Zoning board OKs exception for barber school
NORRISTOWN — The Norristown Zoning Hearing Board heard a request Tuesday night for special exceptions to allow a barber school at 573 E. Main Street in the R-2 Residential zone.
The board unanimously granted the special exception.
The former People’s Cleaners operated on the first floor of the building located at High Street and Main Street.
Attorney Michael Clement, representing the proposed owners of the barber school, said the “barber school is an equal or less intense use than the dry cleaners. The property is an island surrounded by a commercial zone.”
Clement said the property cannot be used for residential uses. It has parking for 15 cars in the rear lot.
The property owners, Joseph and Harry Mirabile Jr., bought the Main Street building from the Montgomery County Industrial Development Authority for $68,000 in April 1980. The building was assessed at $132,090 in April 1997.
Harry Mirabile Jr. said that the building was used for “finishing” dry cleaning and the business employed 40 workers.
Charles Adams III of New Holland, Lancaster County, the owner of Charles Hair Studio, said he has been teaching barbering for more than a year. “We will teach all the types of skills that a barber would need to have,” Adams said. “There is a requirement for 1,250 hours of instruction before licensing.”
Adams said the front part of the building would be used for a clinic floor. The back room of the school will be used for classrooms and lecture space. There will be 20 barber chairs in the front room.
Architect Joshua Sukenick said the 2,600-square-foot building could be used for the barber school and was similar in the building code to a dry cleaning business.
Board member James Mullane Jr. asked about emergency exits in the building. Sukenick said there are two exits from the building.
Both the dry cleaner and the barber school are non-conforming uses that require a special exception.
In other business, AT& T Mobility attempted to present its legal case for variances for a temporary cell phone tower 84 feet high in the former Montgomery Hospital parking lot in the R- 2 residential zone with a temporary fence.
Attorney Nicholas Cuce Jr., representing AT&T Mobility, said Einstein Medical Center Montgomery (EMCM) officials asked the wireless carrier and two other co-located wireless carriers to remove their equipment from the Montgomery Hospital roof by March 15.
EMCM merged with Montgomery Hospital several years ago and moved the hospital staff to the 146-bed, $350 million, hospital in East Norriton in September 2012.
Cuce said that AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and Clearwire officials were told by EMCM officials the cell phone equipment needed to be removed because the seven-story hospital building will be demolished. The hospital was founded in 1889.
Cuce said that “while a permanent site is being obtained AT&T Mobility needs a temporary site. The cell on wheels (COW) will have an 80-foot tower with three antennas.”
An amended applica- tion from AT& T Mobility asking for a microwave dish at 1330 Powell Street was filed with the board but a legal advertisement for the amended application was not placed in a local newspaper. Norristown Solicitor David Sander objected to the amended application being heard on Tuesday night because nearby residents were not notified of the hearing.
Cuce objected to Sander’s presence because Norristown council did not officially authorize Sander’s legal objections. Council President William Caldwell said council will vote on the legal authorization at the Wednesday night council meeting.