At a 10th City Council District open house for the Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission, Northeast Philadelphia residents thought certain aspects of the code rewrite would negatively affect their neighborhoods, while other parts would be beneficial. Northeast residents were especially unhappy that the reform discussed legalizing the practice of converting single-family homes into duplexes or triplexes, often with rental units. This is known as accessory dwellings and is a common phenomenon in neighborhoods like Fox Chase, Bustleton and Somerton.
Pat Cantwell, the treasurer of the Somerton Civic Association, was especially irritated by the proliferation of accessory dwellings on her blocks. “The conversion of houses into apartments, and duplexes into triplexes affects parking, which is already bad in our neighborhood,” said Cantwell. The president of her civic association, Domenic Ragucci, elaborated by saying accessory dwellings in basements is a serious problem in Somerton.
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