In an, at times contentious, meeting of the Frankford Civic Association on April 4th, the membership voted unanimously to oppose the opening of a Crown Fried Chicken at 4731 Griscom Street. Turnout was unusually large with some members carrying signed petitions of opposition already circulated and in hand.
The owner’s representative made a presentation to the group for a variance for use of the property for take out service. Although the legal address is on Griscom Street the store would be located in what was formerly Lee’s shoe repair at Oxford and Griscom.
Residents of that block of Griscom Street spoke out vehemently against the variance. Gary and Sandra both cited the history of drugs and violence which plagued the area last year with 3 murders during that time. Recent months have shown improvement and they do not want to see a business open which they believe will lead to a return to the bad old days. They made it clear that the issue is not personal to this owner but would be the same for any business keeping late hours for take out food. These businesses belong on a commercial corridor and not at the end of a residential block.
In another case, the owner of 1728 Orthodox is seeking a variance to build a one story garage for storage of two small trucks and equipment used in his contracting business. He made his presentation but the membership voted to oppose that use although the vote was not unanimous. The objections centered on the fact that it is a busy residential block with occupied houses on both sides of the now empty lot.
There was a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting to commemorate the loss of four board members since November of 2010. Thelma Young, Frances Clay, Kevin Walch and Steve McClintock all actively served to Civic. Representative James Clay, son of Frances Clay, also said a few words.
Penny Colgan-Davis, Principal of Frankford Friends School, spoke about some exciting plans for the school.
Zoning hearings for the properties discussed at this meeting will be held at the Zoning Board of Adjustment offices at 1515 Arch Street on the 18th floor on Wednesday April 17th . 1708 Orthodox Street is scheduled for 4PM. 4731 Griscom is scheduled for 5PM. The hearing is open to the public.
The next meeting of the Frankford Civic Association will be held on May 2nd at 7PM at Aria Hospital.
2 thoughts on “Frankford Civic Passes on Crown”
When a person or group applies for zoning variances they have to attend and present at neighborhood meetings; usually the local civic association. Many of these applications involve the opening or changing of business plans; in which many neighborhood groups are asked to make a tough decision. Their decision can ultimately affect how a street, series of blocks, or even the entire neighborhood is used for decades. Many of these cases are looked at with extreme skepticism, and residents are left to determine what the applicant’s real motivation is. Is he/she legitimate, is he/she honest, and is he/she from the neighborhood, why did they choose this location? I was speaking with a good friend of mine who is the President of a local civic, in which his group heard a presentation from an entrepreneur who wished to open a takeout food establishment. He told me his group was unanimously opposed to this idea; which got me wondering. Why would any neighborhood turn away someone who wanted to open up a business in a neighborhood that could use a few jobs? Why would they
not want a business in a presently empty building? Of course the applicant said they just want to make money selling their food; pretty simple right? So I looked into the location of the proposed eatery and I knew right away why the neighborhood opposed this. Directly across the street from this place, that would be open from the early morning until 2AM according to their application, are homes. People don’t want to live across the street from a bustling business with lights, noise, and traffic at 1AM. As I look further into this block I realize this is the same street where people have been murdered, where drugs are sold openly, and residents are already prisoners in their own homes. Now it is widely known that late night takeout establishments do something other than sell food; they create a reason for people to loiter at a location; “Hey officer, I’m just waiting on my food.” They create an opportunity for drugs to be sold openly. If anyone finds this concept hard to believe; ask a drug dealer, they will confirm it. The last red flag was the fact that the proposed location lies 1 block from the main business artery in this neighborhood. Any wise business person knows that you have your best chance of success where most of the people are; why not open up there? So it leads me to the same conclusion as my friend and the members of his group; this place is banking on proceeds from drug dealers, protection money in a sense. Is that the applicant’s true motivation; is that their business model? I hope not; but why should an already distraught neighborhood allow a business with these hours open across the street from their homes; they shouldn’t. This neighborhood is lucky it has people like my friend who delve deep into what people are doing and what is best for everyone who lives there. He will take criticism from some for his decisions; but when you look at what much of the neighborhood has become criticism is the least of his worries.
Thank you for this excellent analysis. There are some who will characterize the actions of the neighbors at anti business. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are defending the neighborhood from the wrong kind of business for this location. If Frankford is to move forward, it will only do so when the neighbors come together, drive the criminals out and bring good businesses back.
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