Presidents from two other Northeast civic associations addressed the Upper Holmesburg civic about what they say is becoming a big problem in the area: neglect from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Lou Iatarola of the Tacony Civic Association and Sean McAleer from the Holme Circle Civic Association, shared their neighborhoods’ experiences with the zoning board, as requested by Upper Holmesburg President Stan Cywinski, who said the zoning board needs a change.
“The Northeast is being done a disservice by the zoning board,” Iatarola said. In terms of the zoning board looking closely at oppositions from the association, he continued, “we’re not finding that is the case.”
When a civic association opposes a variance, the Zoning Board of Adjustments is supposed to take the opposition under serious consideration when making a decision, explained Iparola –something the presidents of all three organizations agree isn’t happening now.
Iatarola and Cywinski are unimpressed with the new zoning board, which they said is paying less and less attention to the Northeast’s needs. “No one on the [zoning] board is from the Northeast,” McAleer said. “We have no representation.”
Councilwoman Joan Krajewski has heard the neighborhoods’ calls for help, Iparola said, and has supporting a bill that could refresh the way the zoning board works. The Tacony civic leader also said Councilman Bill Green has proposed a bill, which if passed, would scrap the existing board and start from scratch.
McAleer said he isn’t looking forward to going in front of the new board, though he may have to if Holme Circle’s current appeal is denied. Since May, the neighborhood has been awaiting a ruling from the Court of Common Pleas to find out if the T-Mobile cell phone towers on the 2800-block of Axe Factory Road will have to be taken down. McAleer said T-Mobile installed the towers without approaching the association, and that the towers are “degrading the neighborhood.”
“The Northeast is under attack,” said Bob Hall, vice president of the Upper Holmesburg Civic Association. When it comes to facing the Zoning Board of Adjustment, he continued, “We have to work together for the common good. If we have numbers, we have power.”
Also at last night’s meeting…Sen. Mike Stack has promised to come to an Upper Holmesburg meeting within the next two months…Upper Holmesburg Town Watch is looking for members. You can call Lou Carboni at 215-668-6760…In order to increase membership, the civic association will give $100 to every person who brings a new member to a meeting….The civic association will next meet Nov. 19…A public meeting about new zoning codes will take place Oct. 28 at Lincoln High School.