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Design Review Committee Backs Cricket Club

The Chestnut Hill DRC gave support to the club at its meeting Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Cricket Club was given tentative support by the CHCA’s Developmental Review Committee for its Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing at the committee's meeting Tuesday.

The DRC applauded the club for keeping faith with new conditions as they have arisen, but took issue with lack of documentation showing neighbor support on hand for board members to see.

“This was something that was made very clear at the last meeting,” said Joyce Lenhardt, vice president for the Physical Division of CHCA, said of the need for written approval.

According to Tim Muessle, general manager of the club, five of the six neighbors on Willow Grove Avenue have given written agreement, but Muessle hadn’t brought hard copies to the meeting. Muessle said the sixth neighbor had given oral approval and was a member of the club as well, but the neighbor hadn’t yet provided anything in writing at the time of the meeting.

Karl Primavera, attorney for the cricket club, said that much work had gone into obtaining the five signatures. “We think we’ve done a good job with that,” he said. Not having the signatures on hand was an oversight, he said.

“We think you’ve probably done as well as you can do,” Larry McEwen, DRC co-chair said. But he emphasized the need for formal documentation because of past issues with variance seekers glossing over the signature process and running into issues with neighbors at later stages.

“It’s about verification,” McEwen said.

The DRC agreed to continue their support in front of the ZBA today as long as documentation of the five supporters was presented by this morning. 

The issue of the eastern façade of the new squash court building, which faces Willow Grove Avenue, was also discussed again. Jim Bogrette of Kimmel Bogrette, the principal architect for the project, provided a first draft for landscaping that would be planted close to the eastern façade to block a view of it from Willow Grove Avenue.  Members of the committee took issue with various aspects of the landscaping.

“I just don’t think it’s balanced (with the rest of the club),” said Elizabeth Bales of the Streescapes Committee.  “I don’t love it,” she said.

Other members agreed that the landscaping could be better designed. Bogrette reminded the committee that the design was only in the beginning stages.

“At the end of the day we all have difference opinions, that’s why Baskin Robbins has 150 different kinds of ice cream,” Primavera said. “You’re never going to get 100 percent approval from everyone.”

Primavera said that the club should have some degree of freedom in determining which landscape designs they think are suitable for their club.

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