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Zoning: Extra Parking Lot Approved for Fountain Street Auto

Recent zoning recommendations from local civic groups.

One Roxborough auto repair shop will began an expansion, if a civic group's recommendation holds up.

The Ridge Park Civic Association approved building a rear parking lot to house employee cars and remove vehicles from the congested area near Roxborough High School.

Brian Bishara presented on behalf of the 6501 Ridge Ave. business. He explained they own a grass lot behind the property and would need a variance to change it from residential to commercial.

"We know in that area all the cars can jam it up on Fountain Street. This will get our employees' cars out of the hair of neighbors," he said Thursday.

Fountain Street Auto also promised to plant trees around the exterior as a buffer. In addition, the paved lot is only for employee parking—the dealership tries to avoid storing cars long-term.

Two Different Results for Rental Units

Attorney Bill O'Brien presented two applications Wednesday and Thursday night to the Manayunk Neighborhood Council and Ridge Park Civic Association, respectively, to allow long-term uses to continue on properties that didn't conform to code. Manayunk approved it; Ridge Park didn't.

At 104 Roxborough Ave., Anthony Fulginitti owns a two-family home, which rents to long-time tenants. In the 1990s, the MNC rejected an application to make the first floor into a business, and Fulginitti continued to rent. However, that use was never properly recorded. 

After Fulginitti agreed to plant trees, if possible, Manayunk approved the move to officially make it a two-family home.

In Ridge Park, there was a different story for 525 Fairthorne Ave. That property's owners are attempting to sell what they call a long-time, two-family home to avoid foreclosure. The potential buyer will allow them to stay in the home. However, city zoning says it's only approved for one family.

O'Brien from the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment to present to Ridge Park Thursday. The civic previously announced opposition, as member Patti Brennan said surveyed neighbors appealed the decision. Ridge Park, in addition, said it feared creating a track record to allow rental properties increase in the neighborhood.

On Thursday, Brennan maintained the neighbors' opposition and said O'Brien should have notified the civic to get on the agenda. O'Brien disagreed with Brennan, citing emails that detailed his request.

Ultimately, Ridge Park didn't change its previous opposition, and O'Brien has a zoning hearing Tuesday to settle the matter.

Manayunk OKs Existing Doggie Daycare

Another move in Manayunk to permit a nonconforming use was approved.

Although on paper an existing doggie daycare isn't properly zoned, the Manayunk Neighborhood Council approved a move to make the use permitted.

In the past, the property at 59 Leverington Ave. existed as a kennel. Formerly also Rambo's Ice House, the property now is a daytime dog-watching service operated by Susan Shepherdson since 2010.

However, that use is not legally permissible for the location. Shepherdson learned of the discrepancies and petitioned the Manayunk group for support, which they gave her.

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