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What's the Plan for 368 Lyceum Ave.

Central Roxborough Civic Association discusses three new houses set.

Resident may oppose plans for a demolition and new homes at 368 Lyceum Ave., but at this point, there may be little they can do about it.

An uncharacteristically large crowd attended the Central Roxborough Civic Association Thursday night, where the Andy Thomas project brought many to Leverington Presbyterian Church.

Thomas received zoning permission to build three homes at the site of 368 Lyceum Ave., according to city records. As Patch previously reported, the plan is permitted by right and the developer did not need neighborhood permission to knock down the Gothic home.

Similar to a proposed demolition at 5901 Ridge Ave, neighbors oppose the move and say they are tired by local development.

Don Simon, who contacted the developer, shared Thursday night what Thomas specifically plans for the site:

  • Three single-family homes—one set of twins and one separate building
  • A shared driveway between the twin and other home
  • Six parking rear spaces, two a piece

Before he detailed the plans, Simon said he was not acting as mouthpiece for Thomas. Rather he wanted to share the reality.

"He knows what my feeling is toward crappy townhouses with garages out front where people don't use them, then park across the sidewalk. This has parking out back and the homes will face Lyceum Avenue," he said.

Additionally, Simon said Thomas—based upon the property's size—could have built more homes by right but opted against it.

That phase—"by right"—was a source of frustration for residents who say developments are popping up everywhere in Manayunk and Roxborough.

Helen Mangelsdorf, who flyered the neighborhood encouraging people to attend the civic meeting, says the law hurts Roxborough.

"The nature of the new zoning code allows people to build these buildings, but it's not right. They are killing the neighborhood... How can neighbors have no recourse with these developments?" she asked.

Thinking of the bigger picture, residents threw around a few ideas—inviting the Preservation Alliance or the City Planning Commission to a meeting. Also, they discussed looking into an historic overlay district that makes demolition tougher.

Simon said residents need to be engaged earlier in the process.

"You can't wait for the permits to come out and then scream bloody murder. We need to look for symptoms earlier," he said.

The CRCA next meets Dec. 6. 

Debbie Thomas November 04, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I would rather see the college students renting in the older homes than see them demolished. I am sure you are in the minority with your opinion Derek. It would be a different story if many of the new homes didn't look like someone with a Lego addiction designed them.
Mackey Sasser November 05, 2012 at 01:59 AM
I hope he paints it that bright lime green color they used on Ridge Avenue.
Kristen November 13, 2012 at 02:18 AM
I grew up in this home. I've had alot of great and bad memories from it. It saddens me to see how it was treated and demolished after we left.
Kevin November 13, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I love old architecture. In particular, I love old well-built homes. But I think that this is a situation where I have to put my love of old homes aside and accept the beneficial changes that 3 new homes will bring to this community. I don't think that Derek is in the minority with his opinion. Many of the young professions moving to Many/Rox share his view. How would irresponsible college kids renting 1poorly aging house students bolster our community? Ok, I'll admit that they spend a small fortune on pizza and beer every month which is good for businesses I guess. But wouldn't it be preferable in the long term if we had young professional/families in 3 homes here instead? Those are exactly the kinds of people that we need in our community; people that buy homes, pay taxes, put down roots, start families, spend lots of money at local businesses (not just za and beer either) and also get involved with neighborhood civic associations.
Dave May 06, 2013 at 07:11 PM
I am a real estate developer and sometimes the cost of rehabbing a property out weighs the properties value. Building new homes not only brings in new buyers but also increases the tax base and benefits the community more. As for design the reason most new homes look like some one with a lego addiction builds them is because many of the newer environmentally friendly and energy star design houses utilize a more block like design, you have less wasted space and also a better environmental footprint.

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