In order for the developers of the proposed four-story complex of apartments and retail at 9th and Wharton to move forward, they needed approval from the zoning board for the property to be rezoned from single-family to mixed-use.
The project, which has been met with much opposition from neighbors, was denied the variance change by the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday.
Some of the neighborhood’s main concerns regarding the project were based on the lack of parking in the already-busy area with Pat’s and Geno’s always drawing a crowd, making parking difficult for residents who live nearby.
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The vote underscored the appointed panel’s enduring power, even as Mayor Nutter has made zoning reform a priority and has pushed the Planning Commission to craft comprehensive surveys of the city to recommend changes in land use and zoning.
In opting to keep the property zoned residential, the board, led by onetime Nutter aide Julia Chapman, disregarded that a week earlier, the Planning Commission recommended that the empty lot – zoned for a church long ago demolished – be rezoned for apartments and retail.
Lawyer Brett Feldman had made the case that the lot was the only nearby property fronting Ninth that lacked a commercial zoning designation. It is a stone’s throw from the Italian Market and sits across from open-at-all-hours Pat’s, and Geno’s Steaks also is just a few paces away.
For now the property is being used for a pop-up garden, but what does the future hold for this lot?