Frankford Civic had their regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday January 8th. Attendance was once again high with over 30 people in the meeting room. The main issues were as follows:
- Jason Dawkins of Councilperson Quinones-Sanchez office presented information on changes taking place with the zoning board. The council office will attempt to resolve disputes between zoning applicants and the Civic Association prior to a zoning hearing. This involves the applicant appearing at a civic meeting to present their position and the civic working with them to resolve any issues so that a prompt decision can be rendered by the zoning board at the first hearing.
- Mr. Dawkins also announced that a Frankford stakeholders meeting will be held on Tuesday January 13th to discuss issues common to all of us in Frankford. The meeting is by invitation only. Ms Quinones-Sanchez opinion of the Frankford stakeholders was laid our recently in a piece on phillyskyline.com
- A presentation was made by Terry Devlin on behalf of CORA at Adams Avenue seeking support for the establishment of a childcare center at that location.
- A presentation was made by Tom Citro on behalf of the owner of 4740 Frankford Avenue for the conversion of a portion of a ground floor store into 2 new 600 square foot apartments.
- A presentation was made by the owner of 4707 Frankford Avenue for support for a new take our rotisserie business. It will have eat in seating available as well. The owner also owns another business on the Avenue.
- A presentation was made by the owner of 4304-06 Frankford Avenue for support for a hostel style of residence.
- Several other zoning issues were discussed in general terms.
The quote from phillyskyline regarding Frankford stakeholders:
But Quiñones-Sánchez, who speaks with a mixture of warmth and urgency, is worried that the Frankford leaders lack the capacity to implement changes. “We can move this forward, but I’m not going to spin my wheels,” she says. So she’s giving the Special Services District and the Frankford Community Development Corporation, two entities who in the recent past have had difficulty working together (a matter of longstanding personal differences, according to Quiñones-Sánchez), additional time to build consensus and institutional capacity. “It’s a lot more difficult than just talking together.”
Like many inside the administration of Mayor Michael Nutter and several of those on City Council, Quiñones-Sánchez is reconsidering the effectiveness of a community development program that’s rigidly neighborhood-focused. Pure bottom-up planning and local control hasn’t stemmed urban decline; instead it’s led to fragmented community development and inefficiency. At worst, it puts taxpayer money in the hands of those ill-equipped to manage redevelopment and the provision of social services. Top-down planning has the advantage of rational decision-making. “I want to deal with data,” notes Quiñones-Sánchez.
She’d like to imagine, therefore, that she can put into place a district-wide or even city-wide plan to clean and manage primary retail streets, to coordinate capital improvements, to build new housing that responds to a global aspiration for the city’s future. But as we’ve seen Mayor Nutter struggle recently to eliminate 11 library branches without neighborhood consultation, a top-down approach may be simply inconsistent with the broad and intransient power of ward and neighborhood-based politics.
It also risks alienating those who work the hardest to improve the city. “Some of the most talented work under the radar,” explains Quiñones-Sánchez. That’s why she hopes to compel Frankford’s four leading community-based organizations — the SSD and CDC as well as the Civic Association and the Frankford Business and Professional Association — to come together under a shared agenda. If that doesn’t work, she tells me, “Guys, new rules.”
The next Civic meeting is scheduled for Thursday February 5th.