Councilman Jones’ assistant announces plans for a district office in Roxborough

Members of the Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association convened Monday night to speak about updates to several development projects occurring in their neighborhood.

In addition, Joshua Cohen – the newest member of 4th District Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.’s staff – was present to introduce himself and relate plans for a new district office in Roxborough.

Plans for a 4th District office

Cohen, special assistant to Councilman Jones, said that plans for a district office are being discussed for Roxborough at the intersection of Ridge Ave. and Hermit Lane, opposite Custard and Cakes Creamery.

While Cohen admitted that previous attempts for a district office did not come to fruition, he believes that this attempt is likely to succeed, as a result of increased resources stemming from Jones’ recent elevation to Council Majority Leader.

The implication for NW Philadelphia residents will be immediacy of access.

“You won’t have to come to City Hall anymore,” he said, “to meet with your councilman or (his) representatives.”

Cohen is a familiar face in the civic milieu – a Roxborough resident, he is the former president of the Wissahickon Interested Citizens Association.

Present for three years of Jones’ first term, Cohen returned to the Councilman’s staff last week after a hiatus, during which time he ran unsuccessfully for Democratic nomination to the 194th State Legislative district.

While he admits that his “heart is in the 21st Ward,” he’s looking forward to serving all 4th District residents.

“I want to make sure neighbors have whatever they need from city government,” he said.

Ivy Ridge update 

Providing an update to an ongoing development project at the Ivy Ridge Assisted Living site, WNCA postponed a vote pending municipal review.

Andrew Bantly, President of WNCA, said that documents further defining the project were recently submitted to WNCA for consideration by Stephen Goldner, developer of the Ridge Ave. project. 

However, Bantly observed that Goldner must meet with the City Planning Commission [CPC] and the Zoning Board of Adjustment [ZBA] before civic approval is obtained.

Furthermore, Bantly said that approval from the Roxborough Development Corporation is contingent upon meeting recommended aesthetic enhancements.

Goldner has a meeting planned with CPC at the end of March.

While Bantly stated that he hopes to help Goldner speed up the process, he is reticent to give the developer blanket approval without support from the city.

Proposals, variances and parking concerns 

With regard to zoning matters, Bantly spoke about other projects currently seeking support from WNCA.

Developers of a building on the 3800 block of Terrace Street – the “Polish Falcon” building – are seeking a variance to the building’s current deed restriction.

The Terrace St. building is being renovated into condos, with seven residences planned for the interior. The developers are looking to alter the deed restriction and install two three-bedroom residences.

Bantly was concerned about the impact of such a modification on parking, as the building currently has nine available spaces.

WNCA protocol is to require one parking space for two-bedroom units and 2 spaces for three-bedroom units.

Bantly suggested that a possible compromise was to allow two of the units to be converted into three-bedroom residence.

The estimated price tag for the condo is approximately $500,000, according to Bantly.

Other zoning matters include a proposal for a boarding house conversion on the 100 block of East Street.

The developers were not present for the scheduled zoning hearing last month, and were subsequently issued a continuance from the ZBA.

The hearing is rescheduled for April 14.

Lastly, a proposal for a curb cut on the 400 block of Seville St. was withdrawn after receiving an unfavorable response from neighbors.

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