Britton Industries, neighbors continue to clash

The UHCA June meeting included updates on the ongoing issues with Britton Industries and a presentation from NewCourtland.

The battle continues: Britton Industries was issued a preliminary permit this month. The public has 30 days to appeal the decision. TIMES FILE PHOTO

The Upper Holmesburg Civic Association last week delivered an update on the ongoing situation with Britton Industries and remapping in sections of the neighborhood that include possibly moving a Wawa, and welcomed representatives from NewCourtland to provide a presentation on its proposed property for the neighborhood.

The UHCA has been engaged for months in a dispute with Britton Industries that has included multiple public hearings attended by members of the civic association.

Toward the end of 2017, the city filed a lawsuit against Britton, a mulch and topsoil supplier company with a site at 8901 Torresdale Ave. Residents and members of the civic association have made their concerns clear with the company at multiple hearings and believe it is not a good neighbor. Their main issues with Britton has been the odor that travels throughout the neighborhood and the debris around the site.

There were public hearings in April, May and early June. Members of the civic association were mostly optimistic after the April hearing, but were not pleased with the outcomes of the hearings in May and June.

Britton Industries was issued a preliminary permit this month. The public has 30 days to appeal the decision. The civic board has received letters of support from Councilman Bobby Henon and his chief of staff, Courtney Voss.

The public hearing on the matter is set to take place at Holmesburg Recreation Center, 4500 Rhawn St., on July 19 at 6:30 p.m.

The civic is encouraging those who are concerned about the matter to attend the public hearing.

In other news, multiple representatives from NewCourtland were present at the meeting to deliver a presentation and ask for zoning changes to accommodate their plans for NewCourtland Pennypack.

Last year, NewCourtland purchased the 32 acres of the Lindenfield Homes site from the Philadelphia Housing Authority to develop a senior center, senior housing complex and athletic facility for Holy Family University.

The redevelopment of the property would take place in several phases, explained Max Kent, vice president of plans and logistics. He said the agency is going to “bring the empty lot back to life.”

The representatives explained that the LifeCenter would be able to support a couple hundred senior citizens in the neighborhood and bring 120 jobs, and the property will be about 26,000 square feet of space. The finished product will look like NewCourtland’s recently opened facility at St. Bartholomew Parish.

The civic association voted to approve the plans for rezoning for NewCourtland’s property.

At May’s meeting, Voss delivered an update on a number of zoning changes throughout the neighborhood. Her address mainly revolved around the possibility of closing the Wawa at Frankford and Linden avenues and moving it down one block to Frankford and Academy Road. The property would be changed from residential to accommodate Wawa’s arrival.

The existing Wawa at Frankford and Linden was built in 1988. It has 34 parking spaces, no truck loading, no trash enclosure, no public restroom and no gas station. 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. The group that was representing Wawa at the May meeting discussed having PennDOT widen Academy Road to add a lane to combat traffic issues.

The board also discussed the possibility of bringing the first “all-inclusive playground” in the city to 4400 Pennypack St.

Henon intends to meet with those associated with Jake’s Place to learn about playgrounds suited for every child, regardless of physical limitations. The Times will continue to monitor the possibility of this addition to the neighborhood. ••

John Cole can be reached at JCole@bsmphilly.com