WNCA approves Kingsley Court project at former Ivy Ridge nursing home

On Monday, members of the Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association voted almost unanimously to support a townhouse development on Ridge Avenue. 

Under the proposal, 32 twin homes would be built on a 3.2 acre site situated in the 5600 block of Ridge Ave. The 2,200 square-foot homes at “Kingsley Court” would be listed for approximately $325,000, and would include four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and off-street parking.

Support for the development wasn’t unconditional. In response to neighbors’ concerns about privacy, a proviso will be included in WNCA’s support letter to recommend fencing for the rear portion of the lot.

In addition, the Roxborough Development Corporation added aesthetic suggestions prior to WNCA’s meeting aimed to enhance the site’s Ridge Avenue frontage.

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Kingsley Court developer Stephen Goldner was not at Monday night’s meeting, but signaled gratitude to the membership for their support of the plan in a follow-up interview with Newsworks.

Similarly, Goldner said that he would be happy to include fencing into the development, as the benefits of security and privacy measures afforded by it would “work both ways.”

The background 

As reported by Newsworks, Kingsley Court would replace a vacant structure with a troubled history.

Until 2009, it had been the site of the Ivy Ridge Personal Care nursing home, which was shut down due to outcry over living conditions.

Later that year, a man living in an illegal boarding house operating on the property froze to death in the building, which had no heat.

Goldner appeared at a January WNCA meeting seeking neighborhood approval for his plans before proceeding to the City Planning Commission and the zoning board.

His proposal was tabled, allowing Goldner time to finalize plans and address community concerns.

Since then, his property has consistently been in WNCA’s docket, but a second presentation did not coalesce before Monday’s vote.

Last week, the City Planning Commission received its first formal look at the proposal.

CPC staff presented the plan, and suggested a significant alteration – the introduction of a through-street in lieu of the planned cul-de-sac, which would disperse traffic through the neighborhood.

However, in light of opposition to the traffic routing from the developers and the community, the original proposal was approved in its original form.

Asked for his response to the through-street proposal, Goldner indicated concern that vehicular traffic would be a hazard to residents – especially children – in the development.

Next steps  

As reported by Newsworks, the properties are zoned RSA2, which allows single-family detached or semi-detached homes. In January, Goldner said he would seek variances due to differences in lot dimension, setbacks and coverage.

At present, there is no ZBA hearing scheduled. Goldner said that approval of the plans from the Philadelphia Water Department is necessary before scheduling a zoning hearing.

After zoning, Goldner will be able to secure financing and complete the purchase of the property, which is currently under agreement with Rosalind Lavin, the current owner of the property.

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