Deadline is Friday for public comments on North Delaware District Plan

A city planner informed members of the East Torresdale Civic Association on Feb. 8 that time is running out for them to submit comments on the recently published draft North Delaware District Plan.

Larissa Klevan, a member of the City Planning Commission staff, briefed ETCA members on selected details of the plan during the civic group’s monthly meeting. The deadline for public comments on the draft plan is Feb. 19, Klevan said. The full plan is accessible online at Phila2035.org. Folks may submit feedback directly to Klevan via email at larissa.klevan@phila.gov or by calling 215–683–4649.

The North Delaware District Plan is part of the Planning Commission’s Philadelphia2035 project, an effort to prioritize desirable development of the city over the next quarter-century. North Delaware is one of 18 districts throughout the city. It includes the neighborhoods of Wissinoming, Tacony, Mayfair, Holmesburg, Upper Holmesburg and East Torresdale.

Following three public meetings involving residents, business owners and other community stakeholders, Klevan and other planning staff produced the 82-page draft plan and presented it to the commission on Jan. 19, triggering a one-month public comment period. Klevan expects to compile public comments after the Feb. 19 deadline and incorporate them into a revised plan, which will be presented to the planning commission at its March public meeting.

The draft plan includes maps, historical information, demographic data, discussion and recommendations regarding existing property uses and possible future uses. The document considers residential and business properties, along with public spaces and transportation services.

Regarding East Torresdale specifically, the plan recommends establishing strong community partnerships at various public parks and recreations centers, including the city-owned but privately managed Glen Foerd on the Delaware, at 5001 Grant Ave. The plan further recommends improving parking and water drainage at Torresdale Station as well as pedestrian access from the station to Glen Foerd, while also improving public access to the Delaware River at the Glen Foerd site.

At an earlier public meeting, neighbors of the Glen Foerd site said they opposed the construction of sidewalks along the 5000 and 5100 blocks of Grant Ave., as well as nearby residential streets. Klevan reported at last week’s meeting that planners haven’t determined what type of pedestrian improvements that they will propose for the Glen Foerd area. However, Klevan said, the Glen Foerd administration is formulating its own plan for improving access to the site.

Another concept included in the draft district plan is to promote use of Pleasant Hill Park at Linden and Delaware avenues, as well as the completion of the North Delaware Greenway.

In unrelated ETCA business:

• The new community relations officer in the 8th Police District, Joe Hansbury, responded to questions about public safety issues.

Hansbury said that the 8th district commander, Capt. Adam Friedman, has responded to several reports of home burglaries in the East Torresdale area by placing additional police officers in the area. Police made one recent burglary arrest, Hansbury said, but have not determined how many crimes he may have committed.

In response to questions about car break-ins, Hansbury said that most of the thefts occur when victims fail to lock their car doors and when victims leave something of value inside the car. Most thieves are opportunists, he said. So, if you lock your door and don’t leave anything of value in the car, the crooks will probably look elsewhere for an easy score.

Hansbury recently became CRO after Officer Natalie Crone was cited for alleged driving while under the influence. Crone was placed on restricted duty pending the outcome of her case.

• ETCA Vice President William Kennedy proposed that the civic group send a letter to the Northeast Times and the Inquirer to thank newly elected City Commissioner Lisa Deeley for trying to reform the commission. One of Deeley’s latest proposals was to establish more stringent work requirements that would ensure that her colleagues show up for work and fulfill their duties to the public.

Deeley’s proposal came on the heels of news reports about the commission chairman, Anthony Clark, who has been criticized for failing to report to his office and failing to vote. The commissioners’ primary responsibility is to administer political elections.

Kennedy’s motion passed the ETCA unanimously.

• Sophia Pryszlak, leader of the new Friends of Pleasant Hill Park, reported that her group will host its first public meeting on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at Delaware and Linden avenues. The group will meet inside the building next to the boat ramp parking lot. ••