by Beverly Penn
Correction: The printed version of this letter incorrectly stated that this proposed building is five stories.
Can a person have two competing emotions simultaneously? The answer is yes. I feel both rage and despair as I think about the future of my block, neighborhood and community once a four story multi-family monstrosity is built on the corner of McCallum and West streets. Hortter next year. Some would say that the word monstrosity is an exaggeration of what will be built in this corner. I do not think so. Look for him. It means “something, especially a building, which is very large and considered unsightly; something that is scandalously or offensive. This is the very definition of the proposed project which will be built by Zatos LLC on W. Hortter and McCallum streets.
The plan posted on the property on Monday, November 15 is a four-story multi-family structure with commercial space on the ground floor. This project is what is called “de droit” because this parcel is zoned CMX-2 under the Philadelphia Zoning Code, or Commercial Mixed Use.
No one in our community is opposed to the classification of this parcel. It has been a commercial space for the 30 years that I have resided in this neighborhood and I suspect everyone has wondered what would replace the late Joa Mart Market. However, no one could have imagined a four story multi-family property with rooftop terraces (there are no rooftop terraces at West Mount Airy) that will block out light, air and views for all. close neighbors, will create new noise problems especially during the months when the weather permits the use of roof terraces, and will create a number of anticipated and perhaps unknown problems for the rest of the community (additional traffic jams, traffic problems). increased parking on surrounding blocks as well as for neighbors to the north next to Lincoln Drive, changes in property values).
Anyone who knows this community knows that there are a lot of multi-family buildings here. Within walking distance of this proposed construction, there are likely five to seven multi-family properties. The difference between all of these buildings and the one to come is that each of these structures is built on a fairly large plot with sidewalk setbacks. All of these buildings, many of which were built 50 to 100 years ago, have room for green spaces and allow for a feeling of space and, dare I say it, breathing. This structure will be built on a very small piece of land, only 10,000 square feet, and will be built right to the curb – there is no room for a setback.
There have been a number of changes in this neighborhood over the past thirty years. Neighbors have come and gone, new houses have been built, not always to everyone’s taste but always maintaining the general feeling of the community. Now, someone somewhere in downtown decided that West Mt. Airy should look more like downtown? That we don’t have enough “density” and that we should create more living spaces for more people?
I think it’s safe to say that no one is moving to Mt. Airy, east or west because they want to live in a dense neighborhood. People move here because they want a feeling of suburbia, not urban. They want gardens, trees, flowers, and the ability to see more sun and sky than is possible when you’re in many other neighborhoods. They want places where their children can walk safely to school.
And despite what some people may wish, the majority of people who live in this community own and use their cars. Much of the city of Philadelphia is not accessible by public transportation because although SEPTA is nearby, it is rarely convenient. It doesn’t get you to many parts of town, unless you’re willing to spend an hour or two waiting and getting on a bus hoping the line will get you somewhere near where you are. want to go. Increased density only means more people standing on the regional rail line, and maybe on the H bus, which takes over thirty minutes to get to the Broad Street line and in good weather, assuming you feel like you’re in. comfortable and safe on the Broad Street line. That’s it, we are just taxpaying citizens who have worked to support our community by maintaining our homes, working with our registered neighborhood community organization (West Mt. Airy Neighbors) to ensure our neighborhood remains a community. strong. We support the small businesses that dot our community days.
If my neighbor’s daughter hadn’t seen Zatos’ post on Instagram, we would never have known this construction project was coming. After y and adapt the description of a neighborhood commercial space, fitting into the local architecture.
Why should we, as citizens, have something to say about the future of our community? Because if we don’t, soon it will be someone else’s community and then where will we all live? Will it always be the West Mt. Airy that generations have lived and loved or will it become another place?
Beverly Penn, West Mt. Airy