The Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously on Wednesday to support the subdivision and renovation of a property in Manayunk.
Under the proposal, the property lines of a site on the 300 block of Dupont Street would be redrawn, resulting in two lots within the preexisting boundaries.
Lot 1 would undergo the partial demolition of an existing structure, to be replaced by another one-story structure. This lot would include six residential units. Lot 2 would retain its 17 preexisting dwellings.
The ZBA’s approval is necessary to secure financing for renovations according to Thomas Whitt, attorney for the Octavia Hill Association [OHA], the group that owns the parcel.
Whitt related that the lot has been owned by OHA since 1926. At that time, he said 12 structures were present that were thought to be approximately 100 years old.
In the following years, an additional 12 houses were built on the Krams Ave. boundary of the parcel, resulting in 23 total structures on one lot – a non-conforming usage predating the 1933 adoption of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.
Under the proposed renovation, the six residences on Lot 1 would undergo renovation, resulting in two two-bedroom residences and four three-bedroom residences. The three-bedrooom residences would have three floors with dormers on the top floor. All are designed for single-family use, and would have basements and outdoor patios.
“Our view is that we should be entitled to do this – we already have pre-existing legal rights,” said Whitt, referencing the relevant historical timelines.
In addition, he expressed that with fewer dwellings per lot, the proposal would adhere more closely to zoning guidelines.
“It’s closer to conformity,” said Whitt, invoking his perception of Licenses and Inspections “goal” of a 1:1 lot-to-residence ratio.
Tyrone Martin, representing 4th District Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.’s office, indicated that Jones is in support of the project.
The Central Roxborough Civic Association indicated in a letter that it does not oppose the proposal.