Zoning a hot topic at Mayfair Civic meeting

The Mayfair Civic Association opposed two zoning applications, approved a third conditionally and postponed action on a fourth during the community group’s special session on April 20.

Members voted “not opposed with provisos” on a proposal to establish an adult day health center in a commercial property at 6501 Roosevelt Blvd. The facility’s founders are seeking to set up food services, a medical clinic, a multi-purpose room and administrative offices inside a shopping center storefront most recently occupied by a furniture business. The medical clinic would include dental and general health practitioner services.

According to MCA President Donny Smith, the operators plan to run a program where the facility will pick up clients at their homes, provide services on site, then transport clients back to their homes at the end of the day.

One of the neighbors’ primary concerns was the possibility that the medical use could evolve over time, perhaps under different ownership, into a prescription-based drug rehabilitation program — particularly a methadone clinic. The applicants assured SCA members that they would not dispense methadone and that the medical zoning would revert back to its original designation should they vacate the premises.

SCA members opposed two other zoning applications. In one case, an applicant did not show up for the meeting and did not notify neighbors of the meeting as required by the city’s zoning code, according to Smith. He is seeking a permit to serve hot food at the Express Fuel Gas Station, 6300 Frankford Ave. The applicant attended a prior MCA meeting, but had not posted zoning notices on the property or notified neighbors in that case, either, so the civic group was forced to postpone action.

Members issued a second “opposed” vote to the owner of a residential property at 3224 Fanshawe St. The applicant seeks to legalize an existing duplex in what is zoned as a single-family house. According to Smith, a prior owner converted the property into a duplex without permits years ago.

The current owner lives outside the city. When neighbors asked who mows the lawn and shovels the snow, the owner did not give a definitive answer, speculating that a neighbor takes care of it, according to Smith.

The civic association postponed action on a fourth zoning case in which a fortune teller seeks a permit to open a “psychic readings” shop at 7213 Frankford Ave. According to Smith, the civic group’s zoning chairman, Joe DeFelice, who is an attorney, is in the process of obtaining a clarification on the legality of fortune teller businesses.

Although similar businesses have been allowed to operate in the city, Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code (Title 18, Section 7104) prohibits fortune telling for profit. Violations are graded as third-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in prison. The MCA wants official word from the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspection or the Zoning Board of Adjustment why they would consider issuing a permit or use variance to a fortune teller in light of the state law.

The Somerton Civic Association encountered a similar case involving a different fortune teller on Bustleton Avenue in December and voted to oppose the application. In that case, the purported psychic had already opened up shop without applying for the needed zoning. Within days of the SCA’s vote, the fortune teller closed the business and left the property.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the SCA will be on Monday, May 18, at 7 p.m. at Mayfair Community Center, 2990 Saint Vincent St. The public is welcome to attend, but only members may participate in votes. Visit www.mayfaircivicassociation.com for information. ••