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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

GoFundMe created to raise money for zoning appeal of development planned for former Triangle Park space

The triangle-shaped plot of land at 6th, Passyunk and Christian has been a much-debated property in Bella Vista. It was once home to a gas station, but once that ceased to exist, the lot sat vacant for years. Triangle Park, a community green space, was created on the property, but in 2013 was shut down by the lot’s ownerStuart Schlaffman.


More current plans for this location included a mixed-use development with five stories, a ground floor restaurant space and 12 apartments. That original plan was denied by the ZBA, but the developers are making an attempt to move forward with amended plans to that project. Friends of Triangle Park are now working to appeal a zoning permit to block this development from moving forward and potentially make this property a green space again.

From the GoFundMe:

We are appealing the City’s grant of a zoning permit to a developer to build a five-story apartment building and restaurant on the site and we need funds to pay our lawyers immediately.  A very similar version of this project was previously rejected by the City, in January of 2016, for being too tall and lacking open space. The developer has attempted to put roughly the same plan through by using a loophole in the zoning codethat grants bonus height and area with the addition of a “fresh food market.” This exception to the code was created to bring markets to neighborhoods that need access to fresh food. This is a gross misuse of the statute considering these neighborhoods have plenty of grocery stores and the Italian Market is three blocks away. We don’t need more grocery stores, what we need and want is more community green space!

The money Friends of Triangle Park raises through this crowd funding will go towards the legal fees necessary to appeal the zoning permit. This friends group also hopes to raise enough funds to purchase the lot. As of Thursday, April 28, they have raised $2,170 of the goal of $10,000.

We reached out to the developers for more information on the plans, but have yet to hear back.

What do you think? Should this mixed-use plan go forward, or should this lot become a green space again? 

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5 Responses to GoFundMe created to raise money for zoning appeal of development planned for former Triangle Park space

  1. Jon Geeting April 28, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    While I can’t fault neighbors for wanting another neighborhood park, I do fault people who are misleading neighbors into believing this is actually a possibility, and actually asking them to donate money to a doomed cause. The approvals and permits have already been issued for this project. It’s as good as done and construction is going to start in a matter of weeks.

    A better use for a GoFundMe page would be to raise money for a pedestrian plaza for the large, unused space on the actual street north of the triangle on the Queen Street side. The retail storefront will have an entrance on that side, and it would be a great place to put in some tables, chairs, and planters, while helping to calm traffic through that intersection. If done well, that area could become a town square hub for Bella Vista and Queen Village.

    The building is happening. Let’s channel the support for public space in a more positive, practical direction than endless lawsuits.

    • spf5000 April 28, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

      A small public space (like Singing Fountain) would be nice and probably great for community gatherings, but I think if the development plan is legal then a few neighbors shouldn’t be allowed to sue the owner because the owner didn’t make what they wanted on the site. They could have made a neighborhood corporation (like PARC) to purchase the site, but now it’s too late and they’re not organised well enough so they’re scrambling to put together a lawsuit that’ll be dismissed anyway. I agree with Mr. Geeting. It’d be better to raise money for a public input and design process focused on making improvements to the pedestrian experience at 6th, Passyunk and Queen. That intersection stinks and needs crossing signals, crosswalks, neckdowns, furniture and the like.

  2. Alex April 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    “using a loophole in the zoning codethat grants bonus height and area with the addition of a “fresh food market.”

    To me that reads “S Philly Co Op.”

    • Lou_100x April 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

      @Alex, nah, it’s going to be micro-Wegman’s!

  3. 6th and Carpenter April 29, 2016 at 9:51 pm #

    Yeah, let’s keep it as another place for your dog to poop… Great idea.. This is the city not the suburbs, take your green space elsewhere..

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