Fox Chase neighbors tackle apartment unit expansions, zoning issues

Neighbors discussed making it a standing order to reject any proposal that would add new apartments to preexisting structures at this month’s Fox Chase Town Watch and Homeowners Association meeting.

Neighbors heard a few zoning-related proposals at the February Fox Chase Town Watch and Homeowners Association meeting, but weren’t quite sold on any of them.

First, Homeowners Association president George Bezanis read a proposal for a new bylaw for the association: The association will oppose any expansion or reconfiguration of existing multi-family and mixed-use properties that would allow for additional units.

The proposal was in response to multiple apartment units trying to expand in the area in recent years. Neighbors will listen to proposals but not vote on the issue if they find it violates a bylaw.

Neighbors will vote on the bylaw within the coming months.

Zoning

Following that discussion were two presentations for zoning appeals at 7301 Shelbourne St. and 7956 Verree Road.

There were two kitchens and two entrances installed in the home on Shelbourne Street after the owner moved into the property last year, which goes against zoning code. The owner wanted to split the property in half and rent out one half.

On Verree Road, the owner wanted to convert a former doctor’s office he couldn’t rent out into housing. Neighbors rose concerns about parking behind the building and the presentation would violate the bylaw that was proposed earlier that night, not that it was an official bylaw yet.

In the end, neighbors decided not to support both appeals.

Police updates

In what has become a pattern, Joe Staszak of the 7th Police District again advised neighbors to lock their car doors, double checked they are locked and not to leave any valuables in the car. He cited one theft from an auto that resulted in a loaded gun being stolen.

Three people were arrested for stolen cars, Staszak said.

Staszak also highlighted the growing number of catalytic converters being stolen in the area, mostly from Toyota Prius models. Community relations officer for 2nd Police District Mark Mroz recalled seeing four males loading catalytic converters and even grinding one up in the parking lot of a TD Bank on Roosevelt Boulevard. Mroz called for backup and the males are being investigated.

Mroz also highlighted that the city is hiring crossing guards, saying the 2nd district is down on the number of crossing guards it has.

In other news

  • The city is developing a new design for the Five Points intersection of Cottman, Rising Sun and Oxford avenues. The goal is to create safer conditions for pedestrians and honor the Honor Square War Memorial.

A meeting was hosted last Wednesday so the public could look at designs and voice their input, and meetings will continue to be held in the future.

  • Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month at American Legion Loudenslager, 7976 Oxford Ave. The next meeting will be held March 11 at 7:30 p.m.