by Brendan Sample

Despite an announcement from the Woodward House Corporation and the George Woodward Company that the firms would be unable to meet all of the stipulations required by both the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee and Development Review Committee to approve the division of eight Woodward properties into 43, the CHCA board of directors voted Jan 25 to allow representatives from the LUPZ and DRC to give the Woodwards a positive recommendation at their upcoming hearing in front of the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Administration.

The proposed lot redistribution has been a topic of discussion for the LUPZ and DRC committees for several months.

Though the Woodward corporation and George Woodward Company initially agreed to meet specific conditions dictated by the LUPZ in exchange for its support, the groups indicated on the day of the CHCA board meeting that they did not feel they would be able to meet all of the stipulations. Specifically, they indicated that they would not be able to guarantee a restriction on the number of properties they put up for sale every year and the placement of a deed restriction on the properties.

Joyce Lenhardt, vice president of the CHCA’s Physical Division, indicated that despite this obstacle, the LUPZ and DRC are both still hoping to work out a solution that is favorable for both sides.

With the CHCA hoping to continue planning large-scale events over the course of the next year, Laura Lucas, CHCA president, discussed wanting to form a stronger partnership with SEPTA. The CHCA has worked with SEPTA to help coordinate transportation and traffic for recent events, particularly the Harry Potter Festival, and the board took a step toward a closer relationship by inviting Carla Gardner, a member of SEPTA’s Citizen Advisory Committee, to the meeting. While the exact details of this partnership were not discussed at the time, Gardner expressed her enthusiasm toward working with the Chestnut Hill community directly in the near future.

Lucas also spoke about her desire to form a committee dedicated to finding sponsors for community events that would work directly with Anne McNiff, the CHCA’s new executive director. Board members were encouraged to consider joining in some capacity, though nothing was officially established during the meeting.

Discussion also began during the meeting about plans for the CHCA’s 70th anniversary celebration that will last throughout 2018. With this anniversary coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the Chestnut Hill Local, members of the CHCA board have already begun putting together a collection of stories from the Local’s archives to highlight some of the CHCA’s most significant achievements in each decade of its existence. A special 70th anniversary logo is also in the process of being designed, with McNiff taking the lead on that project.

One of the last big events of 2017 was the annual Black and White Gala in October, which raised $10,497, according to Marilyn Paucker, vice president for the Social Division and head of the Gala Committee. Paucker once again congratulated everyone involved with planning the event, and also announced that the first meeting for the 2018 Gala is set to be held on Thursday, Feb. 1, as planning will begin months in advance.

The next CHCA board of directors meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at Blossom Philadelphia, 102 E. Mermaid Lane.