December 8 GCCA Zoning Meeting

Garden Court Community Association has a regularly scheduled Zoning and Development Committee meeting at 8pm on Wednesday, December 8th. We are still meeting virtually, via Zoom; log-in detail are at the bottom of this post.


Meeting Agenda:

  • 1. Zoning cases: 5100 Larchwood Avenue

  • 2. Report: any status updates for ongoing projects of significance

  • 3. Report: October Garden Court real estate activity - permits issued, home sales, and apartment rentals

  • Public Comment

  • Committee Working Session (closed)

  • Next Meeting: January 12th


1. 5100 Larchwood Avenue variance request.


The property in question is an existing 3.5 story rowhouse fronting on Malcolm X Park. The property is in a single-family district, and the applicant is renovating and seeking to legalize an existing 3-family use.


At our meeting, the applicant will present their proposal and neighbors, anybody from the public, and members of the committee will have the opportunity to make comment or ask questions. We will take a poll of support, opposition, or non-opposition from any neighbors and members of the public to share with the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). In its closed session, the committee will take a similar poll to determine its own position and share with the ZBA. The ZBA may consider these polls/positions and has the final authority to grant or deny variance requests.


The L+I refusal is shown below for reference.





2. Significant project updates


GCCA zoning is trying to keep tabs on some of the larger scale developments underway in the neighborhood so that we provide our community with neutral, fact-based information about what's happening. From time to time, we may invite developers to provide a community update and answer questions.


314 S. 46th Street

(25 apartments via adaptive re-use of the Good Shepherd Community Church building and erection of a new building on site). With the exception of the facade, the exterior of the structure is about complete. No update.


301 S 51st Street

(apartments on site of a currently abandoned car service garage in the interior of the block). A zoning permit was issued in 2019; a building permit has not been due to non-compliance with the fire code. The owners are in discussion with Neighbors for Healthy Community Development and have engaged the Light of Elmwood Lodge. No Update.


4900 Spruce Street

(150 apartments on a former parking lot). Construction continues. Developer expects the project to be complete by late winter of 2022. Leasing expected to begin in February for occupancy in April. Neighbors on 49th Street and St. Bernard have expressed frustration with various practices of the construction company, including time of work, staging on sidewalks and the rear alley, etc. They have made complaints to the Department of Licenses and Inspections and engaged the Councilperson's Office, which plans to mediate a discussion with the developer.


4701 Pine Street

(220 apartments in a 6-story addition over the garage adjacent to the Garden Court Plaza). Structural work in the garage has begun and construction bids are expected before the end of the year, with construction beginning in earnest in early 2022. No Update.


4700 Block of Spruce Street

Permits for demolition of buildings on this block including the 1-story retail and auto repair shop) have been filed; permits are valid until 3 March 2022. As of 24 September 2021, the permit-holder and the owners of the auto repair shop remain in litigation over ownership and sale of the property. GCCA Zoning has put leadership of the Community Garden in touch with the owner, so that they may work together to reduce any negative impacts of demolition.



3. September Garden Court real estate activity report


RCOs like GCCA are called upon to discuss development proposals requiring variances or civic design review, but those represent a small fraction of real estate activity in any month. In the interest of staying informed of the bigger picture, GCCA Zoning is putting together a monthly report of permits issued (including by-right zoning), homes sales, and apartment rentals in the neighborhood. This is being posted here so neighbors get information without needing to attend the meeting. Trends are shown and discussed on a quarterly basis. Special thanks to committee member, Chris Mejia-Smith for pulling together this information from a variety of sources.


By Right Permits over the last month
  • 11/16/21: 4648 Hazel - Small addition on rear of house


Recent Sales

Nine homes sold.

  • 504 S 46th: $790k ($277/sqft)

  • 4516 Pine St: $785k ($297/sqft)

  • 506 S 45th St: $650k ($236/sqft)

  • 5035 Hazel: $530k ($201/sqft)

  • 4839 Hazel: $520k ($217/sqft)

  • 5115 Cedar: $460k ($243/sqft)

  • 4922 Larchwood: $350k ($228/sqft)

  • 4837 Osage: $278k ($184/sqft)

  • 4742 Pine St #205: $265k ($367/sqft)


Various Rents across Garden Court (via apartments.com, trulia.com, and hotpads.com)


Details for Joining the Meeting:


Time:  December 8th, 2021 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Direct Link: https://upenn.zoom.us/j/91979124404?pwd=Q3pYOFpLenBTQW95Sm9aMTRzRmt3dz09

or dial in to: +1-646-558-8656 or +1-301-715-8592 additional numbers at: https://upenn.zoom.us/u/ahHOJpCyM Meeting ID: 919 7912 4404 Passcode: GCCAzoning


Public participants will need to "raise their hand" to be un-muted and ask questions or make comment. GCCA Zoning's regular rules of decorum will apply.



Get involved.


As always, our meetings are public and open for anyone to attend; if you are interested in receiving email updates from the Zoning Committee, or are interested in joining when there is an opening, please email Zoning@GardenCourtCA.org - not yet a GCCA member? Join here! Our geographic boundaries are 45th Street, Cedar Avenue, 52nd Street, and Locust.


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