Victory came to the residents in the area of Hawthorne and Margaret Streets this Tuesday at a zoning hearing. A core group of activists has been working diligently for over two months in opposition to the zoning application of the owner of the property at 4691 Hawthorne Street to open a grocery store. This is the location of the former T&T bar which was the scene of repeated problems and finally the murder of Chris Spence.
Neighbors organized and collected 350 signatures on petitions opposing the zoning variance. Attending the hearing was a representative group of neighbors, Pete Specos (President of the Frankford Civic Association), Tim Savage and Scoot Clay (Democratic candidate for State Representative).
The case was dismissed before any testimony was heard from the opposition due to a lack of documentation on behalf of the applicant. The owners cannot apply for a variance for at least one year.
In a community meeting at Aria Hospital on August 16th over 30 residents came to voice their opposition to a zoning application for a grocery store at 4691 Hawthorne Street. This is for former location of the T&T bar which was the site of the murder of Chris Spence.
The opposition from the neighbors is based on the litter and loitering that inevitably come with a corner store, no matter how well run it may be. They note there there are as many as 16 grocery stores within a five block radius of that location now.
The neighborhood has been relatively quiet since the bar was shut down and the neighbors are very wary of any new business going into that location.
They listened politely to the presentation and then left declaring that there would be signed petitions at the next Frankford Civic Association meeting to document the depth of opposition in the neighborhood.
At the Frankford Civic meeting in September, the owners will make their presentation again. The neighbors will express their views and the the Civic will vote on whether to support or oppose the zoning variance.
The owners will still have the right to go to a zoning hearing for the case but with community opposition, their case would be more difficult.
The Frankford community is once again confronted by the issue of the property at 4691 Hawthorne Street which was formerly the T&T bar. The T&T was the scene of the murder of Chris Spence last year and a new owner has taken over the property with the intention of opening a grocery store. A zoning petition has been filed and therefore support from the Frankford Civic Association will be necessary for the use to be approved. Because of community concerns, a community meeting is being planned which is tentatively scheduled for April 24th at the 2nd Baptist Church at 1801 Meadow Street. The Civic will follow the will of the community as is determined at that meeting. When we have a final schedule for the meeting we will publish it here and on the community calendar.
In other news at the meeting, zoning issues occupied the board for the entire night. An application for an addition to the Love and Faith Church at 1680 Bridge Street was approved. Application for a carport at 5117 Torresdale Avenue was not approved. Application for a four family dwelling conversion at 2001 Bridge Street was not approved.
The application to sell beer at the Quickie Mart at Unity Street and Frankford Avenue was discussed by the board and members. The owner made a presentation at a Civic meeting earlier this year and has moved forward with his application. He has stated that he cannot continue to operate the business successfully without the additional revenue the beer sales would bring in. Numerous take out beer outlets already exist in that area and members are concerned.
The next meeting of the Frankford Civic Association will be on May 3rd at 7Pm at Aria Health.
Former T&T Bar
Mention of the T&T bar once again raised eyebrows at the Frankford Civic meeting on Thursday night. Neighbors have been watching with concern as work has been going on at the now closed bar at Margaret and Hawthorne Streets. It has been not quite a year since young Christopher Spence lost his life there in a senseless shooting. Jason Dawkins, Councilwoman Sanchez representative at the meeting assured everyone that the building was not ever going to open up as a bar again. The building is for sale and the community will have input as to its future use.
In other news at the meeting, the representative of the owner of Torresdale Appliance and Furniture (4571 Torresdale Ave.) presented their zoning case. The use of the building has changed and they are looking for support from the Civic. They board voted unanimously to
support their application.
Stephanie Clymer made a presentation on behalf of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership. From Manny Citron of PhillyRising, they are working on a community garden or gardens in Frankford that will hopefully be available in the Spring. From Edgardo Gonzalez of Tony Payton’s office, there is still interest from the The Center for Urban Theological Studiesin taking over the old Frankford Community Y building. No decision has been made as yet.
The next Frankford Civic meeting will be on March 1st at 7PM at Aria Health.
From the Inquirer today:
A preliminary injunction was granted yesterday by Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox to keep Deuces Lounge, the Frankford bar formerly known as T&T Lounge, closed after a court action to keep it closed for a year expired in March.
Police supervisors, detectives and a member of City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez’s office testified that they received numerous complaints or responded to several calls for service at the bar, on Hawthorne Street near Margaret.
The bar was the scene of the murder of Frankford High football star Christopher Spence, 20, last Feb. 19. Protesters, including Spence’s mother, were fired on a month later, injuring two. The bar manager, Shamus Armstead, was charged with assault, attempted murder and other charges.
That’s one small victory for Frankford.