by Wesley Ratko

The Development Review Committee of the Chestnut Hill Community Association voted unanimously at its March 19 meeting to support an exception to the zoning code that would allow Bone Appetite, a boutique pet store and dog groomer at 8517 Germantown Ave. to add a self-service dog wash area at the rear of the store.

The DRC recommendation will be sent to the CHCA board meeting, scheduled for Thursday, March 28, with the proviso that the building’s owner, Bowman Properties, returns to the DRC for review if a new tenant wishes to continue the same use, and to return with a sign package before posting additional signage.

Representatives from Bowman were on-hand, along with Bone Appetite owner Betsy Olif, to present the modifications needed for the dog grooming service, which include sinks, faucets, and additional plumbing. The special exception permit would expire with Bone Appetite’s current lease.

Olif said there were no immediate plans to post additional signs advertising the service, but said she would return to the DRC with any plans and drawings before posting any additional signage.

The dog wash will keep the same hours as the store, though no new dogs will be allowed in one hour before closing.

“They’ll all be gone by 5:30,” Olif said.

Olif also presented the DRC with certified letters of support from adjacent businesses, for which committee co-chair John Landis commended her.

SCH update

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy trustee Henry O’Reilly appeared for the first time since July 2012 to review progress in the planning and design of improvements to the school’s athletic fields and associated athletic facilities along Willow Grove Avenue.

Several provisos were agreed to by Springside, its neighbors, and the Chestnut Hill Community Association in their willingness to support variances granted last summer.

“Our game plan is to start the tennis pavilion foundation and have that finished by the beginning of the summer,” O’Reilly said, “then roll into the stadium and have that finished by sometime mid-November.”

O’Reilly said the school is working with the Church of St. Martin in the Field and the Philadelphia Cricket Club to extend the sidewalk along Willow Grove Avenue on the Cricket Club side, but no decisions about this have yet been made, pending the Cricket Club’s completion of its own master plan.

O’Reilly presented DRC members with updated renderings of the tennis pavilion, stadium, and bleachers. He noted that the overall height of all the buildings is lower than originally planned.

He also said the building plans will now use less wood and more stone, to “create something that was more in keeping with the character of the Wissahickon.”

Despite the work, DRC co-chair John Landis was disappointed with the changes, saying the older design was more elegant than the proposed changes.

“It’s a very ‘blah’ building with a big metal roof,” Landis said.

Near neighbors Peter and Nancy Martin, who have been involved with the process since last summer, were present but had no specific concerns about O’Reilly’s presentation.

“We just wanted to come and be a part of this,” said Nancy Martin, “because we’ve been involved in other issues before, and we’re in continuing discussion [with them].”

Landis urged both O’Reilly and the near-neighbors to keep the discussion open.

After detailed review and discussion of the many changes to the design, O’Reilly agreed to meet with an architecture subcommittee for further review of the proposed changes to the plans. He also agreed to return to the DRC one last time to review plans for tree plantings and lighting once they have been completed.