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Dentist, music school at odds in Philly

A long-standing business and its new neighbor in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia are in the midst of a real estate dispute that the city's zoning board will be forced to mediate.

On one side is a dentist whose practice is on Germantown Avenue. On the other is a music school that moved in next door in July. The dentist said that since his new neighbor arrived, his patients have started to flee because of the noise from the instruments.

The dentist appealed the music school's occupancy with the city's License and Inspections Department. After the filing, the two sides appeared before the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The dentist told the zoning board that he has practiced in the same location on Germantown Avenue for 35 years, making considerable improvements to the building while respecting its historic elements. He said he has never created problems for the adjacent tenants and that his current neighbor is far too noisy.

The drum and piano sounds coming through the walls have shaken his patients so much that they have left their treatment, he said, adding it isn't fair that the music school should be costing him business.

A representative of the city's licensing department said that the school's application was for one-on-one instruction and personal service.

The owner of the music school said he has divided the building into four rooms that are used by one student and one teacher in each. The personal use zoning permits individual lessons, and that is all the school is doing, he said.

At the meeting, the zoning board members deferred any decision until one of the parties submits a copy of the application filed by the school.

The zoning board must make a decision that is equitable to the interests of both parties under applicable law. It also might find that the zoning laws require updating.

Source: Chestnut Hill Patch, "A Music School Dispute Continues," Nate Adams, Dec. 19, 2012

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