by Kevin Dicciani

The Chestnut Hill Community Association board voted May 22 to support two variances – one concerning a fence at 401 E. Willow Grove Ave., and the other involving a refrigeration unit and upstairs office at the Weaver’s Way Co-Op in Chestnut Hill.

Larry McEwen, vice president for the Physical Division, introduced the first variance for a fence at 401 E. Willow Grove Ave. The variance would allow Laura Stanton, owner of the property, to keep the solid, 6-foot-high fence, even though it doesn’t comply with the city’s zoning code that requires fences to have openings and be no higher than 4-feet.

The board’s support came with four stipulations: The fence must be painted a neutral color; the variance applies only to this fence and not to any future fences that might be built on the property; Lucas must affirm that the Street’s Department has approved the fence so it meets the requirements of the site triangle code, which requires that motorists be able to see clearly around corner properties, and, lastly, Lucas must not do anything to prolong the natural life of the fence.

The second variance included two items about Weaver’s Way Co-op. The first was a proposal to install a one-floor, 159 square foot refrigeration unit in the side yard of the property. It was refused by the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections because it extends the existing use of the co-op and exceeds the 2000 square foot gross floor area restriction.

The second item pertained to a storage shed and second-floor rear office space on the co-op’s property. The second-floor office space, built in 2009 but never legalized, was proposed to L&I, which referred it for further discussion because the extension of the property was not consistent with the terms of the variance or the zoning code.

The board voted unanimously to support the variance under three conditions: The dumpsters in the parking lot will be moved or replaced; the storage shed will be painted to match the other shed currently on the property, and the parking lot will be cleaned up and, after six months, if the variance is not approved, Weaver’s Way will handle its own trash removal.

Ralph Pinkus, an attorney for Weaver’s Way Co-op, said the co-op is seeking to make these changes because of the increased popularity of the store. He previously said that the co-op was a “victim of its own success.”

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