The Chestnut Hill Community Association’s (CHCA) Land Use Planning and Zoning (LUPZ) ruled in support of the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s plans for renovations to parts of its club in front of the CHCA’s Developmental Review Committee (DRC) at a meeting on Thursday.
James Bogrette of Kimmel Bogrette, principal architect of the firm working for the club, showcased plans for improvements and expansions to the club’s squash courts and
The club’s paddle tennis courts, which border Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s (SCH) fields, will be switched from their current left-right orientation to a staggered up-down orientation, which will allow for more courts to be added and for clearer viewing from anyone watching from SCH’s fields. The elevation of the courts will be lowered as well.
The plan for this section of the club was to increase “socialization and viewing”, said Bogrette.
A new paddle tennis building will be added along with a hard roof pavilion.
The club’s squash courts along Willow Grove Avenue will be expanded and updated. A fitness center and more courts will be added.
The pool area will also undergo renovations. The main pool will not be moved but the baby pool will. Locker rooms will be improved and expanded, half of the basketball and tennis courts will be removed and a new pavilion will be added.
The Club has also worked with SCH to develop a storm water drainage system that is mutually beneficial, including a rain garden. “If you drove by you wouldn’t know it was there,” Tim Muessle, general manager of the club, said. “It’s actually attractive.”
According to the club’s representatives, the systems are actually redundant and will be able to handle runoff from future additions to the club if necessary. “We’ve built overcapacity into our storm water system,” Muessle said.
CHCA members expressed concern about some of the aesthetic aspects of the project, including the façade of the squash building facing Willow Grove Avenue and the rain garden. Members asked if there wasn’t some other way to go design the new squash area.
“We can’t just willy nilly overbuild something and overpay,” said Bogrette.
Muessle agreed that the current plan was the best of many. “We’ve beat this thing until it was black and blue,” he said of the decision process.
The LUPZ’s support was based on several conditions. It required that the club show letters from adjacent neighbors expressing approval, or at least not objection, to the project. It also required the club bring forth more detailed landscape architectural plans, and that the two land parcels that the club is located on be combined into one property.
The Club’s attorney, Karl Primavera, said that the club was working to combine the two properties and that he expected it to take another three to five months to complete. Negotiations with SCH are still ongoing and then the proposal must be passed through surveyors and finally the City Surveyor.