Central Roxborough Civic Association Meeting Minutes
April 6, 2017
Welcome and Announcements from CRCA President Don Simon
- CRCA and Roxborough Green are both sponsoring cleanups on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 10:00 AM, which means you’ve missed them if you’re just now reading this.
- There is a hearing on the proposed Historic Designation for the Barnes House located by the Custard Stand on Righter/Ridge/Hermit Street. The hearing is April 13, 2017, at 9 A.M. at 1515 Arch Street. The 1850s home served as part of the underground railroad and the property was once owned by the illustrious Levering family. The historic designation is particularly important because the owner wishes to demolish it. Roxborough can’t afford to lose any more beautiful, historic homes!
- The Philadelphia Planning Commission, particularly Matt Wysong, is working with CRCA to get this area re-zoned in order to protect existing properties. The final zoning may go through in late April or early May.
- At our May meeting (May 4th), CRCA will be hosting a candidates night in anticipation of the May election. 3 DA candidates and others have already committed to appearing.
Theresa Manzi from the American Heart Association described a HeartChase day scheduled for May 20th at 10:00 A.M. in conjunction with Roxborough Memorial Hospital. The program is a scavenger hunt-like day of fun designed to encourage healthy lifestyles for teams of 2-5 people.
St. Mary’s Update
Kevin Smith of Manayunk Neighborhood Council provided an update on a bill introduced to City Council by Councilman Jones that would re-zone the entire parcel to allow for multi-family development. At a public meeting on April 7 at North Light Community Center, Jones faced a crowd of over 200 community members who peppered him with questions about why he would introduce a bill that is likely to have seriously deleterious effects on community parking, density and that circumvents the established zoning variance process. At a second public meeting was held at North Light on April 22, and this time the community got to ask questions of the developer and Monsignor Kevin Lawrence of St. John the Baptist (the Archdiocese is the seller of the property). Councilman Jones vowed to pull the re-zoning bill if there would not be parking spaces provided for North Light, but so far that hasn’t happened. The proposed development, all apartments, includes a plan for 132 parking spaces to be leased to tenants for $125 a month. The developer has suggested that he hopes to be able to provide 10 spaces for North Light (inadequate for the Community Center’s needs), but that if he cannot, he will give North Light $125 per space he is unable to provide for them to find parking elsewhere.
Last Tuesday (4/4) there was a Civic Design Review meeting about the developer’s scheme. The CDR expressed some design concerns and asked the developer to come back and present again in 2 weeks (5/2). Because the CDR asked for another meeting, this further delays the presentation of the project to the Planning Commission (now 5/16). However, the CDR is purely advisory and its recommendations to the developer or the larger Planning Commission have no mechanism for enforcement.
In the interim, Councilman Jones has asked Manayunk Neighborhood Council, North Light and the Developer to meet again for negotiations on 4/17, though all prior attempts to get concessions for the community have failed. “The developers offered nothing from Day 1,” said Smith, who believes the Councilman’s bill constitutes illegal spot zoning. More information and updates on how you can get involved can be found at www.saynotojones.com.
Representatives from Roxborough Green and Ivy Ridge Green presented on their projects to make the area more green and strengthen community ties. Ivy Ridge Green hosts “Two on Tuesday” clean-ups on alternate Tuesdays from 6-8 P.M. at rotating sites (Fountain Street Steps, Manayunk Towpath, Upper Roxborough Reservoir, and Germany Hill) followed by drinks and socializing at a local establishment. The next clean-up is Tuesday 4/18 at the Fountain Street Steps. No experience necessary and they provide the gloves, tools, etc.
On the home front, Roxborough Green is working to beautify the neighborhood one yard at a time. Through their connections, they are able to provide durable, native plant materials at wholesale pricing (or less through donations). If you have a yard but don’t know what to do with it, they are happy to gather up some neighbors to do “gorilla planting” for you! This is a great way to get to know your neighbors and get tips from experienced gardeners who can provide guidance on how to maintain your lovely new green space. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dylan from Philly FoodWorks presented on the “online farmer’s market” and provided samples of products available at phillyfoodworks.com. Unlike other online food subscriptions, Philly FoodWorks lets you customize your weekly box. In addition to produce and veggies, they also have ethically sourced meat/dairy/bakery/home products. Because they work with producers from across the U.S. and Mexico, they are able to provide a diverse selection of products. All products are “source identified” on the website so you know where and by whom your food was produced. Food is delivered on Tuesdays, either to your home ($5 delivery fee waived on orders over $75) or to a home on Roxborough Avenue where you can pick it up at no charge. There is no annual fee, and the minimum order is $28. New members can use the code “CRCA CODE” for $10 off their first order and Philly FoodWorks will make a $10 donation to CRCA at the same time.