Stakeholders filled the Leverington Presbyterian Church to the brim on Thursday as all parties came together to discuss the proposal to build a Wendy’s at the corner of Roxborough and Ridge Avenue at the former sight of the Bunting House.
Thru or Bust: Leon Weisman spoke at the meeting. Weisman is from the Wendy’s corporate
office. Weisman said that the site
needed a drive thru to be economically feasible.
Desgin: The current design place the restaurant essentially in the middle of the lot in the middle of what would be the parking lot. Several residents asked the Wendy’s development team if they would consider a more urban and walk-able design adjacent to the sidewalk. The Wendy’s people said they would consider it, but they did not say how seriously they would consider it.
- Traffic: A traffic study of the property is currently being conducted. Traffic engineer Frank Montgomery lives in the neighborhood, and he said that the traffic impact should be negligible. Weisman said that 75 percent of Wendy’s business is impulse business. That means that 75 percent of the people that come to Wendy’s are already on the road when they decide to eat at the restaurant.
- Overwhelming Majority Against: Of the people who spoke at the meeting, only one person spoke in favor of the Wendy’s. She also successfully trolled the audience when she suggested the developer’s next project should be a Wal-Mart. In all seriousness though, the room was mostly against the project with a small contingent for it.
- 1,000 signatures: The lawyer for the development team said that despite opposition at the meeting, the developers had a petition signed by 1,000 people who were in favor of the Wendy’s.
- Why have the meeting anyway?: The developers need a special exception for the drive-thru from the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment. In order to get that exception, the developers have to go before the affected Registered Community Organization (the Central Roxborough Civic Association) and make its case. The zoning board then uses feedback from the community as a factor when it’s weighing its decision about the exception.
- That’s a lot of mumbo-jumbo: You are correct. The lawyer for the civic association, Hal Schirmer, said that the zoning code allows the developers to build a restaurant by right. However, because they want to have take out and a drive-thru there are different rules, and that’s why they need a special exception.
- Will they get the special exception: According to Schirmer, who knows? It’s important that people show up to the zoning hearing to voice their opposition or their support. If the meeting happens, and no one shows up to oppose the hearing board is more likely to grant the special exception.
- When is the hearing: The zoning hearing is scheduled for November 6, at 4 p.m. at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor
- What Next? Nothing can be done until the zoning hearing on November 6. Wendy’s explicitly said on Thursday that they would not build the restaurant without the drive-thru. This puts everything in the hands of the zoning hearing board. The only thing you can do is let the zoning board know whether you support or oppose the project.
One More thing: If anyone posts in the comments under a false name or identity, or if anyone is racist or uses foul language, the comment thread will be closed.