Mayfair Civic discusses zoning disputes

Mayfair residents rejected two zoning applications and approved a third during a special meeting of the Mayfair Civic Association on Aug. 3.

In one case, the owner of a twin house at 7728 Fairfield St. built a large storage shed in his backyard, but with two problems. It’s more than three times bigger than permitted under the city’s zoning code. And he built it without a permit.

The structure is 24 feet by 18 feet and one story. A couple who owns the house at the meeting said they built the shed in April and didn’t know they needed a permit.

A man in the audience said he’s an immediate neighbor and thinks the shed is too big. He wants the owner fined and forced to tear it down. Another man in the audience said that the building looks more like a house than a shed.

In addition to problems with the size, the shed is too close to property lines. It is one foot, eight inches from one side and two feet from the other side. It is two feet, four inches from the rear property line.

Civic association members voted to oppose the application. A zoning board hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 1515 Arch St., 18th floor.

Members rejected a second application for 3513 Vista St., where the owner of a rowhouse duplex wants to legalize a third apartment in his basement. Like the prior case, the owner modified his property illegally without a permit, according to his daughter, who interpreted English on his behalf. The man didn’t think he needed a permit because all of his renovations were inside.

One resident of the block complained that there already are 18 duplexes and three single-family rentals on the block. He also complained that the owner doesn’t maintain his property, allowing the grass to grow too high. Mayfair Civic officers explained that they generally don’t advocate for the creation of any new duplexes, let alone triplexes in properties built as single-family homes.

Despite the civic group’s opposition, the case is still listed for a zoning board hearing on Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. at 1515 Arch St., 18th floor.

In the final case of the meeting, zoning attorney Shawn Ward asked neighbors’ support for a new NovaCare physical therapy center at 7347 Frankford Ave. All new medical-related offices must get a special zoning permit in the neighborhood because City Council recently enacted an overlay in the 6th and 10th Council districts. The overlay is meant to allow neighbors to block any drug abuse treatment facilities.

Ward said that NovaCare doesn’t treat for drug or alcohol addiction and doesn’t distribute medication, although clients must obtain a physical therapy prescription to make an appointment. There are no walk-ins. ••