After three years, zoning battle comes to a close

After three years, two zoning board rulings, several Common Pleas Court filings and thousands of dollars in legal fees, the Greater Bustleton Civic League has apparently defeated a local man’s effort to make dental retainers inside a Haldeman Avenue house.

GBCL President Jack O’Hara informed the Northeast Times last week that property owner Flore Andresi withdrew his latest appeal to Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court, leaving a July 2014 decision by the the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment in full effect. In that decision, Andresi was denied a zoning variance that would have legalized his small manufacturing business.

The affected property is at 9997 Haldeman Ave., at the corner of Red Lion Road. It is zoned RSD-3, a residential category for single, detached homes. The land is less than one-fifth of an acre and the house 864 square feet, according to city records. Andresi bought it in 2009. The property is assessed at $165,200.

As previously reported in the Northeast Times, Andresi first appeared before the GBCL in fall 2012, when residents voted not to support his zoning application. Nonetheless, that November, the zoning board approved a temporary, three-year variance. Andresi, who was represented by an attorney, argued that the property abuts a Wendy’s restaurant and is across the street from a bank. However, more than a dozen other homes are on the same block, all of which share rear property lines with homes on Wistaria Street.

In response to the zoning board decision, the GBCL hired a lawyer and appealed to Common Pleas Court. In July 2013, the appeals court found that the zoning board had wrongly issued the variance without considering whether Andresi had demonstrated so-called hardship. That is, whether conditions at the property prevented him from using the house for its intended purpose. The court ordered the case back to the zoning board.

Last July, the zoning board reheard the case and rejected Andresi’s application, noting that the property owner admittedly did not live in the home. After that, Andresi appealed to Common Pleas Court. On May 13, the owner withdrew that appeal. ••