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Zoning dispute over residential development

An ongoing controversy is taking place over a proposed residential development at 1901 Lombard Street in Philadelphia. The developers, who wish to build ten townhomes at that location, are seeking variances from existing zoning laws to gain approval of their plans. The variances sought relate to both lot coverage and height, and also involve approval of the subdivision of the existing lot into ten smaller separate lots, one for each proposed home.

The zoning board has not yet issued a decision. The ten townhomes would include eight, 4-story buildings with two, 2-story homes. There would be 20 parking spaces available off-street in connection with the residences, and it is planned that every home would have a roof deck and a green roof.

If current plans are approved, each of the 4-story buildings will be 43 feet tall and planned pilothouses on the top of each of them will tower another 10 feet up. The plan would avoid placing garages for parking in front of the 10 homes; parking would be in the rear of the homes. This was designed to avoid garages that would avoid the street and thereby disrupt the general pedestrian character of the immediate area.

Some residents of the area have expressed a degree of concern about the proposed height of the buildings, and whether neighboring residences will still have adequate access to air and light. Some feel that the building of the development might diminish the value of their own property. One neighborhood resident went so far in expressing his opposition as to say he would move away if the plan was approved, and the project was built.

There are other residents who support the project, however, calling it wonderful, and suggesting that those who don't like it move to the suburbs.

Attorneys experienced in zoning matters can help push through approval for construction, enabling projects to get underway. If you find your project has stalled due to zoning approval, contact a Pennsylvania zoning attorney to learn more about your options.

Source: Philly.com, "Developer seeks zoning approval for 10 homes at 19th & Lombard" Jared Brey, Jul. 25, 2013

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