by Wesley Ratko

One request for a zoning variance was approved and another continued by the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Development Review Committee despite the absence of several members at its July 19 meeting

The first was an application for a zoning variance at 8413 Germantown Ave. to convert an existing three-story garage and storage building at the rear of the Jacob F. Ruth funeral home property into a single-family dwelling.

Property owner Joseph Thomas received unanimous approval from the DRC for his application, which, if finally approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, would renovate the second and third-floor portions of the building to provide a single-family living space over a garage on the ground floor.

Current zoning only permits one primary structure on the property. The renovated building would create a second primary structure on the lot, which is shared by the funeral home.

Thomas presented his case to the DRC in June, and again to the Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee on July 7. At both presentations, he made it clear that all work on the structure would be interior only.

In addition to the support of the DRC, Thomas has also received letters of support from the near neighbors. The matter will go before the CHCA board at its July 28 meeting at 7 p.m. in the Chestnut Hill Library.

The DRC also considered a proposal to hang a free-standing sign outside of the Hirshhorn Insurance Building at 14 E. Highland Ave.

No applicant was on-hand to present the proposal to advertise the services of Pearson Snyder Schoolwork and Tutoring with a 17 square foot sign. Instead, the committee referred to an 8½ by 11-inch black and white drawing of the proposed sign, which, according to committee co-chairman Larry McEwen, had been received only a few hours earlier.

The drawing also included standards for signs from both the Chestnut Hill Community Association and the Philadelphia City Planning Commission guidelines.

Without more information regarding the specific coloring intended for the sign or a rendering that accurately depicted the sign in context with the rest of the building, the committee opted to take no action.