Before ground is broken for a new grocery store at Chew Avenue and Washington Lane, a number of Northwest community organizations would like to know considerably more than they do now about just what that ground will be broken for.
That was the message from Derek Green, chair of East Mt. Airy Neighbors’ Housing and Land Use Committee, at last night’s EMAN board meeting, its first of the 2012-13 program year. The proposed store would be built in Germantown on the border of East Mt. Airy.
“The developer didn’t have the perspective that he needed to have a community buy-in,” said Green, and so details have been virtually non-existent about the new store, a Bottom Dollar Food supermarket that he said is planned for a vacant lot at Chew Avenue and Washington Lane that was once occupied by a gas station.
To get more information, Green said, representatives of a number of community organizations will meet with the developer this evening, September 12, at a location on the 6200 block of Chew Avenue, close to the corner where the store is planned. In addition to EMAN, organizations represented there will include Mt. Airy USA, the Chew and Belfield Neighbors Association, the Cliveden Hills Association, and Awbury Arboretum, which borders the site. “We’ll see what they’re proposing tomorrow night (9/12), ” said Green.
According to its website, Bottom Dollar Food is a discount grocery chain that operates 23 stores in Pennsylvania (including four in Philadelphia), eight stores in New Jersey and three in Ohio. It’s a division of Delhaize America, which operates 1,500 stores along the east coast. In addition to Bottom Dollar, Delhaize chains include Food Lion, Harveys, Hannaford Supermarkets, Reid’s and Sweetbay Supermarket.
Green said that while the name of the chain, Bottom Dollar, might be characterized as “unfortunately chosen,” according to what information he did possess the chain was a “cut above” some other discount food stores. But he emphasized that little was really known yet. “We’ll see what they’re proposing tomorrow night,” he said.
Other EMAN business
EMAN Board President Kent Reichert opened the meeting by saying, ‘The big issue right now is voter ID and what we can do about it.” To that end, he said, EMAN has formally registered with the PA Voter ID Coalition, headquartered at 310 West Chelten Avenue in Germantown. “If there are any volunteers in the community who’d like to help get the word out, call EMAN,” he said. “And if there’s anybody in the community who wants to be a representative at a polling place, they should call us.” EMAN’s phone number is 215-242-4170, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The PA Voter ID Coalition can be reached directly at 215-848-1283.
Reichert added that a retreat for EMAN board members was scheduled for September 22 in order to discuss ideas for a new 5-year plan for the organization.
Finally, developer Christiane Murray of Murray Contractors presented designs for proposed re-construction of a building at 343 E. Gorgas Lane into six apartments. While the site is zoned single-family residential, she said, the 5500 square foot building (built around 1900) had actually been apartments since 1930. Murray has a hearing scheduled with the Zoning Board about the site. Green said that EMAN would distribute flyers to neighbors of the site and would set up a meeting between them and the developers on October 18.