by Brendan Sample
At the latest Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, two local projects made progress toward getting the variances needed for completion. The projects in question involve six properties owned by the George Woodward Company and individual homeowners on Prospect Avenue planning to make additions.
While the Woodward firm is not seeking to do any actual construction, the properties are being divided into separate lots, and changing the plot lines of every area requires a zoning variance for each one.
Both the George Woodward Company and Woodward House Corporation are involved in this process, as they are two separate branches of the same family. The respective companies are being represented by local attorneys Andrew Miller and Carl Primavera, both of whom were present at the LUPZ meeting.
Miller and Primavera confirmed that while this update does fall under housekeeping, notices will still need to be posted around the properties that may make the project look like a full construction. Both assured the LUPZ that they would be taking measures to directly notify the residents of the Woodward properties that no actual construction will be taking place, as they do not want residents to become overly concerned about something that would not actually be taking place.
Though the LUPZ did have some concerns about protecting the Woodward properties from any potential future construction, the committee members did not indicate any other major concerns about the proposed plans. With the new plotlines set to take effect in the new year, the Woodward representatives will be present at the next LUPZ meeting to continue updating the committee. Miller and Primavera also indicated that they had no indication that the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment would have any problems with the plans in question.
“While the reason for these variances is due to a straightforward need to separately list individual properties that have been recorded with the City as grouped parcels for several decades, the volume of these changes is unusual,” explained Celeste Hardester, CHCA Development REview Facilitator, in an email. “Over 40 properties are involved, collectively owned by both the Woodward House Corporation and the George Woodward Corporation. Because it is such a large application, LUPZ felt that the public should have ample opportunity to be aware of what is being requested, and have a chance to learn about it and respond. LUPZ has requested memorializations of intent regarding some specific properties.”
The other matter discussed at the meeting involved a house on 8718 Prospect Avenue and the homeowners that are looking to add on a studio as well as expand the current garage. The home-owning couple is being assisted in their efforts by Jeff Krieger of Krieger Architects, a local architectural firm. The three of them had already received a refusal for their renovations on the basis that their garage expansion would have exceeded city limits.
“The plans for the new garage, as provided by architect Jeff Krieger, do not indicate features that would constitute a second principal building, including plumbing or adequate space for living, as required by zoning code,” Hardester told the Local. “The LUPZ encouraged Krieger to seek to have the refusal corrected, simply stating it as a non-conforming garage.”
Krieger also confirmed that the construction would look to salvage whatever stone may be leftover from the old garage, as there were some concerns raised over a potential lack of Wissahickon schist in the new addition.
Krieger will also attend the next LUPZ meeting.
Editor’s note: The circumstances of both projects have been clarified since the original version of this story appeared.