318 E Durham Street Zoning Variance Request – Trying to Shoe-Horn 8 Apartments Into Small 50 by 80 foot Single Family House Lot

E Durham Street is a quiet residential street in East Mt Airy that includes single family houses and apartments next to SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill East Rail Lines’ Sedgwick Station.

The 93 unit Sedgwick Station Apartments complex has been in the neighborhood since the 1950s and occupies most of the block bounded by E Mt Pleasant Ave, Ardleigh, Sprague and E Durham Streets, except for 2 residential properties: 318 E Durham and 7131 Sprague Streets.

318 E Durham Street Vicinity

Here’s a blow up of the 318 E Durham Street single family  house that the owners of Sedgwick Station Apartments, Galman Group, purchased in 2010 and started renting it out in 2013.

318 E Durham Street House – Purchased by Galman Group in 2010, started renting in 2013.

The 318 E Durham Street Lot is just 55 feet by 80 feet. Galman Group, in their 8/7/18 L&I Zoning/Use Registration Application (link) requested to:

  1. Demolish the existing single family house
  2. Construct an 8 unit apartment building with sales and management office space of  for Galman Group’s 6 Mt Airy apartment complexes.
  3. Install a stationary sign above on the North wall of the proposed building.

318 E Durham Street lot is zoned RSA-3, so L&I refused Galman Group’s request on 8/20/18 (link). L&I found 5 refusal items not in compliance with the Philadelphia zoning code:

L&I Refusal Notice for 318 E Durham Street – 8/20/18

Galman Group promptly submitted an appeal to the ZBA refusal (link) on 8/23/18. Near neighbors were notified of Galman’s ZBA appeal by letter addressed to Current Resident on 9/20/18 (link)

Fitting 8 Apartments and Office in 50 ft by 80 ft Lot

Galman Group is requesting to construct 8 apartment units in a 50 ft by 80 ft lot. They hope to apply RM-2 zoning to their RSA-3 zoned lot.

Zoning in 318 E Durham Street Vicinity

Galman Group wants to demolish the existing single family and construct a new building that extends to the property lines on 3 sides. Here’s a comparison of the existing house and Galman Group’s planned new building:

Galman Groups wants to squeeze 8 apartments into a small 50-by 80 foot lot, ignoring the RSA3 zoning and the residential nature of E Durham Street.

E Durham Street Neighbors are concerned, upset and mobilized. We have:

  • Organized into a multi-block neighborhood group ready to take action
  • Gathered over 70 signatures to our petition
  • Attended EMAN’s RCO meeting on October 2nd in force. Since Galman Group could not answer neighbors zoning variance questions because they did not have an attorney attend the meeting, EMAN requested a continuance of the RCO meeting  until November 20th when Galman is expected to discuss the zoning issues with neighbors.
  • We will continue our fight to Say No To 318 E Durham Street Demolition

 

CleanPHL Litter Index Community Training

Here’s are PowerPoint files of my talk at the July 26, 2018 Litter Index Community Training.

  • Revised Slides to improve map readability (Link)
  • Original Talk Slides (Link)

 

 

 

Plastic Marine Debris – Wildlife Killer

EPA’s National Trash Free Waters Program  is described in this PDF (link)
epa_trash_free_1

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Troubled Waters Videos

 

 

Stormwater Contribution to Microplastics – 2 California Studies

We intuitively know that much of the plastic litter on our city streets will be carried by stormwater runoff to our creeks and rivers. We also know that macro plastic breaks down into microplastics (< 5 mm) and that researchers have found elevated levels in freshwater and marine waters across the globe.

Unfortunately there is little peer reviewed research into the direct link between stormwater runoff and microplastic levels in river and coastal bays.

Two California microplastic studies conducted by Algalita Marine Research Foundation (link) conducted in 2000 – 2001 demonstrate the role that stormwater runoff plays in Southern California coastal water and shows why we need aquatic microplastic research   in the Schuylkill – Delaware Basin.

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Logan Triangle Illegal Dumping Action Plan

Logan Triangle, like many areas in Philadelphia, suffers from excessive illegal dumping.

At the Logan Civic Association meeting on May 14th, local residents complained about this long term problem and asked for action.

Based on District 8 Trash Task Force meetings, personal investigations and Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet information, I have assembled the attached Logan Triangle Illegal Dumping Action Plan to help focus our efforts to tackling the Logan Triangle and wider dumping crisis.

Key points from this draft plan:

  1. Six Illegal Dumping Control Actions are available to communities and the City
    1. Encourage community Philly311 reporting
    2. Engage Area Block Captains (8 in Logan Triangle vicinity)
    3. Engage SWEEP officers to assess Logan Triangle situation & make recommendations
    4. Illegal Dumping, Truck Parking Signs
    5. Enhanced Barriers (specific recommendations for Logan Triangle provided)
    6. Surveillance Cameras ( 4 proposed for Logan Triangle)
  2. Logan Triangle has many specific dumping hot spots. 8 action areas have been identified to begin coordinated community – City efforts. Additional action areas will be added as we progress
  3. Specific action plans have been developed for each of the initial 8 action areas.
  4. There are 8 Block Captains in the Triangle vicinity. They could provide valuable insight and leadership to our efforts if the Streets Department can facilitate communication between these Block Captains and the District 8 Trash Task Force.
  5. SWEEP officers have extensive experience assessing trash sources and corrective actions which can help the community efforts. Can the Streets Department facilitate communication between SWEEP officers and the District 8 Trash Task Force?
  6. Streets placed dozens of concrete barriers around Logan Triangle to limit access to the open land. This report identifies several locations where dumpers are able to bypass the barriers to dump. Specific recommendations are included to move, realign and/or remove barriers by action area.
  7. Philly311 has accepted multi-block illegal dumping requests and currently is processing requests for 3 of the 8 action areas in Logan Triangle.
  8. 4 surveillance camera locations are recommended. Can Streets and Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority expedite camera deployment to these 4 Logan triangle locations?

Logan Triangle Photo Trash Survey

Logan Civic Association meeting on May 14, 2018 will discuss Illegal Dumping in Logan Triangle.

I conducted a photo trash survey of Logan Triangle on May 8th.  There are dozens of illegal dump sites in City streets and sidewalks as well as on Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) property. Here’s a summary of the survey: