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.