Auto-related businesses at the forefront of Upper Holmesburg’s concerns

Auto-related businesses were the focus of last night’s Upper Holmesburg Civic Association meeting, with zoning issues being the highlight of the 90-minute gathering.

Zoning Officer Paul DeFinis began the zoning portion of the evening with 8301 Torresdale Ave., whose occupants are seeking to legalize the many auto-related businesses in the industrialized area.

Residents expressed concerns about tenants of the property running car detailing or spay painting operations, and one resident in particular said the businesses in question “can’t be far enough away,” adding that said businesses should move to New Jersey.

DeFinis said he lives nearby, and “personally believe [the businesses] are far enough back from the street” that neighbors won’t smell fumes, while one tenant explained the occupants have “always tried not to interfere with the neighborhood.”

In the video below, a lawyer for the occupants of 8301 Torresdale Ave. explains the property’s history and the need for a zoning variance.

After much discussion and a vote among the members, it was decided the UHCA will send a letter of nonobjection to the zoning board, though the ultimate decision is up to the city.

The meeting then spiraled into complaints about several non-complying auto-related businesses along Torresdale Avenue. DeFinis and UHCA President Stan Cywinski urged residents to document the violations they see. Cywinski said, L&I cannot take action against an illegally operated business unless there is specific evidence. If an L&I employee does not see a violation during a visit, no action can be taken.

Such evidence can include photos, videos and logs.

Also at last night’s meeting…Sen. Mike Stack is scheduled to appear at next month’s meeting, and a representative from Recycle Bank will visit the UHCA in the coming months.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.