Zoning Board ruling a mixed bag for Chelten Plaza developers, protesters

Opponents of the planned Dollar Tree store in Germantown got word of an eagerly-awaited decision from the city Zoning Board of Adjustments late Tuesday, but the ruling is a mixed bag.

The zoning board denied the appeal filed by lawyer Yvonne Haskins seeking to revoke Pulaski Partners’ building license for retail spaces at the Chelten Plaza shopping center. But there are several conditions, including a directive to send the case back to the Department of Licenses and Inspections for further review based on evidence Haskins presented at the Sept. 28 hearing.

The basis of Haskins’ argument was that the zoning board erred in issuing developer Pat Burns a permit for a “grocery store,” because Dollar Tree is a self-described variety store — a retail use banned under current zoning for Germantown’s commercial corridor.

Other conditions include:

• A new permit must be obtained from L&I within one calendar year;

• All construction must be in accordance with site plans approved by the zoning board; and

• Failure to comply with the conditions would require a new permit application and another public hearing.

At the hearing, attended by several dozen opponents of the Chelten Plaza plan, Haskins submitted details about the North American Industry Classification System, a federal standard used by government agencies to classify businesses by type. Haskins submitted evidence showing that under NAICS guidelines, Dollar Tree fits the description of a variety store, not a grocery store.

Members of the zoning board were unfamiliar with the NAICS standards, and part of the decision issued Tuesday instructed L&I to review both the minutes of the Sept. 28 hearing and the material Haskins submitted into the record.

Stay tuned to NewsWorks on Wednesday for a complete report on the latest developments in the Chelten Plaza case.

Contact Amy Z. Quinn at azquinn@planphilly.com

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