The hearing at the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the 1522-24 church Street application was scheduled for 4:00 pm Wednesday. This issue goes all that way to March of this year when we became aware of the new owners plan to use the properties for recovery houses. Since the houses are near a church, school and home for young girls, it did not sound like a good idea. Margie Rivera who is lives closest to the houses did not think it was a good idea either. She was besieged at all hours of the day and night by noise in the house next door and people coming and going at all hours of the day and night.
The houses are zoned as single family dwellings and cannot be used to house more than three unrelated people. Neighbors observed many men living there. At some point, the men were moved out and women moved in. The owner then applied to convert the houses into duplexes that would have permitted six people to legally live in each one. The community came together to oppose that maneuver.
Petitions, letters from city, state and federal officials and all other stake holders were collected and a hearing was scheduled. The owner sent a request for a delay at the first hearing. At yesterday’s hearing the attorney for the owner sent a notice that he was withdrawing from the case. The owner did not attend and the case was dismissed.
Attending the hearing were Pete Specos, Tim Savage and Brian Wisniewski from the Frankford Civic, Margie Rivera, Rita Lugrine and Joe Fernandes Legislative Assistant from Maria Quinones Sanchez office. This campaign took a great deal of effort on the part of the civic to coordinate the drive. They all should be applauded. The unsung here in this is really Margie Rivera who stepped up and just said no.
This is not over however. Now the line is clearly drawn. No more than three unrelated people in those houses. L&I has to enforce this. We will see how it goes. You can be sure that the community is watching.