Scratch that: ZBA overrode civic, approved rest of Latona Court

Ealier this week we predicted that a dirt lot would remain for some time next to those sparkling homes at 12th and Latona.

Well, so, maybe, uh … we were wrong.

Imagine one gigantic house there, or six merely large homes with parking for 12 cars
Not a dirt lot for long, after all

Despite the opposition of the zoning committee of the Passyunk Square Civic Association, the Zoning Board of Adjustment went ahead an approved the second half of Latona Court last week. Thanks to a faithful reader for tipping us off (you can too, at

Committee members said they objected to the project because the developer, Gagan Lakhmna, originally proposed a single family home for the site that he had planned to live in. But Lakhmna came back to the zoning committee last month saying he wouldn’t build his own house “but due to personal reasons (which he did not share) he wanted to build 6 more units,” said one member of the zoning committee.  ”So the neighbors thought it was a bait and switch.”

Afterward, Lakhmna sent a rep to the neighborhood to get signatures for a petition in support of the project, several readers told us. One commented on our last post about this that if she would have known it was Lakhmna, she wouldn’t have signed it. “He failed to settle some of his bills during the NoLibs problems, which directly impacted some of our professional neighbors,” she said.

These are the first three houses that we drooled over months ago
These are the first three houses that we drooled over months ago

Meanwhile, a member of the zoning committee told us that their opposition is merely a recommendation that the ZBA can ignore if they choose, and that it happens from time to time. Presumably, the petition had something to do with this time. We’ve tried to reach Lakhmna through the real estate agent selling the properties to find out his side but haven’t had any luck.

But what do you make of this? Is this development good enough to override the civic?

2 thoughts on “Scratch that: ZBA overrode civic, approved rest of Latona Court

  • March 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    As I commented on the old post, the initial rejection was never about what neighbors have been complaining about.
    It was about 2 trivial exemptions on outdoor space and width of the driveway.
    I don’t trust the developer either, and this is clearly a case of bait and switch.
    Unfortunately that’s not a good reason for the ZBA to deny the variance.

  • March 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    This is exactly what I expected to happen.

    And remember, the PSCA zoning committee (not board, so as to distinguish it from the actual ZBA) must reflect the wishes of the neighbors in attendance.

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