Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fishtown Zoning Meetings: Part Two

The Learning Process

I was a late comer in attending zoning meetings. Much of the reasoning had to do with my own dim view of the process. It's a process that, to me, gives the community very little say as to what and how much can be built. "Building by right" completely eliminates any say or concerns of the community.  The only thing left is whether the community approves or disapproves any variances that developers seek. It also seemed to me that the community seldom disapproved the alleged hardships that the developers create themselves time after time. This in turn could make it too easy for developers to appeal a rejection but even more so to sway the community to vote in their favor.
The best example is density and the ever increasing street congestion created in part by that more elusive parking space. The developers seize this opportunity to seek variances for off street parking. The logic is that they are caring for the community concern and, bless their hearts, are willing to provide a solution.
Am I the only one who sees this situation like a dog chasing its own tail?
Over development creates density problems, so therefore, more variances are needed which in the end creates more density problems, so therefore, more variances are needed which in the end creates more density problems, so therefore, I hope to god you can see the point.
Over development has created a legitimate zoning problem that could  get worst than what it is now. This, dog chasing its own tail, can best be illustrated by the recently  proposed project on York and Gordan Street. (no news about the outcome of the developers appeal to the Zoning Board)
I was surprised, through my own lack of knowledge, that the type of construction and materials used were not a zoning concern. The zoning meeting moderator was quick to point that out. The question, however, was given a satisfactory answer. The moderator started out the next zoning meeting I attended by making the same point. I took an educational approach to ask the same question  about the type construction and materials to be utilized. There were others who also spoke up to ask the same and similar questions then and at other meetings.
It was the good grace of the moderator not to intervene in such a manner as before and now has left it to the developer to answer or not. Now, in my opinion, that's a good example of being neutral.
Now I'll illustrate why these questions are so important for more than myself.
The new houses on Crease and Belgrade Street that face their back on Frankford Avenue are apparently already warping and rotting away in maybe ten years or less.  The entire outer wall had to be ripped out and replaced. This same problem exists with other houses in that row. I now wonder if there are interior problems too.
Another property at a different location that was built around the same time appeared to have similar problems but I don't have photo documentation. To be fair, I state it as an impression but will not state it as fact.
It now seems that new construction is including more brick facade work. This brick work doesn't necessarily extend to the entire outer surface. It makes me wonder just how much added protection it will actually provide against the elements to prevent similar warping and/or rotting. Water and moister will always find its path. Time will tell if it's a real concern or not. Let's hope for the best.
My position remains in exclusive favor for brick and mortar or CBS construction because it is well proven enduring construction materials. Why not if people are purchasing a home for hundreds of thousands of dollars? Why not, in my opinion, expect the best?

Here are the pictures and please remember that all that glitters is not gold.

2015-07-17 a different view and other outer wall covering
Excellent art on that row that now sadly seems to represent a rotting Fish.

opinion POV and photos by roman blazic_all rights reserved


  1. The person who built these homes, is Lee Larkin, DJ Majas, Liam Larkin, ect ect. Owner of that fish you posted a photo of, and owns that house on the end. I am the owner of the green facade home that was renovated first and if you ever have interest in knowing what the deal is, I can tell you outright, and have photo documentation to show as well.

    1. I would be good to give a first hand account for a clear and accurate presentation. My E-mail address is Other of your neighbors in that row show similar problems. Similar problems exist on little Mercer St by Frankford Ave. The new houses on Crease St near Girard Ave are showing the beginnings of water damage by there windows. Please let's talk.
      Roman Blazic