Feb 25: Preservation hardship updates | renewing Germantown Special Services District | BRT and AVI | awesome diners | remembering Thaddeus Stevens

Good morning and welcome to the working week, Streeters. Here’s your Monday morning Buzz:

On Friday afternoon the L&I Review Board reached two decisions about preservation hardship appeals, reports PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey. In a speedy announcement, LIRB continued the stay of demolition for Church of the Assumption, pending a decision in Commonwealth Court about the Historical Commission’s hardship finding. Carl Primavera, attorney for Assumption’s owners says he will request a bond of the Callowhill Neighbors appealing the case to reduce his client’s liability as the case’s legal proceedings plod forward. And after closing arguments, the LIRB upheld the hardship finding in the case of 40th and Pine, the historic but disfigured Italianate mansion owned by Penn. In this sort of case the burden of proof is on the appellant, so the LIRB’s 2-2 vote tipped the outcome in Penn’s favor. Expect an appeal of this decision in the Court of Common Pleas from the Woodland Terrace neighbors.

Will the Germantown Special Services District be reauthorized this spring? If so some 232 businesses will be asked to pay an additional 12% property tax to cover clean, safe, and green initiatives along Germantown and Chelten avenues. But, the Daily News reports, that a meeting last week revealed still lukewarm support from concerned business owners. Wired Beans Café owner Robert Wheeler, a committee GSSD member, points to other special service districts (Roxborough, Mount Airy) for successes, and reminded attendees at Thursday’s meeting: “We need to keep the Germantown dollar in Germantown…We need good businesses here to keep the shopping here, the money here.”

If Philadelphians voted to get rid of the Board of Revision of Taxes, why is it still alive and involved with AVI? Good question. NewsWorks’ Taxipedia blog explains: After a court battle over BRT’s existence, BRT’s lost its role in assessing properties but retained its appeals function. So when you don’t like your assessment, BRT is the second stop for appeals.

In celebration of the eight Oscar nominations for Silver Linings Playbook, which used Upper Darby’s Llanerch Diner, Uwishunu rounds up the Philadelphia’s classic diners, from the Mayfair to the Oregon, the Melrose to Little Pete’s.

And even though Tommy Lee Jones didn’t win an Oscar last night for his portrayal of Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln. But, as Karen Heller writes, Lincoln marks a win for historians interested in resurrecting Thaddeus Stevens’ legacy as one of America’s great abolitionists and lawmakers. 

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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