Roxborough man seeks zoning variance to bring driveway up to code

The Central Roxborough Civic Association considered a proposal for a Levering Avenue zoning variance at CRCA’s monthly meeting Thursday night.

Seeking a zoning variance, attorney Vincent DeFino and architect Anthony Bruttaniti presented a plan to add a curb-cut and driveway to Leonard Bove’s home on the 400 block of Leverington Avenue in Roxborough.

Reason for the variance 

Providing background for the variance request, DeFino explained that for 32 years, Bove had been parking alongside his home on Leverington with no protest from neighbors.

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According to DeFino, personnel from License and Inspections recently, in his words, “stumbled” across the property and issued a code violation for the ad hoc driveway.

Attempting to correct the situation, Bove applied for a building permit and was refused due to spatial requirements set forth by the city.

Bruttaniti explained.

According to Philadelphia code, driveways are required to be 8 feet, 6 inches in width, with five feet of side yard as an “open-air” requirement.

The available area for Mr. Bove’s proposed driveway is only 8 feet – big enough for his car, but not up to code.

In addition, the city requires that the driveway is sufficiently long, such that a vehicle’s bumper can be recessed 8 feet from the street.

A curb-cut with a 6 to 7 inch incline along the sidewalk is also necessary.

Seeking approval from Streets Department and neighbors 

The first order of business was presenting the plan for the curb-cut to the Streets Department for approval.

“This was a major prerequisite before going forward,” said DeFino.

After receiving the department’s approval, DeFino circulated a petition among his client’s neighborhood seeking permission for the driveway.

He collected 42 favorable signatures, paramount among them being Bove’s neighbor who “signed on with no objection,” according to DeFino.

Providing context, DeFino pointed out that there are at least 12 similar driveways in the neighborhood.

DeFino finalized his client’s situation by noting that on-street parking can be dangerous, and that additional off-street parking is not without its positive aspects.

“Accessory parking is not a bad thing,” he concluded.

After receiving the petitions from DeFino, CRCA president Ed Hotham said that CRCA will look into the matter, and will conduct a survey of residents before issuing a recommendation in regard to the variance.

“That’s the way we work,” he stated.

The zoning hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24. 

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