Residents of the 600 block of Gravers Lane in Springfield Township may have a deal to end the parking practices of their neighbor.
Residents of the 600 block of Gravers Lane in Springfield Township may have a deal to end months of bickering over the parking practices of their neighbor, Christine Visco, founder of the multimillion medical marijuana distribution business TerraVida Holistic Centers.
Visco – dubbed the “Queen of Cannabis” by the Philadelphia Inquirer when she sold her business in 2018 – has more than 20 businesses that list her home as a mailing address, a fact which neighbors say suggests that she is illegally running a commercial enterprise on the residentially zoned street. They say the many cars that routinely park on the street in front of her house, which does not have a sidewalk, block their driveways and make it unsafe for pedestrians.
In January, the township responded to neighbors’ complaints by citing Visco for a zoning violation. Last month, township officials drafted an agreement they hope will settle the matter.
The settlement, a copy of which was provided to the Local by one of the residents, states that Visco will limit the number of cars parked on the street to three in exchange for neighbors taking down the anonymously created website graversneighbors.com, which highlights their opposition to the parking situation.
The document does not specify whether Visco was issued any fines or penalties for violating the township’s regulations about operating a business in a residential neighborhood, which forbids the “outside appearance of a business use.”
“There shall be no outside appearance of a business use, including but not limited to parking, signs or lights,” the code reads. The code does not specifically prohibit Visco from having businesses registered at her address.
No neighbors agreed to speak with the Local on the record, citing the level of hostility associated with the dispute. But the website posted an update on July 9 that said neighbors were unhappy with the settlement, and deciding how to proceed.
One neighbor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they don’t know who runs the website and taking it down seems unenforceable.
“How can they make an agreement over which something the township has no control?” the neighbor said. “That website is a little creepy, but there’s no copyright infringement, and there's no lies.”
The spat began earlier this year when the township responded to neighbor’s concerns by issuing a zoning violation notice to Visco for potentially running a business out of her home – in a neighborhood zoned only for residential use.
At that zoning hearing, Visco’s neighbors said they’d witnessed people who appear to be employees park their cars outside Visco’s home around 9 a.m. and leave around 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Visco, who says she has stage four cancer, has denied this allegation. Neither Visco nor her lawyer, Daniel Rivlin, responded to a request to comment for this article.
However, Rivlin previously told the Local that Visco thinks her neighbors “have been unhappy that someone who has owned and continues to legally own interests in cannabis-related entities moved in.”
Springfield Township Manager Michael Taylor said the township is “trying to do the best we can to address the concerns that [neighbors] had, particularly with parking.”
“Typically these types of things can be accomplished without the township’s involvement, but we got involved because of the allegations of business activity,” Taylor said. “Now we’ve come to an agreement that will help address concerns on both sides.”
For now, however, it seems that resolution depends upon whether or not neighbors give up the website – which Taylor said makes addressing their concerns “difficult to achieve.”
“There’s a bit of rhetoric there,” he said, adding that he also doesn’t know who runs the website. “We’re making a good-faith effort to take it down.”
The website was still active as of last week.
“I can’t predict into the future how it’s going to work,” Taylor said. “But this is the quickest way to try and return normalcy to the neighborhood.”