From Apple Storage to Apple Lofts: Zoning Committee Report

Maureen Tate, CPN Zoning Committee This article originally appeared in the March 2012 newsletter.  Didn't get your copy?  Consider joining or renewing your membership today.

The CPN Zoning Committee continues to respond to a variety of zoning issues inCedarPark. Some are local issues affecting one or two commercial or residential blocks. Other issues may have a greater impact on a larger portion of the community.

Most recently residents have become aware of an application before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) regarding a proposed change in zoning from industrial to residential use for the long-vacant Apple Storage building at780 S. 52nd Street. Such a change would allow for the owner, Iron Stone, LLC, to convert the building into 112 loft apartments, with 92 parking spaces in a dedicated rear lot and 2,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor.

When CPN became aware of this application, we invited the owner to make a presentation to both the CPN Zoning Committee and the CPN Board of Directors. We then hosted a community meeting for residents in the vicinity of Apple Storage to learn more about the project, distributing 200 flyers to nearby residences, businesses and institutions.

The meeting was held on December 15th atWaylandMemorialBaptistChurchat 52nd andBaltimore. Approximately 40 residents heard a presentation by the developer, Andrew Eisenstein, and had the opportunity to ask questions and submit written comments. After a review of the project and comments from the community meeting, the CPN Board decided to take a position in support of the project, recognizing its potential to reduce property vacancy and blight; support the revitalization of our two commercial corridors along Baltimore Avenue and 52nd Street; improve safety in an isolated segment of the community by bringing more eyes, ears and foot traffic to 52nd Street; and enable productive reuse of an outdated but historic industrial building.

A ZBA hearing was held on January 4th, 2012, at which CPN and the Baltimore Avenue Business Association entered letters of support. Another community group, the Community Achievement Association, entered signatures requesting a delay of the vote to accommodate another community meeting to inform more neighbors. The ZBA agreed to delay the vote, and subsequently two more community meetings were held at theArnettA.M.E.Churchon53rd Street, organized by the Community Achievement Association.

While residents at all meetings have raised concerns about the project’s impact on property taxes, a large number of residents welcome this investment of private dollars in our community to enable the reuse of a building that has a big footprint in the neighborhood but has outlived its industrial use. CPN participated in vigorous and sometimes heated debate about the merits of this project before launching its own petition campaign in support, believing that the voices of those supporting the project were not being heard. As this newsletter is being prepared the ZBA vote on the issue is pending and we will continue to keep members apprised of the status of Apple Lofts through our eblast and Facebook communications.

Other issues recently considered by the CPN Zoning Committee include:

5201 Baltimore Avenue -- CPN joined with local neighbors and Councilwoman Blackwell to oppose the legalization of an outdoor barbecue pit as an accessory to a trailer, for preparation and serving of food for take-out, with ­outdoor seating for under 30 people.

800 S. St. Bernard Street -- Zoning Committee members are facilitating conversations with neighbors and a new owner regarding his application to convert from single to three units with rear and side additions.

4726 Baltimore Avenue -- Upon notification of neighbors and hearing support and no objection, CPN supported the application of the owners of 4728 Baltimore Avenue to expand the Vientiane Restaurant to the first floor of the former Mariposa Food Coop space and allow for more table seating.

4610 Cedar Avenue -- CPN is monitoring preliminary discussions between neighbors and a local Philadelphia business about possible use of the space for an ice cream parlor.

4618 Cedar Avenue -- CPN supported local neighbors in objecting to new, enlarged, back-lit signage erected without appropriate review and permits.

The CPN Zoning Committee generally meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month. Members interested in serving on the committee should contact the committee at: