Beer, pets, cash and crime were on the agenda last week during the Greater Bustleton Civic League’s final monthly meeting before its summer break.
League members OK’d two zoning proposals, welcomed new board members, heard about some burglaries and honored outgoing officers during their June 20 meeting at the American Heritage Federal Credit Union on Red Lion Road.
A proposal to sell high-end beer in a small shopping center on the 1900 block of Grant Ave. was overwhelmingly approved. Kuldeep Patel wants to sell specialty beers in what had been a barber shop. Members voted to support Patel’s application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for “a referral.” Retail takeout beer requires a certificate from the zoning board.
Jack O’Hara, the league’s new president, said the league’s board members looked at similar retail beer stores in the Northeast and in Germantown and found them to be operated well.
Language will be inserted in the store’s lease with shopping center owner B&J Ltd. of Red Lion Road to prohibit ever using the premises as a bar.
City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) said such a lease restriction would be more effective than an agreement with the operator because the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections doesn’t have the manpower to enforce such a pact, but the landlord would have the power to evict the tenant if he violated the lease.
The councilman frequently has advocated deed or lease restrictions as the best methods of prohibiting undesirable results when the civic group approves zoning applications.
Harry Haberkern, the league’s new vice president, spoke in favor of the store, adding that Bustleton needs to attract and retain businesses. And, although some of the shopping center’s neighbors said they were worried about parking and trash, the membership voted to back Patel, who is scheduled to go before the zoning board on July 11.
In other matters:
• Most members said they had no problem with a proposal to put an animal shelter at 1810 Grant Ave.
Dana Spain, executive director of the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, said her non-profit organization rescues cats and dogs from the city’s animal control shelter and puts them up for adoption.
The league’s support, however, was not formal backing because PAWS is considering buying the building at Grant and Bustleton avenues, but has not purchased it and has not made an application to the zoning board.
An application would be necessary if PAWS proceeded with the purchase, because the property’s C-7 commercial zoning does not allow for dog kennels. Spain would have to return for a formal vote.
Veterinarian Jerry Geffen, whose facility is nearby, said he was concerned about competition and the possibility his patients could be infected by airborne diseases that might be carried by PAWS animals.
Spain said a half-dozen dogs and about 40 cats would be housed at the shelter. PAWS would give shots, and spay and neuter animals, but it would not have other veterinary services, she said. Rescued animals are checked for diseases elsewhere, she added.
• O’Hara said the organization’s outgoing officers had been very helpful to the new board members and honored former president John McKeever, former treasurer Joan Rhoades, former recording secretary Diane Canuso and former corresponding secretary Lillian deKrafft with plaques of appreciation.
The new president, who had led a winning slate of challengers in the league’s May election, had promised more information on zoning issues would be made available to members, and he made good on that last week.
Data sheets about PAWS and the beer retailer that included maps, applicable zoning regulations and other information were handed out to members.
Treasurer Bob Hall had campaigned with a pledge that he would report monthly on the league’s finances. The organization has more than $45,000 in the bank, he told members.
The other newly seated officers are Maureen Greene, corresponding secretary, and Marlene Moskowitz, recording secretary.
Dan Lodise, an aide to state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.), said many people have called the legislator’s office with concerns about the new “smart meters” currently being installed by PECO.
He said callers said they were afraid the new meters, which send and receive radio transmissions, would cause health problems or would spy on them. Lodise said he looked at more than a dozen reports about the meters but couldn’t find any that cited health problems. He added, however, that many of those studies cautioned that the smart meter is a new technology and that its newness meant no long-term studies were done on the long-term health effects of the meters.
• Rich Simon, the 7th Police District’s community relations officer, said residents about to go on vacation can request “temporary vacant forms” from the police district. Patrol officers will be alerted at roll calls to check on properties whose owners are away, he said.
Residents can contact the district for the form as a precaution. Burglaries and other property crimes have been persistent problems citywide. There have been a dozen burglaries in the 7th district recently. However, in four of those crimes, the burglars left behind fingerprints.
In response to a question from the membership about people going door to door asking to see residents’ electric bills, Simon said the best course is to call 911.
“Call 9–1–1 about anything suspicious,” he said.
The civic league’s next meeting will be Wednesday, Sept. 19. Meeting dates for the rest of the year are Oct. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 12. ••
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The Greater Bustleton Civic League is online at gbcleague.com
Write: PO BOX 51523
Philadelphia, PA 19115