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