Proposal to convert first floor of Manayunk Ave. building into an apartment clears civic hurdle

A Manayunk building is one step closer to becoming a completely residential property.

The first floor of 4134 Manayunk Ave. is currently zoned for commercial use. Brothers Edward and Chris Topolewski want to change that designation in order to create a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment.

The three-story building’s second and third floors are already zoned for residential use. There is also an apartment above a separate garage part of the lot at the corner of Manayunk Avenue and Jamestown Street.

“We think it would fit in nice with the neighborhood,” said Edward of the project.

The family duo presented their proposal during the Manayunk Neighborhood Council’s general meeting Wednesday night – its first since the summer recess.

Nearby neighbors in attendance raised concerns about parking and noise from potentially rowdy tenants.

To allay fears about the latter, Edward told residents that the unit’s lease would only permit two tenants, neither of whom could be college students. The document would also require proof of employment.

That said, Chris added that “if they’re not good tenants, we will be replacing them.”

Addressing the former, Edward said keeping a rented commercial space could potentially bring more traffic to the area. He noted that, ideally, the apartment would be rented to a couple that shares a car.

Though often leery of adding apartments to a neighborhood where renters and homeowners are routinely at odds, civic membership agreed not to oppose the developer’s permit request with the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment.

“In general, we don’t support more rental units, but when we do, in cases like this, we vote non-opposition” said MNC President Kevin Smith.

MNC typically votes to refrain from protesting a project as opposed to outright approval.

A hearing before the ZBA has not been scheduled yet, according to online records.

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