The proposed construction of a new AAA Auto Repair Center on the east side of Columbus Boulevard at Tasker Street is at the center of a procedural controversy between L&I, the Central Delaware Advocacy Group (CDAG) and the Pennsport Civic Association.
The site was recently home to a former construction company and sits at the entrance of the future Tasker Street Connector, an access “bridge” between the neighborhood and the Delaware River Trail. Both CDAG and Pennsport Civic have issues with the use, location and procedures taken to obtain the proper permits for construction.
PlanPhilly explains how this mess got started in the first place:
Although automotive repair is a prohibited use under the Central Delaware Overlay, L&I on Jan. 2 issued a permit for “new construction for the service and light repair of automobiles, retail sales of travel services and insurance and business offices” at 1601 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. …
While the overlay had been in effect for about seven months by the time that permit was issued, L&I spokeswoman Rebecca Swanson said the date that matters is the date on which the application was filed – June 4, 2013, one day before the City Council Rules Committee voted to recommend its passage to full council. Committee action makes a bill pending legislation, and pending legislation must be applied by L&I, so the application just got in under the wire.
Pennsport Civic has been working with Councilman Mark Squilla and has filed an appeal with the L&I Review Board. According to the PlanPhilly article, Matt Ruben, Chairman of CDAG said, “To me, it’s a no-brainer; L&I should revoke the permit.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic hopes to start the project sometime in the spring. Estimated at around $3 million, the construction would look to employ “dozens” of union building trade worker and bring 25 permanent jobs to the site.
With Eric Blumenfeld looking to develop an “entire city” just up the road a piece combined with the progress at both Pier 53 and 68, this situation is going to one of many story lines to follow along with this summer as development ramps up along the Delaware waterfront.
- James Jennings is the founder of the blog Pennsporter — a site dedicated to exploring the neighborhood from Washington to Snyder, the Delaware to Fourth.