De­vel­op­ment plans re­vised

De­vel­oper makes ad­just­ments; civic as­so­ci­a­tion again op­poses pro­posed de­vel­op­ment at 7519 Ridge Ave.

The Review - - Front Page - By Kier­sten McMona­gle

Af­ter Au­gust’s hear­ing with the Philadel­phia Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment, de­vel­oper Dave Bran­ni­gan and the Up­per Roxborough Civic As­so­ci­a­tion were told tomeet again and come up with a com­pro­mise for the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment at 7519 Ridge Ave.

When Bran­ni­gan shared his up­dated pro­pos­als with the com­mu­nity last Wed­nes­day, though, the civic as­so­ci­a­tion found their great­est con­cerns about the de­vel­op­ment had not yet been ad­dressed and sent him­back for an­other try.

This marked Bran­ni­gan’s third time pre­sent­ing a new pro­posal to the civic as­so­ci­a­tion, hav­ing met with them first in De­cem­ber of 2016 and again in Fe­bru­ary. This time, he came pre­pared with two op­tions for the space. How­ever, while sev­eral of the group’s con­cerns had been ad­dressed, such as pre­sent­ing the units for sale as op­posed to as ren­tals and cut­ting the size of the de­vel­op­ment sig­nif­i­cantly, oth­ers had not.

Specif­i­cally, civic as­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Rich Gior­dano ex­plained the com­mu­nity’s great­est con­cerns are that the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment is cur­rently in vi­o­la­tion of the wa­ter­shed or­di­nance and zon­ing codes re­gard­ing slope.

“It doesn’t meet the terms of the wa­ter­shed or­di­nance, which in­volves for only so­much im­per­vi­ous cov­er­age, and they have a lot more than what’s al­lowed,” Gior­dano ex­plained. “And then the is­sue with 25 per­cent slopes, the zon­ing code doesn’t al­low any­one on 25 per­cent or greater slopes. A lot of peo­ple have trou­ble with wa­ter runoff al­ready.”

Be­cause a ma­jor­ity of Roxborough’s open space is on 25 per­cent or greater slopes, the com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tion is wary of set­ting a prece­dent for other de­vel­op­ers by al­low­ing Bran­ni­gan to build his prop­erty as it stands.

Gior­dano ex­plained while these two is­sues com­prise the com­mu­nity’s great­est con­cerns about the prop­erty, they are by no means the only ob­jec­tions Up­per Roxborough would have to a new de­vel­op­ment on Ridge Av­enue.

“From the very be­gin­ning … [our] con­cerns were that it’s just too dense a de­vel­op­ment for that spot,” he said, ex­plain­ing that the high school is nearby and traf­fic on Ridge Av­enue is con­gested enough as is.

While Bran­ni­gan’s most re­cent pro­pos­als are for sig­nif­i­cantly smaller de­vel­op­ments than in the past — 18 or 22 units based on last Wed­nes­day’s pro­pos­als, com­pared to De­cem­ber’s pro­posal for 60 units — the civic as­so­ci­a­tion said it still fears that any ad­di­tional traf­fic in the area would be too much. Ad­di­tion­ally, while Bran­ni­gan has ac­counted for two park­ing spa­ces per unit, the com­mu­nity is also wary of new res­i­dents with nowhere to park their cars.

Gior­dano also added the com­mu­nity is at­tempt­ing to have that por­tion of Roxborough re-classed as his­toric. While they’re still in the early stages, he and oth­ers are con­cerned that any changes to the com­mu­nity’s ap­pear­ance could hin­der that work.

“The last thing we want is for things to go up that aren’t his­toric,” he said.

Based on last Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing with the civic as­so­ci­a­tion, Bran­ni­gan now has two op­tions: cre­ate a new pro­posal and present it to the Up­per Roxborough Civic As­so­ci­a­tion in the com­ing months or present his ex­ist­ing pro­posal to the zon­ing board, de­spite push­back from the com­mu­nity.

While the civic as­so­ci­a­tion’s opin­ions will be weighed heav­ily, the ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion whether to grant Bran­ni­gan a vari­ance for his prop­erty lies in the hands of the zon­ing board. If Bran­ni­gan does de­cide to move for­ward with his ex­ist­ing pro­posal, the civic as­so­ci­a­tion will pro­vide the zon­ing board with its feed­back and a vote from com­mu­nity mem­bers.

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