Mayfair residents got wind of some big changes coming to their neighborhood at last night’s Mayfair Civic Association meeting.
The first order of business came from Acting President Joe DeFelice, who announced that former president Scott Cummings has stepped down from his position to attend to personal issues. From there, DeFelice said, the civic association will be dissolved, all assets liquidated and all grants closed. This will all likely happen by the end of the year, he said, and then the civic association will start fresh.
As part of the dissolution of the organization, a piece of land the group owns will be sold back to neighbors. The triangular-shaped lot, which the Mayfair Civic Association has owned for three years, will be sold back to the residents of the 3400-block of Cottman Avenue, the 3400–block of Ryan Avenue and the 7300-block of Crispin Street.
Following the civic meeting, DeFelice held a meeting with residents of those blocks to further discuss the process. Homeowners will be able to buy the lot directly behind their property (on the other side of the common driveway) for $1, if they choose. Following that, they will be able to buy properties adjacent to theirs, provided those lots were not purchased already. Some attendees at the meeting have agreed to purchase multiple lots, and as of last night, 14 lots have been claimed.
As for the remaining lots, some belong to out-of-state landlords who rent, and others to homeowners who don’t want the added insurance cost or an extra lawn to mow. DeFelice suggested to those in attendance that they form a neighborhood association of sorts and acquire the leftover lots as an entity, relieving the homeowners of personal responsibility, but ensuring the properties are in trusted hands. Some neighbors turned down the suggestion, but the group decided to take the next month to discuss with each other and reach a decision. By that time, the lots will have been surveyed, and deeds will be drawn up. If the neighbors cannot come to an agreement, the lots will be sold to outside buyers.
Though some residents are concerned about the added insurance costs, estimates show homeowners will likely pay less than $200 per year for their new lots, and less that $30 per year per household if they agree to acquire the leftover parcels as a group.
In the meantime, provisos have been put forth, restricting use of the newly acquired parcels. They include:
- Owners may construct fences and carports, but no garages
- Lots may not be used for permanent animal keeping
- No buildings of any kind may be constructed
Also discussed at the meeting:
-The city may be moving around police districts, which would affect the Northeast. Currently, the four districts (2nd, 7th, 8th and 15th) meet at Rhawn and the Boulevard. If moved, they would meet at Cottman and the Boulevard (with the east and west boundaries being the river and the county line, respectively), extending the less busy 7th and 8th districts to cover portions of Mayfair.
-There will be no Thanksgiving parade this year, but the John Perzel Community Center may host a celebration for those who usually march. However, the civic association is planning a winterfest, which will include caroling and a tree-lighting ceremony.
-The neighborhood will begin fundraisers for a new playground at Rowland and Vista, the first being an Oktoberfest celebration at SmokeEater’s Pub on Oct. 24. The old playground was taken down a few years ago after a girl fell, but the city has promised to install and maintain a new one if the civic association pays for it. DeFelice hopes at least one phase of the project can be completed in May for the Fallen Heroes 5k run, which ends at the playground.
-The newly formed Mayfair Town Watch will hold a meeting Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. in the John Perzel Community Center, at which time the group will nominate and elect officers and board members.
-The check cashing business at Cottman and Frankford will continue its operation from its new location at Frankford and Wellington, but will not be able to pawn, as it currently does. In addition, the owner will plant shrubs, limit signage and be responsible for general upkeep.
-An Oxford Circle resident who substitute teaches at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia attended the meeting to inform Mayfair residents that fliers and coupons for JAMZ, formerly WOW, are being passed around at the school, encouraging the students to attend events at the facility, which sits between Brous Avenue and the Boulevard at Princeton Street.
The Mayfair Civic Association will hold its next meeting Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.