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Dispute over home pits developer vs. residents

Determined to keep multifamily housing out of its neighborhood, a group from Wissahickon, Pennsylvania, has become embroiled in a real estate dispute with a property owner.

The citizens' organization that represents Wissahickon has filed paperwork in an attempt to stop the owner from renting his Rochelle Avenue home to more than one tenant. He plans to rent it to three parties.

This will be the second time that the community group has taken the property owner in front of the developer to the Licenses and Inspections Review Board.

The man bought the home after the longtime resident passed away. After the man's heirs sold the home, the city issued the man a rental license. The city wasn't backed by the law when it issued its first challenge, contending to the group, and later the Zoning Board of Adjustment, that the house should not have multifamily zoning.

The attorney representing the man said the man has the right to split up his properties and rent them. The attorney also said that the man will produce a beautiful triplex, complete with popular features such as granite countertops and hardwood floors. These features, he said, will bring youthful professionals into the community, he said.

It is great for a community when developers want to put money into revitalizing a street, especially when starting with improving a home. While it makes sense that the developer will want to maximize his rental income and therefore rent the house to as many tenants as possible, the developer needs to be sensitive to residents' concerns, such as too many cars being parked at the home.

At the same time, the existing neighbors need to be comfortable with the changes, and the two sides should work together the best they can to come up with a decision that all parties agree to. Improvements made to homes always are good things in a neighborhood.

Source: Roxborough Patch, "Wissahickon Civic Fights New Battle on Rochelle Ave.," Sam Fran Scavuzzo, Nov. 26, 2012

1 Comment

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