Plans to bring a Subway franchise to Cedarbrook have been indefinitely suspended after the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) denied a special exception for the sandwich shop last week. A hearing on the matter was held in early July.
Renovations to transform a 600-square-foot former auto garage into a Subway sandwich shop on the premises of a BP gas station at 8301 Stenton Avenue began early this year. Work was stopped by the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) in February because of a lack of proper permits.
Now that the ZBA’s verdict is in, Rawley Shelton, territory manager for Philadelphia Subway Development, LLC said the organization and franchisee, Vijay Patel, will regroup to decide what steps to take next.
“I’m not sure what this means for the project,” Shelton said.
The project was strongly opposed by Ninth District City Councilwoman, Marian Tasco, and members of the Upper East Mt. Airy Neighborhood Association at the ZBA hearing.
“It was quite an emotional day. They plucked our heartstrings,” said Shelton.
Shelton said other Subway franchises in the territory did not meet with neighborhood resistance, adding that residents made it clear the franchise itself wasn’t the root of their concern.
Residents’ chief concern about the proposed franchise is its location, which sits at the busy intersection of Stenton and Mt. Airy Avenues. The corner has existing issues with traffic and parking congestion.
Neighbors fear that adding a Subway shop to a property which already has multiple uses (gas station and convenience store) would worsen the congestion.
The commercial property has also has the reputation of being a bad neighbor, including non-compliance with a 2004 proviso drawn up to remedy numerous quality of life concerns.
The property’s past history and the potential impact the new Subway franchise could pose on quality of life were key factors in Tasco’s decision to support the opposition.
It is crucial that a business show interest in the community as well as its own profits, said Marion Johnson, legislative aide to Councilwoman Tasco, who attended the hearing on her behalf. Tasco’s office welcomes businesses that will add to a neighborhood’s quality of life, not take away from it.
“We look at what kind of neighbor you’ve been all along. That’s the bottom line,” Johnson said.