Balance fitness studio won the support of a neighborhood traffic committee for its plans to occupy the former Good Food Market building. Probably more significant, there were no neighbors voicing opposition. Business owners Amy Carolla and Aaron Sistrunk received unanimous approval from the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Traffic, Transportation and Parking Committee for the gym’s proposed move to 12 West Willow Grove Avenue.
Together with Andrew Eisenstein, owner of site where Balance plans to move, Carolla and Sistrunk presented their plans to the committee Monday evening. Eisenstein noted that there would only be interior changes to the property. Balance occupies 3000 square feet at its current location and the new site has approximately 5500 square feet of space.
Carolla stated that she and Sistrunk intend to keep their business plan the same and class size is not expected to greatly increase with the relocation. She said their current spinning classroom houses nine exercise bikes and the new location will increase that amount to a total of 15 bikes. The studio is not an open membership gym and primarily focuses on personal training. Sistrunk remarked that the primary goal for the move is improved services for Balance’s existing clientele.
Committee member Bob Previdi expressed that parking may “be a little bit harder on Willow Grove Avenue”, but said he did not feel there were any significant concerns. Carolla admitted that the 8:30 to 9am time slot does present Balance’s clients with parking challenges at its current location.
Carolla emphasized that 75 percent of Balance’s clients live within a mile of the studio and 50 percent of that number walk or bike to the facility. She also stated that most of Balance’s clients live closer to the new location. Sistrunk mentioned that a bicycle rack will be available for Balance’s clients.
“I think it sounds great!” exclaimed committee Chair Tom Hemphill.
Balance will appear again before CHCA’s Development Review Committee and also face a zoning hearing on April 2.
Children Of America DayCare A No-Show
Disppointment was the shared reaction to a no-show by Children of America daycare center. The child care chain was invited to attend and had indicated at a recent CHCA Development Review Committee meeting that a representative would be present. “We’ve been snubbed,” commented Previdi.
CHCA Community Manager Celeste Hardester stated that the committee wished to know what the daycare’s intentions are for traffic and parking considerations. Hardester explained that she received email notification late last week that Children of America had bowed out of the engagement
“I don’t like that response,” remarked Hemphill.
Chestnut Hill resident Peter Yaffe stated that he showed up for an opportunity to know more about the impact the business will have on traffic and parking.
The committee voiced agreement on several concerns, particularly the affect on traffic patterns during drop-off and pickup times. Parking is also an issue committee members feel needs serious attention by the business owners.
Children of America does not need a zoning variance nor committee approval. The daycare center plans to open this summer.
Committee members resolved to draft a letter together with Hardester in hopes of opening a dialogue with Children of America. An invitation to the next committee meeting will be extended to the child care company.
“I just want to ask them some questions,” committee member and traffic engineer Debra Ferraro said.