CHCA Executive Board mulls yoga studio’s move to West Willow Grove

Up for discussion at the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s (CHCA) most recent Executive Board meeting was a last-minute concern recently raised about Balance Chestnut Hill’s plans to move to 18. W. Willow Grove Ave.

Richard Snowden, a prominent neighborhood landlord, recently took issue with a driveway off of Germantown Avenue that leads to the rear of the property – owned by Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners – that Balance wants to fill.

Senior Care, also located at the Iron Stone property, is an adult daycare facility accessed through the same driveway.

SEPTA mini-buses that come and go to Senior Care have had difficulty maneuvering inside a small courtyard that caps the driveway, leading to some damage to Bowman-owned buildings, according to Snowden, and railings and bumper posts installed by Iron Store to protect nearby buildings.

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At the CHCA Board of Directors’ last meeting in March, Snowden requested that Andrew Eisenstein with Iron Stone make a one-time lump sum payment to cover past damages to Bowman buildings and that an agreement be hashed out between the two companies that addresses how to avoid future damages.

Snowden’s complaint resulted in the Board delaying its vote on whether to support the move, which would require a use variance from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustments. The property is not currently zoned to house a gym.

At Thursday’s meeting, CHCA Board President Jane Piotrowski said that both parties have reached out to each other to negotiate terms to resolve the disagreement and that the CHCA “would be a party” to that process.

Although Piotrowski and several other committee members are wholly in support of Balance occupying the location, many said that it was necessary to see where negotiations went first with the full CHCA board before any formal announcements were made.

“We’re supporting Balance contingent upon this agreement,” Piotrowski said.

Eisenstein is preparing to go before the zoning board on April 18. It’s unclear if the move will have CHCA’s support by then. While not necessary for approval, formal support from a community organization typically goes a long way.

“Until I see (the agreement), I don’t know what it says,” Piotrowski said. Without knowing what the agreement will entail, or how the CHCA is involved, the organization is playing a waiting game.

Eisenstein has pledged to try his luck before the ZBA with or without CHCA support.

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