Although Central Roxborough Civic Association members generally backed the plans for Leverington Avenue homeowners to build a backyard grandmother's suite, the question of future renters lingers.
Dan Denham lives at 537 Leverington Ave. with his wife and children. He seeks to build a backyard cottage to house his parents. He needs a zoning permit, which would allow a multi-family use on the single-family property.
"I'm not a developer and I'm not making money on the property. We just have an old home we like, and we'd like our parents to live with us," Denham said.
However, the civic association must decide if allowing another building could entice future renters.
"No one is concerned about your parents, but some people might have a problem with potential future use," resident Kevin Smith said.
President of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, Smith and other neighborhood leaders—through the Coalition of Civics—have undertaken a stance to combat illegal renter properties and potentially slow the uptick in multi-family properties detrimental to the area.
Although the Denhams said they have intentions on staying in Roxborough for the long haul, the civic association must decide if potential future harm counters the project.
Denham, and his father Robert, presented the plan Thursday to civic association members. Robert and his wife are retired, and want independence but also to be able to help with their grandchildren.
The footprint for the backyard cottage covers 493 square feet. The Denhams propose a one-story structure with a loft and a total height of 20 feet, according to site plans. The cottage is set back 88 feet from the existing three-story home. They also propose a three-foot-wide sidewalk to link the driveway and cottage.
In addition to a zoning variance for the multi-family use, the Denhams also need setback permission as its currently under 8 feet. No new parking spaces are planned.
Legally, the Denhams said they could build an addition to the house but prefer not to. In addition to giving their parents space, the homeowners want to preserve the existing trees.
The civic association will survey neighbors and render a decision on the property before any zoning hearing.