicant explained that the additional space on the first floor was desired for a handicap accessible bathroom including shower that may be needed during her occupancy.
The DSWCA Zoning Committee heard from eight neighbors who were opposed to the variance because of their concern about disturbance and access during construction, a three story dwelling was out of scale with the street, and possible future illegal conversion to a multi-tenant rental. One neighbor supported the plan and request for variance. The Committee understands the stated reason for the requested variance, but was unable to determine if the open space variance was justified. Therefore, the DSWCA Zoning Committee takes no position and defers to the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment on ZBA Application #481959 (528 Titan Street).