by Brendan Sample

At its most recent monthly meeting, the Chestnut Hill Community Association Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee heard from new homeowners hoping to add on a kitchen and master bath to their house on Summit Street.

As with many zoning requests, John and Christy Leonard were given a refusal by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections, but for reasons tied to the history of the house rather than anything regarding the specifics of the proposed additions. The house is one part of what was originally a larger structure, one that was split into two residences in the 1940s by two sisters.

Because of this, the house that the Leonards purchased is officially listed as “irregular” by L&I, and thus any changes to the property have to go through an appeal process.

While the additions will have to be approved by the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment after a review on April 4, the homeowners have already received an approval from the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The house is listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Homes, but received no opposition from the PHC, as the additions will have little or no impact on its outward street view.

The Leonards also informed the LUPZ of their plans to install a lattice and vines between their house and a next-door neighbor. They realized that the neighbor’s view of the house would be negatively affected after the additions, and so they hoped to make that view more aesthetically pleasing so as not to cause any potential conflicts.

All of the information regarding the additions and history of the house, along with copies of communications with the relevant city departments, were provided for LUPZ members to consult. After discussing the project with the Leonards and their architect, Daniel Lloyd, the committee voted unanimously to support the plans without making any changes.

Though the LUPZ’s agenda also listed a discussion regarding another house on Millman Street, the homeowners and lawyers for the property will not be available until April, and so the committee decided to table the dialogue until all parties are available. The LUPZ also continued discussion on potential new members, as the committee is seeking attorneys with zoning experience, particularly someone who lives in the Chestnut Hill area.

The next LUPZ meeting is set for Thursday, April 5, at 8 p.m. at the Chestnut Hill Hospital.