The building project proposed by the Bowman Properties for the former Magarity Ford dealership site at 8200 Germantown Avenue is in a “holding pattern”, according to Chestnut Hill’s Development Review Committee (DRC) co-chair Greg Woodring at a meeting Tuesday evening. Woodring reported to the ten people in attendance that Bowman Properties’ President, Richard Snowden is currently out of town and that the developer is “restudying plans”. It was also disclosed that, to the committee’s knowledge, Bowman Properties has not yet presented any zoning or ordinance change requests to City Council.
The DRC noted that it had provided Bowman Properties reports from the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) subcommittee’s findings and recommendations. The subcommittee was created this summer to identify and assist in resolution of issues with the proposed project’s design. Another meeting to discuss the proposal had been tentatively scheduled for next week, but Woodring suggested postponing the meeting until Snowden returns and Bowman Properties is ready. “No concrete decisions will be made without him [Snowden].” Woodring emphasized. “I don’t have any update beyond Bowman thought they were going to come back with a set of plans next week.” Woodring explained. The committee co-chair prefers to wait in the event Bowman Properties introduces new designs.
Woodring declined to comment further on the concerns involved with the project and stated, “We may be looking at something that’s new. We don’t know what’s coming back”. He speculated that there would likely be no further action taken before the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) board until December and acknowledged that “by then we may be out of step with City Council’s agenda”.
The Bowman plan
The original proposal is for a five-story building along Germantown Avenue with retail stores at street-level, fourteen condominiums in the upper levels above the retail space, a Fresh Market grocery store in an extension to the west, and nine townhouses along Shawnee Street in the rear of the property.
Neighborhood and subcommittee concerns include building size and traffic patterns.
“I believe that the delay is a positive sign, and I hope many good things come out of it.” Woodring remarked, adding that he also believes “Bowman Properties is revisiting the proposal with the intention of addressing some of the neighbors’ concerns and some of the committee’s concerns.”
New Happy Nail, Inc., 7630 Germantown Avenue, presented a redesign of its proposed storefront signage. Despite a language barrier between the Asian proprietors and the committee, it was recommended that a temporary sign such as a banner be utilized until determination of original signage standards for the shopping plaza can be brought to the Aesthetics Committee with a redesign. New Happy Nail anticipates opening for business next month.
A vote of approval on condition of Historical District Advisory Committee review of past variances was issued to Legacy Office Park, 7811 Germantown Avenue, for commercial use of the second floor. Approval was also granted for use of the second story as office space to 8612-14 Germantown Avenue, site of Hideaway Music and the Chestnut Hill Camera Shop. Sanjiv K. Jain is owner of both properties.
Daniel Piotrowski of the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church approached the committee seeking advice on replacement of the church’s windows. Dating back to 1835, the church is the oldest in Chestnut Hill. Nearly all of its windows are inoperable, and in varying states of disrepair with some being boarded up. The committee advised guidance from the Historical District Advisory Committee (HDAC).
Landlord George Thorne sought advice from the committee on zoning compliance concerning his property at 7905 Ardleigh Street. Thorne purchased a triplex in 2006 but has only recently learned the property is zoned for a single-family dwelling. The DRC recommended Thorne and his lawyer meet with the Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee (LUPZ) with supporting documents.
Patricia Cove, representing the Historical District Advisory Committee agreed to review a variance request from John Landis regarding an addition to the front of his 19th century home on 33 West Springfield Avenue.