Zoning is the hottest craze to hit East Falls since traffic calming. Get in on the thrills of RM2, CMX3, curb cuts, and more at this month’s East Falls Zoning Meeting. Seriously: game-changing presentations
by Grasso (Rivage) and HOW (Redeemer) practically guarantee an eventful evening, for reals.
Heads up, people! This upcoming zoning meeting’s gonna be a doozie: both Rivage and Redeemer projects (detailed below) will alter their immediate neighborhoods quite drastically, plus increase our population density here in East Falls, which’ll affect us all in good & bad ways.
Pros for density extend beyond filling up vacant space currently being wasted on our waterfront. New business seeks out areas with lots of people aka customers for shops and services, bars and restaurants, theaters and art galleries. It’s a simple equation: if we want more places to go and things to do here, we’ll need more residents.
Of course, with more people there are more cars, so traffic and parking are huuuuuuge concerns — especially for folks here who like our “suburban” luxuries like sleepy streets and ample parking. Regardless, modern city planners maintain that prioritizing cars leads to lower property values and thwarted economic development which’ll be another post for another day, but still: growth needs to strike a balance.
Whether we like it or not, building a sustainable community requires change — and it’s coming. Now’s the time to bring out your questions, comments, and concerns. Join your neighbors Wednesday April 20 at 7 pm in Down’s Hall on Philadelphia University’s campus. Hot-buttons on the agenda:
1. HOW Properties’ Town/Apartment Home project in the former Redeemer Lutheran Church at Conrad and Midvale (which includes a school building on Penn Street). Developer Gary Jonas would like to renovate the church into apartment units, and build 5 townhomes on the Penn Street property.
This is Gary Jonas’s second time presenting for this project; after the first time, a group of near neighbors asked him to consider some adjustments to his plan, including:
- Reduce number of units in church from 9 to 4
- Eliminate proposed parking lot on church’s lawn for apartment tenants (keep the trees & green, allow for street parking)
- Move curb cut/driveway access from Midvale to Conrad
- Redesign without fake historical details to differentiate from current homes
He’ll be reviewing the new plan with hopes of moving forward. FYI: HOW Properties is the developer behind the new St. Bridget’s Lofts luxury apartments in the former school building on Stanton Street.
2. Grasso Holdings’ Multi-use apartment complex proposed for the former “Rivage” site at Ridge, Calumet, and Kelly Drive.
UPDATE 4-12-16: GRASSO CANCELLED! EFCC says he doesn’t have his paperwork, so… um…. okay. He’s off the agenda, then. Presenting in May, instead. Hmmmm. Please enjoy our notes on Grasso, below, anyway:
After he presented the first time last October, the Community Council called a special “near neighbors” meeting with the Falls Ridge residents who occupy the apartments above East River Bank on Ridge (across from the proposed development).
Curiously, however, most of the people with concerns and questions at the second meeting were the same folks asking the same questions they asked the initial time Grasso presented. And boy were they huffy that he didn’t have answers — even though he said in the beginning he was just recapping his last presentation.
In fact, every time we’ve seen Grasso present, these certain neighbors have shown palpable distrust and ire at his plans to bring 70 MILLION DOLLARS of badly-needed development to our inexplicably desolate riverfront district.
EFCC’s own recent survey reveals 80% of members are in support of Grasso’s plans as proposed, yet the project remains stalled as vocal and apparently dominant EFCC members demand additional specs, renderings and shade studies (which have already been conducted & approved for an even bigger building proposed here previously, btw).
What’s up with this, East Falls? Why are we letting a small, negative, and quite possibly unstable group of neighbors call the shots for all of us? This is our home, too — if 80% of us (at least) want riverfront development, let’s do this.
Join us Wednesday evening, April 20th to show your support and/or voice your concerns on these
two one very important local project s that will affect all of us in one way or another.
Big changes are coming to East Falls — what a fantastic opportunity we all have to create a neighborhood for everyone! With democratic voting now in place with East Falls Forward, we really can work out new business, neighborhood, & development issues by consensus. Easily, too: vote in-person or online. And FREE, of course.
Where else but on this super-local level can we vote on issues, rather than for people or parties? One person, one vote — one issue at a time. Vote by vote, we can build a community we can all enjoy, that expresses our unique values and interests.
OMG! Guys, I’m verklempt with liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
Speaking of the democratic process, the very next evening after East Falls’ zoning meeting, East Falls Forward will hold this month’s general meeting at BuLogics on Midvale. As usual, the first half hour is all socializing (beer and snacks provided or bring your own to share!) and then we’ll all move over into the conference room to get our zoning on. While we won’t be voting this time around, we’ll go over results from last month and gather info for future decisions.
Hope to see you but if you can’t make it out, no worries you can catch up a few days later with our video recaps. If you’ve got questions you’d like us to ask about Redeemer or Rivage, let us know in the comments below or email us privately. Thanks!
(Forgive this child of the 70’s but anything vaguely democratic brings on the Schoolhouse Rock)