Zoning Update: Minutes & Decision from 8/28/14 Meeting

Our Zoning Committee met with the owners of the property at 2001 S Opal St. and community members to discuss their proposal to convert the property from a CMX-2, mixed-use, commercial/residential property to a single family dwelling. The meeting minutes, which include the community and committee votes can be viewed below. For those who do not wish to read the full minutes, the community vote was 3 in support, 1 neutral and 0 opposed. The committee vote was unanimous in support.



August 28, 2014


A public zoning meeting hosted by the Zoning Committee of the West Passyunk Neighbors Association (the “Association”) was held at 7:00PM at the 1st District Police Station, 2301 S. 24th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145.  In attendance were committee members Peter Curran, Jennifer Harrison, and James McMillan (the “Committee”), the applicants Hoa Duong and Su Hoa Hoac (the “Applicants”), the applicant’s representative Ken Chan (“Representative”), and members of the public.  


The issue addressed was consideration of the zoning application concerning 2001 South Opal Street.  The application was for a change of zone from mixed-use commercial to single-family residential.


Committee member Mr. Curran began the meeting by introducing the issue and noting that attendees present must live within the Association’s boundaries to vote on the issue.  He then opened the floor to the Representative and Applicant.


The Representative began by stating that the property had previously been used as a dry cleaning business.  Due to the operator’s not feeling well and the requirement to register new dry cleaning machinery, the applicants want to convert the property into a single-family dwelling where the owner can reside.  He also stated that this would be better for the neighborhood, since there would be brand new exterior siding and windows on the building.  Initially they thought upgrading the dry cleaners would be easy but it cost a lot of money.  He then presented pictures of the property for viewing.  When the Representative had concluded his presentation, questions and comments from the Committee and then the public were heard.


Mr. Curran asked if the applicants had sought another commercial tenant in the past.  The representative stated that they had for the last three or four years but had been unable to find one.


Ms. Harrison asked if the requirement to replace dry cleaning equipment was because of perchloroethylene.  The applicants confirmed this and presented a letter from the city regarding the requirement.  They stated that the machine was costly and unwieldy to purchase.


A citizen asked if the applicants would only use the building as a single-family dwelling.  The Representative confirmed that they would.


A citizen inquired why the applicants would not just rent the top floor and put a restaurant space on the bottom floor.  The Representative responded that the conversion of the bottom floor into a restaurant would require major renovations including a large bathroom and handicap-accessible facilities, which would be very costly.


A citizen asked when the construction would take place.  The Representative answered that, assuming the Zoning Board approves the conversion, the Building Department already had the plans and should take about 20 days to be approved, after which construction would begin.


A citizen commented that the residents of 1909 McKean Street did not receive notice of the meeting.  Mr. Curran acknowledged that Mr. McMillan had done a brief survey of addresses in the notice range and had discovered that some had received notice of the meeting from the Applicants while other residences had not.  This was attributed to a misunderstanding on the part of the Applicants.


A citizen asked if there would be and major construction or demolition, expressing concern for children that play in the neighborhood.  The Representative stated that there would not be major construction, such as demolition of exterior walls.  They will go through the Streets Department to do some work around the exterior of the premises, but would likely put siding on the exterior walls and would not tear down any walls.


No further questions or pertinent comments being forthcoming, ballots were cast by eligible members of the public present on whether to support, oppose, or remain neutral regarding the Applicant’s application.  The results of the public vote were three supporting, one neutral, and none opposed.  No further business being required, Mr. Curran adjourned the meeting.  After the meeting, the results of the Committee vote were all three supporting.




James McMillan, Secretary

West Passyunk Neighbors Association