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A Music School Dispute Continues

Despite appearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment, two Chestnut Hill businesses continue to be at odds.

A dispute between two Chestnut Hill businesses didn't quite get the resolution their owners were expecting when they went before the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment on Dec 12.

at 8505 Germantown Avenue, went before the zoning board Wednesday after filing an appeal against the city's Licence and Inspections department, which approved Maplewood Music to move in at 8507 Germantown Avenue, right next to his practice.

Ever since the music school established itself in July, Mendlow's practice has been suffering, he told the board.

"My professional life in Philadelphia depends on this." he said. "My professional life in Philadelphia depends on this." "I've been [at my Germantown location] for 35 years. I've invested over 400k into the space. I have been sensitive to the historic nature of the building and I've never disrupted my neighbors."

The main problem, according to Mendlow, is noise coming from the school. Mendlow claimed that drum and piano sounds have been so loud in his office that he has had patients ask to leave.

"One business shouldn't be allowed to come in and drive away another," he said "It's costing me income and business."

According to Joe Flemming, a representative of L&I, the application for the music school was approved because it fell under a "personal service and instruction" distinction that allows for one-on-on instruction.

Rich Rudin, the owner of Maplewood Music, said that his musical school was not structured like a k-12 classroom and, as such, was protected under the personal use distinction.

"There are four individual rooms and every room never has more than one teacher and one student per room," he said. "It isn't a school. Personal use allows for lessons and that's what this is."

The zoning board opted not to rule on the appeal after no party was able to produce a copy of the music school's original application. Once that document is found, this dispute will likely continue.

Rich Rudin December 20, 2012 at 12:21 AM
The "noise" is so minimal that the Ch. Hill Cheese Shop, which is directly below Maplewood, can barely ever hear anything. They are certainly not bothered. Their business is unaffected. Dr. Mendlow is a neighbor, but we do not share a common wall. Whatever he hears is clearly less than the Cheese Shop. In addition, there are only a few hours per week when the dentist office is open and there are lessons at the same time. Dr. Mendlow has refused offers from Maplewood and from 3rd parties to resolve this situation through discussion or mediation and has chosen to pursue a possible legal remedy instead. It is Maplewood Music Studio's life in Ch. Hill that is being threatened. - Rich Rudin, Director, Maplewood Music Studio
Rich Rudin December 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM
The ruling is in! Maplewood Music Studio in Ch. Hill will survive & thrive! The zoning board's decision (on Thursday Dec. 20) supported Maplewood's use permit. Maplewood will continue to be a good neighbor and to be available to hear suggestions, discuss & hopefully, resolve, any issues - including from anyone bothered by our music (or noise, as they may hear it). Our goal is, as always, to be a very positive force in the community. - Rich Rudin, Director, Maplewood Music Studio

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