Residents reluctant to support proposed townhomes in Roxborough

The Roxborough community has expressed concern about eight proposed townhomes on the 600 block of Green Lane. 

The intended project, which is being developed by the Galman Group, will also expand an area parking lot to provide spaces for an additional 24 cars.

Many residents say these four-bedroom townhomes will place more pressure on the already existing parking and traffic issues in the area.

Peter Kelsen, a lawyer with Blank Rome LLP, and Bill Kramer, an architect with Kramer/Marks Architects, were on hand at Thursday’s Central Roxborough Civic Meeting at Leverington Presbyterian Church to answer questions and address residents’ concerns.

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“This is an exponential parking issue,” said Alice Bateman, a Roxborough resident who lives a block from the proposed construction. “It is a major concern of the area.”

The plan calls for each townhouse to provide occupants with a one-car garage and a driveway parking space. However, due to the width of the curb-cuts into the driveway of each townhouse, there will only be 12 feet of curb left between the entrances to each driveway.

“You could maybe fit a ‘smart car’ in there,” said Kramer, half-jokingly. He emphasized that the additional parking spaces provided by the planned expansion to the nearby parking lot would offset any overflow need of potential occupants of the townhouses.

“I’m going to be honest with you,” said Kelsen, “there will be a loss of on-street parking. But, Philadelphia Zoning Code requires one-for-one parking—we’re providing two-for-one parking, plus the additional spots in the parking lot.”

Many area residents were surprised to find out how close developers are to attaining building permits, and actually beginning construction. Kelsen said he will go in front of the Philadelphia Licenses and Inspection Zoning Board of Adjustments on Saturday afternoon, and with L & I’s approval, he expected construction to begin this summer.

“I thought this was a preliminary thing,” said Dawn Westerfer, who lives across the street from the proposed construction site. She said that she and her neighbors were under the impression that the property on which the construction is proposed was part of Fairmount Park. “There’s a lot of traffic, and it’s already busy because of Fairmount Park, so I can’t even imagine how it will be.”

“I don’t know what it means for the area,” said Scott Handfinger, another Roxborough resident who lives nearby. “They didn’t seem to have a lot of specifics.”

The CRCA will poll local residents as to whether or not they are in favor of construction, and the poll will be submitted to the L & I Zoning Board.

“I’ll absolutely vote against it,” said Westerfer.

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