Shuffling the deck? No decision yet on Maggie’s

The Zoning Board of Adjustment announced it would wait to vote on the changes to Maggie’s for 30 days.

Still waiting: The East Torresdale Civic Association voted 31–12 against proposals to make changes to Maggie’s Waterfront Cafe, seen here in a photo from last summer. TIMES FILE PHOTO

On June 11, the East Torresdale Civic Association held an eventful meeting, holding votes on proposals made by Maggie’s Waterfront Cafe, 9242 N. Delaware Ave., proposals for certain zoning changes in sections of the neighborhood and a possible Wawa at Frankford Avenue and Academy Road.

At the civic’s meeting in April, Maggie’s lawyer Shawn Ward discussed a number of future plans that the bar/restaurant was hoping to achieve. A significant number of members of the civic association present were wary on specifically the idea of outdoor seating on a patio on the Arendell Avenue side of the business.

Last summer, L&I determined that Maggie’s had to either remove the outdoor chairs on the patio or apply for a new zoning variance.

At the April meeting, the civic ultimately voted to push off the vote on some zoning variances for Maggie’s to a later meeting. Discussions of hoping to reach a “community benefits agreement” were had at that meeting, but nothing was specifically agreed on. A member of the civic association stated at that April meeting that people from “about six or seven houses” have met with City Councilman Bobby Henon and state Rep. Mike Driscoll on two different occasions about how to remedy this ongoing feud.

At this civic meeting, Ward handed out sheets to all of those present with the specific requests from Maggie’s to the city Zoning Board of Adjustment. The applications included a “1-story walk-in box & 2-story rear addition to bar/restaurant, legalize storage shed, permit outdoor seating, and permit employee parking lot.”

Ward detailed each specific request from his client and answered questions in regard to how each would be laid out.

A paper ballot vote was held for members of the civic association present and for those from the public who were not members of the civic association. The civic voted, 31–12, against the proposals made by Maggie’s. People present at the meeting who were not members of the civic association had eight votes in favor and one against.

Two days later, a ZBA hearing was held. Ward represented Maggie’s at the hearing, while the ETCA was represented by Lawrence A. Mester.

The ZBA delayed the decision for 30 days.

The Times will continue to monitor the developments in this story.

Courtney Voss, Henon’s chief of staff, delivered a presentation about some remapping that would affect East Torresdale. Last month, Voss paid a visit to the Upper Holmesburg Civic Association to discuss some of the proposed remapping changes in that neighborhood as well.

The main point of contention during the discussion revolved around changing the zoning for the James D. Morrissey Inc. site at Frankford Avenue and Academy Road. Voss explained that the property is zoned residential, but there is a proposal to change it to “ICMX” (industrial), which she said is consistent with the existing use, and “ZA-2” to allow for a Wawa to open at the corner.

Voss stated that the zoning change from industrial to residential took place under Henon’s predecessor, Joan Krajewski.

Members of the civic association explained they hoped that houses would eventually go there if the Morrissey site changed ownership.

Voss stated that from what she understands, the Morrissey property doesn’t have any plans to change its operation at that location even after the zoning change. She also stated she believes the remapping will pass on the last day of Council session.

The ETCA voted against the remapping proposal 37–6, with one abstention.

Michael J. Cooley, Venture and Financial Specialist with the Provco Group, delivered a presentation on what the proposed Wawa would look like. Cooley spoke about the proposed Wawa at the Upper Holmesburg Civic Association last month.

The proposed plan would close the Wawa at Frankford and Linden avenues. Cooley made the case that the existing Wawa, built in 1988, was outdated. The proposed Wawa would provide front and rear store customer access, 50 parking spaces, 16 fueling stations, a dedicated loading area, remote trash enclosure, pedestrian walkways, bike rack and privacy fencing, among a few other distinctions.

Members of the civic association expressed concern about increased traffic at that busy intersection, but Cooley said his group has held discussions with PennDOT to widen Academy Road to add a lane.

The ETCA voted against a zoning matter at 9306–08 Vandike St., with 33 opposing it, nine supporting and one abstention. Five non-members of the civic association who were present voted for the proposal, while two non-members voted against it. The applicant wanted approval to build two houses on the property, although the current zoning allows only one. ••