A Google Maps image of the Durham Street property a developer wanted to convert to an apartment building.

by Brendan Sample

After receiving backlash from the community over plans to construct an apartment complex on 318 E. Durham St., developer Galman Group has withdrawn its application from the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment as of Dec. 28. This is not a permanent suspension, however, as Galman plans to redraw its plans to better fit the community needs in the hopes of re-submitting them later in the year.

According to Galman’s attorney, Thomas Chapman, one of the main community concerns that Galman took into account was a lack of lot consolidation between the space surrounding 318 E. Durham and the surrounding Sedgwick Station Apartments. Galman previously confirmed that residents of the new complex would be able to park on the existing lot, but neighbors responded by questioning what would happen if the property were to be sold.

As Galman owns both properties, the developers ultimately decided to consolidate the lots to alleviate this concern. Because the initial application only covered the property at 318 E. Durham, however, the owners will need to redo the entire application to account for multiple properties. Though the lots will be consolidated under the new plan, Chapman confirmed that there are no plans to change anything with the Sedgwick Station building.

Though there is no specific timeline for when these new plans will be finished, Chapman estimated that it would likely be several months before a new application would go before the community again. After that, it may not go back to the ZBA until approximately May or June.

Though it is a time-consuming process, Chapman emphasized Galman’s dedication to improving the area, especially given their own stake as members of the community.

“The owners [Galman] are trying to be responsive to what’s been stated to them,” Chapman said. “They obviously aren’t going anywhere, so they want to try to be as good a neighbor as possible and try to be in the community.”

Durham neighbors have been challenging this development for several months now on the basis that a new apartment complex would cause problems with traffic, stormwater management and the overall look of the property, among other issues. At the Dec. 4 meeting of the East Mt. Airy Neighbors zoning committee, 47 local residents voted unanimously to oppose the plans as they had previously been presented.

Brendan Sample can be reached at brendan@chestnuthilllocal.com

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