CPN Zoning Committee Support Letter for 5007 Cedar Avenue (Ahimsa House)


May 5, 2019

Frank DiCicco, Chair

Zoning Board of Adjustment

1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd. 11th Floor

Philadelphia, Pa. 19102

Re: 5007 Cedar Ave

Calendar # 36562

Dear Mr. DiCicco,

Cedar Park Neighbors (CPN) supports the application of Bryan Suchenski for the following temporary 2 year variance with the provisos listed below:

For a three (3) family dwelling in an existing three story semi detached structure

CPN held two public meetings with community residents and other local RCOs to review the proposed variance. The owner of the house operates a community-based outreach center in the first floor of the house, known as Ahimsa House. Ahimsa House offers various classes that are open to the public, performs food preparation, and distributes food to those in need.

At the March 19th meeting, many neighbors commented that there is a need in the community that Ahimsa House is serving; however, many neighbors also expressed concerns about the increasing scale of the operations that are being conducted in a residential block not zoned for this type of activity, and in a building zoned as a single family home. The owner, Margaret Ferrigno and her attorney, Bryan Suchenski, listened to these concerns from neighbors and the zoning committee members. At a second community meeting on April 16th, Ms. Ferrigno and Mr. Suchenski presented a set of provisos that they were willing to agree to, in order to limit the impact of Ahimsa House on near neighbors, and to provide for the safety of those who attend classes and other functions there.

The following provisos suggested by the owner of Ahimsa House and approved by the community are:

  • Ahimsa House activities and/ or other community outreach activities will only occur between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

  • No class or gathering will exceed 15 people

  • All exits will be labeled in accordance with the fire code

  • Food handling and temporary storage of food may occur provided:

    • At least one Serve-Safe certified individual is present on the property during food handling

    • Comply with food storage safety rules and regulations of the Philadelphia Code

    • Use of kitchen and/or storage space is strictly for non profit use

  • All activities will be managed by a legally recognized non-profit entity

  • The above provisos are limited to the current owner, Margaret Ferrigno, and only while 5007 Cedar Ave. is occupied as Ms. Ferrigno’s primary residence. The above provisos do not transfer to any subsequent owner(s) and do not apply to a non-owner occupied rental property

Forty-one people were present at the April 16 community meeting, including four members of the CPN zoning committee and two members of two other RCOs. The vote was 16 in support to 9 against. As per CPN policy, anyone associated with property requesting the variance is not eligible to vote, nor are residents who do not live within CPN boundaries. Attached are the sign in sheets for the April 16th meeting for reference. [Sign-in sheets omitted from website for personal information privacy.]


Shawn Markovich

Cedar Park Neighbors zoning committee



Bryan Suchenski, attorney

Timothy Cooper for Councilwoman Blackwell

City Planning Commission

Zoning Board of Adjustment

Garden Court Community Association

Kingsessing Spirit

Community Zoning Meeting for 51st & Baltimore

5050 Baltimore Avenue - Final 3D Rendering.jpg

Cedar Park Neighbors invites you to a Community Zoning Meeting on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Calvary Community Center at 48th and Baltimore. Please use the entrance on Baltimore, small side door to left of WPMF signage.

The proposed project is to create two lots from four (4) existing lots (5046, 5048, 5050 Baltimore, & 739 S. 51st) for the erection of an attached structure (maximum height not to exceed 38 feet):

  • For use as a daycare center in Space A on the first floor – this use is allowed by right

  • For use as a group practitioner on the first floor/basement – this use will require a special exception

  • For ten (10) residential units on the cellar through third floors on parcel E – allowed is 6 units by right

  • For an existing dwelling unit on parcel F

These lots are zoned CMX-2 requiring commercial on 1st  floor along Baltimore Ave and 51st St as well as within the 1st 30' of building depth. Open area required is 20% (proposed 4%) and rear yard required is 9' (proposed 3'8").

 Please come out to see the proposed plans for this project, and to voice your opinions on this proposal. If you cannot attend this meeting and wish to comment on any of these, please contact CPN at zoning@cedarparkneighbors.org or 267-BALT-AVE (267-225-8283).

Please come out and be informed!

September Community Zoning Meeting

806 S. 47th Street

806 S. 47th Street

Cedar Park Neighbors invites you to a Community Zoning Meeting on Tuesday, September 18th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Calvary Community Center at 48th and Baltimore (entrance is on Baltimore Avenue, small side door).
We will be reviewing three (3) separate projects:

  • 7:00 PM 5038 Cedar Avenue The application is for the erection of a semi-detached structure for use as a single family residence on a currently vacant lot in a block of primarily 3-story twins.  The owner is requesting a variance on the side yard dimension and on the parking requirement.  Required by code is an 8’-0” side yard; proposed is 3’-0”.  Required by code is one accessory parking space; proposed is none.  Existing zoning is RSA-3, Residential Single-family Attached.
  • 7:30 PM 806 South 47th Street The first floor tenant space requests approval for a special exception.   Proposed in this space (formerly used by a local plumber) is a self-service pet washing space.  The existing zoning is CMX-2, Neighborhood Commercial Mixed Use, which allows for commercial use on the first floor; however, this is considered “animal service” and so a special exception is required.  The residential use above will remain untouched.
  • 8:00 PM 919 South 51st Street The application is for the provision of two parking spaces at the rear of an existing two-family residence.  Accessory on-site parking is prohibited in this zone unless it can be accessed from a shared driveway, alley, or rear street. Existing zoning is RM-1 Residential Multi-Family. 

Please come out to see the proposed plans for all of these projects, and to voice your opinions on these proposals.  If you cannot attend this meeting and wish to comment on any of these, please contact CPN at zoning@cedarparkneighbors.org or 267-BALT-AVE (267-225-8283).

Community Zoning Meeting for 928 S. St. Bernard

928 S. St. Bernard.jpg

Please join us on Wednesday, July 25th at 7pm at Calvary Community Center. Calvary is located at the corner of 48th and Baltimore Avenue, use the small side entrance on Baltimore Avenue. The developer will present their plans for the lot and answer questions.

The proposed project is a new construction 2 family building with 0 parking spaces. The proposed 2 family building is prohibited in RSA-3 (which only allows single family) and the required number of parking spaces is 2.