Medical marijuana, yes; this location, no!

On April 25, more than 300 residents of Mt. Airy filled the sanctuary of Oxford Presbyterian Church for a three – hour meeting to hear from the owners of TerraVida Holisitic Center, Chris Visco and  Adina Birnbaum, who were proposing to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 8319 Stenton Avenue.

We sat quietly and listened respectfully.

Let us be very clear in noting that the people in this community are not ill-informed. We are comprised of working and retired homeowners who understand the medical benefits of medicinal marijuana. We advocated for the state legislation and we want access for the people in our community (adults and children) whose quality of life will be improved by this treatment.  Contrary to what some people have assumed, we are in the know.

However, the issues for this community are the location and public safety. The site of this dispensary is in a densely-populated residential neighborhood. Family homes surround this building. An influx of delivery trucks, armored trucks collecting large amounts of cash (this is a cash-based business), and more than 4,000 people per month (a number provided by TerraVida) would be 100% disruptive to this immediate area.

TerraVida’s partners assured us at the outset of the meeting that they valued community input. Although they seemed to strike a unifying tone, they deceived us multiple times.

If TerraVida was interested in meeting with this community, with people who walk past this building every day, then they would have reached out to us before the application was submitted to the state in March. Or, they would have contacted the actual councilperson before the city permit was approved. The owners did neither.

Instead, after the community meeting, one of the owners arrogantly vowed to fight.

Did this mean you were waging a fight against our community? The very community whose comments and concerns you say that you appreciate? A fight against the homeowners who pay property taxes in the city of Philadelphia, a fight with the people who have lived in East Mt. Airy for generations? The people to whom you said, “It is of great importance to include you in the process?”

No, this is not NIMBY. Market Square is in our backyard. No, this is not a narrow-minded response, as we are one of the most progressive communities in Philadelphia. Our track record of advocacy bears this out. 8319 Stenton Avenue, is simply the wrong location. Of the four state-approved sites for our city, this is the only one in a densely-residential neighborhood.

Yes, our quality of life is our number one priority. We have financially invested in this community. It is our home. But the facts are equally as important. And the fact is, the PEOPLE who live closest to this location have said NO.

Now, let’s look somewhere else. Together, city and state officials, local stakeholders, and TerraVida can find a more agreeable location for this operation. TerraVida, do you really care about the people who live in this community?

Carol A. Scott
President, Upper East Mt. Airy Neighborhood Association 

Thomasine Washington
Vice President


Volunteers, sponsors made concert season possible

Our 69th Pastorius Park Concerts (PPC) season finished on 26th July. We’ve packed away our stage, and celebrated our team of volunteers after a wonderful season in our newly revitalized park!

Thank you to all our dedicated, hard working PPC volunteers who make the concerts such an integral part of summer on the Hill: Andy (CHCA membership King) Kite, Bob (The Stage) Rossman, Doug Knauer, Tia Burke, Aidan McLaughlin, Aidan Robinson, Andrea Spilak, Arianna Neromiliotolis, Art Howe, Chris McLaughlin, Craig Currie, Dan Pulka, Denise Chapline, Floramae McCarron-Cates, Francyne Klein, Janet Lippincot, Jay Valinis, John Leonard, Karl Martin, Kathy Gannon, Laura Lucas, Lucie Daigle, Maria Vecchiolli, Mike (Ice Man) Chomentowski, Steve (Sharp Shooter) Feistel, and Steve (MC) Pearson.  Our volunteers work hard, but we have a lot of fun!

We would also like to thank: our CHCA team (Ryan Rosenbaum, Emily Van Sant and Janet Gala); Philadelphia Parks and Recreation; Friends of Pastorius Park; our sponsors Chestnut Hill Community Association and Chestnut Hill Hospital for their generous funding of this years concert series; our weekly sponsors (Market at the Fareway, Merrill Lynch, The Co-op Shop, The Terrace at Chestnut Hill, LoHi Business Consortium, Weavers Way, and Condon and Skelly); McNally’s Tavern, our advertisers, and our friends at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.

Finally, a big thank you to all the wonderful performers who entertained us!  It was a memorable season. We traveled from classical to fire dancers, with many stops in between.  We hope you enjoyed it!  We’ll be back next year to celebrate our 70th season! If you’d like to help us make it an extra special season contact me at

Julie Byrne
Chair Pastorius Park Concerts for Chestnut Hill Community Association

  • Darryl Hart

    “No, this is not NIMBY. Market Square is in our backyard.”
    Is this the new math?

    • Henry

      Darryl, I think you are reading this wrong. What she is saying is… it’s not a hypothetical situation,”market square is already in her backyard”.

      For the record, I’m pro market square and against a marajuana dispenery near a residential area.

    • Darryl Hart

      Welcome to city living. You don’t live in Ambler, right?