CPN Zoning Committee Letter for 5047 Baltimore Avenue

Mr. Frank DiCicco, Chair
Zoning Board of Adjustment
Municipal Services Building
1401 JFK Boulevard, 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Re: 5047 Baltimore Avenue,

Philadelphia, PA 10143

Calendar No: 31105 Permit No. 769535

Dear Mr. DiCicco:

Cedar Park Neighbors did not reach an agreement on the application for a use variance for proposed new construction at 5047 Baltimore Avenue.

A public meeting of Cedar Park Neighbors was held on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at the Calvary Center for Culture and Community to review this project and the proposed variance. Attorney Darwin Beauvais, the developer JMSK, LLC, and the project architect described the proposed project, a four-story infill apartment building in the middle of the block. The proposal includes a ground floor retail space in the front, and three three-bedroom apartments, occupying the basement through fourth floors. In addition to six members of the CPN zoning committee, seven additional members of the public attended this meeting, along with the project team, several others who did not participate in the final vote, and a local reporter.

Three of the neighbors voted to support this project; three voted against it; one had no opinion. Of the zoning committee, one member supported this project, four voted against it, and one member recused. The committee members felt that the drawings were unclear – one of the units, which has all three of its bedrooms in the basement, appears to have window wells for those bedrooms that are covered by building structure and will not get the requisite light and air required for a dwelling unit. Although this is not a zoning issue per se, the applicant is requesting a use change to increase the number of units from two to three. We feel that a claim of hardship for this increase is unwarranted – the unit being added is substandard, and therefore we did not feel that an increase in the unit count represented a benefit to the community. Several members of the committee felt that a plan which included a third unit, but did not rely so heavily on the use of the basement, might be better; however, without drawings that are more clear, it is too difficult to make a firm decision at this time.

Attached for your information and records are the Attendance Sign-In Sheet and the Meeting Summary Form.

Very truly yours,

Katherine Dowdell, Cedar Park Neighbors Zoning Committee

Cc: Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell
Darwin Beauvais, Attorney
City Planning Commission (rco.notification@phila.gov)
Southwest Philadelphia District Services, Baltimore Avenue Business Association, Southwest
Community Development Corporation, Southwest Community Advisory Group, 51st Republican Ward

5047 Baltimore.jpg

2017 Live Jazz Fridays in Cedar Park is here!

2017 Live Jazz Fridays in Cedar Park is here!

Sponsored by

Thank you to the Cedar Park Neighbors’ Jazz committee including chair Renee McBride Williams, Monica Allison, and Jo Ann Fishburn!


Getting to Know Cedar Park Houses of Worship

Getting to Know Cedar Park Houses of Worship (FB Event Page)
Thursday, May 25
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: People’s Baptist Church, 5039 Baltimore Avenue

Have you ever walked by a house of worship in Cedar Park and wondered what went on inside? What do they believe? Who are their members? How do they live out their faith in the community?


Cedar Park Neighbors and The People’s Baptist Church are hosting a townhall called “Everything you always wants to know about the houses of worship in your Cedar Park neighborhood.”

Houses of worship are such vital parts of our neighborhood and we know that many neighbors want to get to know better the places of worship here in our neighborhood.

Come hear from members from
1. People’s Baptist Church
2. Hickman Temple A.M.E. Church
3. Calvary United Methodist Church
4. Kol Tzedek Synagogue
5. West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship
6. Renewal Presbyterian Church

The panel will be moderated by someone on the board of Cedar Park Neighbors, and each panelist will be asked about the history of their house of worship, what makes their service unique, and how their community is involved in the world.

We will then have an opportunity to have questions and answers from the audience.

We look forward to seeing you!

Michael Froehlich, Cedar Park Neighbors board member
Rev. Eric Goode, Senior Pastor, People’s Baptist Church and Cedar Park Neighbors board member

18th Police District Town Hall Report Back

On Monday, May 15th, more than 50 neighbors joined Cedar Park Neighbors, Cobbs Creek Neighbors, Garden Court Community Association and Walnut Hill Community Association for a town hall meeting with representatives from the 18th Police District to discuss the 2014 shooting of Philippe Holland. We appreciate that so many neighbors took time out to attend and have their voices heard on this issue. We thank  Deputy Police Commissioner Robin Wimberly, 18th District Captain Gregory Riley, and 18th District Community Relations Mike Davis for their attendance and answering of neighbors’ questions.

Key Findings
  • The District Attorney’s office declined to charge officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey criminally, and is the city office solely responsible for making such determinations.
  • The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD)’s internal Use of Force Review Board (UFRB) concluded that the officers violated department policy but did not specify a punishment for the violation.
  • The PPD’s internal Police Board of Inquiry (PBI) found the officers did not violate the policy prohibiting officers from shooting at moving vehicles. Police Commissioner Richard Ross overruled the PBI’s finding and suspended them for 25 days without pay.
  • In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a report on the PPD’s use of force.  This report cited exactly this type of internal conflict between the UFRB and the PBI. While the PPD has implemented 61 of the DOJ’s 92 recommendations, it has yet to take action on the DOJ’s recommendations that the dual boards be dismantled and their duties integrated into one board.
  • The police union, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), has indicated that it intends to file grievances to overturn the officers’ punishments and recoup their lost wages.
  • The officers received counseling, and were retrained and evaluated by the PPD before returning to street duty.
  • In response to the April 28th letter from CPN, CCN, GCCA and WHCA, the PPD transferred the officers to the 3rd Police District in South Philadelphia, and the 8th Police District in Northeast Philadelphia. The PPD believes that any further changes to the officers’ work assignments could be interpreted as additional punishment and may trigger additional union grievances.
  • Information on Officer Involved Shootings is posted to the PPD’s website and available to the public at https://www.phillypolice.com/ois/
  • Body cameras are in beta testing in the 22nd Police District and are being expanded into the 25th Police District.
Next Steps For Our Organizations
  • Contact Councilman Curtis Jones, chairman of City Council’s Public Safety Committee, regarding the city’s current civil service arbitration negotiations for the union contract with the Fraternal Order of Police. The new union contract is to be negotiated in arbitration in July.
  • Contact District Attorney’s office for more information as to why criminal charges were declined.
  • Contact the Police Advisory Commission for more information on the implementation of the DOJ’s remaining recommendations.
Resources for the Community: Upcoming Meetings 18th Police District Community Meetings
  • Police Service Area -1 Meeting, Wednesday, June 7th, 6:00 p.m., 6130 Cedar Avenue
  • Police Service Area - 2 Meeting, Tuesday, June 13th, 6:00 p.m., 5510 Pine Street
  • Police Service Area - 3 Meeting, Thursday, June 15th, 6:00 p.m., 4740 Baltimore
  • Captain's Townhall Meeting, Tuesday, June 20th, 6:00 p.m.,  5510 Pine Street

Police Advisory Commission Meetings

The Police Advisory Commission (PAC) is overseeing the implementation of the remaining DOJ recommendations and will issue a report updating on that progress. PAC meetings are open to the public and held on the third Monday of each month at its office (990 Spring Garden St, 7th Floor), or at community centers, churches and other locations throughout the city. Check for details athttp://www.phila.gov/pac/Pages/default.aspx



Resources for the Community: News Coverage & Background Info

YouTube: Police Leadership in 18 district (30 minutes of the town hall meeting)

Newsworks: Dozens of residents protest Philly officers' return to duty

Collaborative Reform Initiative - An Assessment of Deadly Force in the Philadelphia Police Department

https://www.phillypolice.com/ois/Philly Police: Officer Involved Shootings

Philly Police: Review Process for Officer Involved Shootings

Update: 2017 Gary Bronson Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser!

Thank you to the more than 50 neighbors who came out to Dock Street on a sunny beautiful afternoon for our 10th Annual Gary Bronson Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser on April 23! We are additionally grateful to Mable Bakali and Andrew Kulasegram-Wilson, two of 2016's TEN scholarship award recipients, who were able to join us and share the genuine impact these funds and community support have had on them and their studies.

These scholarship funds exemplify the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors! To date, this year's mean donation is $90, and 77% percent of our donors live in Cedar Park with an additional 10% coming from other West Philadelphia neighborhoods. We have raised approximately 80% of the funds necessary to match last year's award numbers and amounts to help us reach our goal! Donations of any amount are appreciated! Sponsor level with opportunities for recognition remain available.


The 2017 Gary Bronson Memorial Scholarship application will be posted online later this month to be due mid-June. Please check back with us and help to distribute the application widely to any neighborhood youth who may be eligible.

Finally, please mark your calendar for Friday, July 14th for the Gary Bronson Memorial Scholarship award ceremony in Cedar Park at 49th and Baltimore. The ceremony will take place during the 7:00 p.m. set break for the evenings Cedar Park Live Jazz Friday concert. In addition to presenting the scholarship awards to recipients, we will also be recognizing our sponsor level donors:

Sustaining Neighbor Sponsor

Fleming Family Fund

Benefactor Neighbor Sponsor

Fred Wolfe, Jr.

Philadelphia Federal Credit Union

Patron Neighbor Sponsor

Amara Rockar & Mustapha Berkshan

Ana Lisa Yoder & G. Anthony Lapp

Claudia B. Hamilton-Ruffin

Duwayne Terry & Julia Katz Terry

Jacques-Jean Tiziou

Representative James Roebuck

Jesse Fuchs-Simon

Lisa Mitchell

Melani Lamond, Urban & Bye, Realtor

Philadelphia Federal Credit Union

Susan Kay Weiler

Friendly Neighbor Sponsor

Alfred C. Airone & Carolyn J. Kelly

Brad Wayland

Darryl Bundrige

David Hincher & Mara Hincher

David Wengert

Debra L. Detweiler & L. George Detweiler

Elizabeth K. Sands

Jeff Lutzner

Joyce A. Brock

Kelly J. Ryan

Lewis Baum

Linford D. Martin & Marcella J. Zimmerman

Louis N. Tannen & Catherine C. Carr

Margaret Dowling

Mark McGuire & Jo-Ann M. Verrier

Maureen Tate & Gerald McHugh

Michael Froehlich

Michael W. Jennings & Alfred A. Giosa

Scott Geryk & Nancy Geryk

Patricia J. Lavelle

Patricia Warner

Sharon Smith & James Smith

Suzanne Banning Anderson & Kelvyn Anderson



Cedar Park Neighbors Annual Meeting

Cedar Park Neighbors’ annual meeting will be on Monday, April 17th at the Calvary Community Center at 48th & Baltimore. We will have our board elections as well as guest speakers discussing tenant/renter's rights and tax relief programs for home owners. Additionally, committee members will be speaking about our upcoming annual Gary Bronson Memorial College Scholarship Fundraiser and an Earth Day park event. Doors open for board elections at 6:30 p.m. with program beginning at 7:00 pm. More information on board candidates is available in our Spring newsletter. CPN annual memberships run from January to December each year. That means that unless you've recently joined or renewed your CPN membership, you're probably not a current member. (""Probably"" since some people pay several years in advance.) Join or renew your membership right now by going to our MemberPlanet site. It's fast. It's secure. It's easy. And annual memberships start at just $7/year (for seniors, students, and the unemployed.)