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Controversy over proposed residential development

There is a current controversy in the Callowhill neighborhood of Philadelphia over a proposal to build a residential development on currently zoned industrial land. That land is now used for a parking lot. The developers, who want to build several residential buildings on Ridge Avenue, told the Callowhill /Neighborhood Association they wanted to do something different from what is currently contemplated by existing zoning laws.

The land in question is located between Buttonwood Street and Spring Garden Street on the 1100 block of Ridge. If approved, the development will be four stories and consist of four separate buildings, all close together. The land to be used covers a total of 4,800 square feet. It is intended that each building would contain one four-bedroom apartment, as well as two apartments, with two bedrooms each.

The initial application for zoning for the project has been denied, because the plan did not contain any provisions for parking and also because of the current industrial zoning for the land. That decision will be further reviewed at a zoning board hearing to be held shortly. The owners of the property also have other land close nearby where they operate a business known as Tofu Works, Inc.

One concern some have raised about the proposed development is that the four buildings to be constructed would cover approximate 87% of the land, a high density that would allow no space for a yard on any side of the buildings. The owners addressed concern over the lack of included parking by indicating that they are attempting to reach an agreement to provide some residential parking for those who would live in the building with the owner of an existing parking lot in the vicinity. An experienced zoning law attorney can help shepherd such proposals through the legal and regulatory maze that is often found in order to build something that varies from existing zoning for a parcel of land.

Philly.com, "Callowhill residents consider a 12-unit Ridge Ave. apartment complex" Jared Brey, Jul. 09, 2013

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