Balance fitness relocation backed by CHCA but neighborhood opposition is expected

Balance Chestnut Hill’s move from East Highland to West Willow Grove avenues has the full support of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Executive Board but neighborhood opposition is still expected.

Balance has a hearing before the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustments on Wednesday, March 14 at 2 p.m.  (postponed) A neighbor at a past CHCA meeting vowed to make his concerns directly to the ZBA. Balance does not need a zoning change but is asking for a use variance to operate a gym at 12 W. Willow Grove Ave.

At a meeting last week, members of CHCA agreed that Balance fitness studio, which plans to move into the space previously housed Good Food Market should be supported by the CHCA.

“It looks like as far as committees are concerned, they’ve got the green light,” said Bob Rossman, Vice President of the CHCA’s Physical Division.

The owners of Balance first presented to and won support from CHCA’s Traffic, Transportation and Parking Committee recently.

Executive Board members felt confident that there would be few traffic and parking difficulties. According to board members, those attending classes at the gym in the morning will find ample parking on Willow Grove Avenue when most resident are at work. For those visiting the gym in the evening, parking should be available on Germantown Avenue because most shops will be closed by then.

Balance’s owners have said that a large number of its customers either walk or bike to the gym, which they said would help to avoid traffic issues.

Despite the board’s confidence in the facility, Rossman said he still expects some opposition from nearby neighbors. “There are very difficult neighbors there,” he said.


CHCA has traffic concerns with new daycare

The board also discussed plans to send Children of America Daycare center a letter requesting that the daycare center make contact with the CHCA in an effort to discuss and resolve potential traffic issues that could arise from picking up and dropping off children.

Children of America recently bowed out of a CHCA Development Review Committee meeting in which these matters would be discussed. The daycare center does not require a zoning variance or committee approval, but some CHCA members still felt that the organization was was not acting in its own best interest.

“We don’t want it to be a failure,” said Rossman. “If they’re going to be there we want them to be successful.”

The executive board also touched on the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation’s (CHPF) plan to begin charging for parking at its parking lots. Although not all of the details have been disclosed as of yet, it is certain that kiosks will be installed in the lots to collect money.

Board member Mark Keintz said It was the CHPF’s job to “ration parking” making it necessary to begin charging for spaces and have a mechanism to ensure no one is taking advantage of the situation.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority will be patrolling the lots, Keintz said. Proceeds from parking violations will go to the PPA, while those from the kiosks will go to the CHPF.

The transition is expected to begin in April. “The kiosks have been ordered,” said Keintz. “They’re being programmed as we speak.”


Other business

The executive board held its annual performance evaluation of the The Chestnut Hill Local Editor Pete Mazzaccaro in a private executive session.

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