March 9th GCCA Zoning Meeting

Garden Court Community Association has a regularly scheduled Zoning and Development Committee meeting at 8pm on Wednesday, March 9th. We are still meeting virtually, via Zoom; log-in detail are at the bottom of this post.


Meeting Agenda:

  • 1. Zoning cases: None

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

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

  • Public Comment

  • Committee Working Session (closed)

  • Next Meeting: April 13th


1. 5030 Spruce Street variance request.

The property in question is an existing 3-story twin. The property zoned RSA-3, a single-family district; the applicant is seeking to permit a three-family use. The permit refusal by the Department of Licenses and Inspections is shown below for reference.


At our meeting, the applicant will present their proposal and neighbors; following any clarifying questions from the chair, 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.



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). Leasing activity has begun and construction is nearing completion. We expect that the garden plan developed with GCCA Zoning and the West Philadelphia Native Plants and Pollinators group will be implemented this spring.


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 and is nearing completion. Leasing expected to have begun in February for occupancy in April. No update.


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, with construction expected to have begun in earnest in this winter. No Update.


4700 Block of Spruce Street

A zoning permit was issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections on December 30th. The permit is for a 12-story building (six stories on the east end) with commercial space on the first and second floors (proposed uses include restaurant and grocery store), 170 residential units, 28 vehicular parking spaces (accessed via Spruce Street), 76 bicycle parking spaces, and an off-street loading dock (accessed via 48th Street). Through the Low Income Housing Bonus, the proposal includes a $1.8M payment toward the Housing Trust Fund. The project was permitted by-right and does not require variances from the Zoning Board of Adjustment; due to its scale, however, it will be subject to Civic Design Review, during which the developer will be required to provide more details through renderings etc. A community meeting preceding the civic design review will be required, and GCCA has been named the coordinating RCO, but the applicant has not yet requested a community meeting. Once scheduled (likely later this spring), GCAA will publicize it in addition to what is required by the applicant.



3. December 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
  • 2/3/22: 5015 Cedar Ave; conversion from a 4-plex to single family use

Recent Sales
  • 5030 Spruce St: $565,000 ($180/sqft)

  • 4621 Pine St Unit G610: $539,000 ($228/sqft)


Rental Market Snapshot



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


Details for Joining the Meeting:


Time:  March 9th, 2022 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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