Clinic expansion gets conditional approval

Greater Philadelphia Health Action wants to build a third floor addition to expand dental services at its Frankford Avenue clinic.

Plan approved: Greater Philadelphia Health Action CEO Brian Clark (far right) speaks during a presentation at the Frankford NAC meeting on Thursday. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

The Frankford Neighborhood Advisory Committee LAST Thursday approved the expansion of a medical clinic at Frankford Avenue and Sellers Street under certain conditions.

Greater Philadelphia Health Action, which operates the Frankford Avenue Health Center, is looking to build a 2,500-square-foot addition on the third floor. GPHA CEO Brian Clark said the space will be used to provide dental services for children.

It was the second time GPHA appeared in front of the NAC for the same project. There was a miscommunication at the December meeting, with notifications going out to residents indicating the expansion was for behavioral healthcare.

“I apologize,” said Brett Feldman, an attorney representing GPHA. “I sent out the notice. It was right at the beginning of the case. I wasn’t fully aware of exactly what they were going to do,and I sent out a notice that listed some other possible uses.”

The NAC board voted to support the permit on a two-year provisional basis. Board members said they wanted to make sure the addition was not used for a drug recovery program.

In addition, the board included a condition that GPHA must hire a contractor or subcontractor from the Frankford community.

No one from the two-block area attended the meeting, so no residents were permitted to vote.

GPHA is scheduled to go in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

In other news from Feb. 14 NAC meeting:

Residents voted to oppose a permit for the establishment of an auto repair shop at 4514-18 Tackawanna St. Though the property is zoned residential, attorney Shawn Ward said the building has had a commercial or industrial use for years.

Neighbors complained about parking and congestion on the block. Ward and his client blamed the mechanic across the street. The ZBA is scheduled to hear the case on April 3.

The NAC did not make an official decision on a permit for a six-unit rooming house on the second and third floors of a building at Frankford Avenue and Church Street.

Al Liriano, the property’s owner, said he has operated the building as an illegal rooming house for more than 10 years. The Department of Licenses and Inspections put a stop to that, and he hasn’t been legally allowed to collect rent for about seven months, he said at the meeting.

NAC board members expressed apprehension at allowing a rooming house in the neighborhood, but they decided against outright opposing the permit because they said they were concerned about the five people currently living there.

The cost of turning the property at 4500-02 Frankford Ave. into a full-fledged apartment building would be too high, Liriano’s attorney, Matt Monroe, said.

Liriano’s permit request will go to the ZBA on March 13.

The NAC board voted to support a variance for a duplex at a home at 1619 Wakeling St. The owner said he is looking to legalize the property, which he said has been a duplex for years. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at