Yesterday, we got the unfortunate news that Jason Nusbaum's sensible proposal for 2300 South St. was denied by the ZBA. This makes us sad.
For those of you that don't recall, this project first came up last summer when the developer presented plans to SOSNA for a five story building with ground floor commercial across the street from Catharine Thorn Park. After meetings with neighbors, community groups, et al, the developer removed the top story of the building, reducing the project to eighteen units above a flexible but large commercial space on the first floor. Back then, we heaped praise on the project, designed by Plumbob, calling it an appropriate building that anchors the Grays Ferry Triangles area. And it would have certainly represented an upgrade from the mishmash on the corner today.
But some near neighbors stood in strong opposition to the project. They didn't like that it sought an extra eight feet of height over what was allowed by the zoning code. And they rejected the additional five units proposed over what was permitted by right, citing traffic and parking concerns. A flyer near the site in advance of the zoning hearing suggested that the project was only good for the developer, and not the neighborhood at large. Agree to disagree.
Two zoning hearings and more than six hours later, testimony concluded on this project back in mid-December. After the second hearing, the developer agreed to have the ZBA hold their decision for thirty days in case some compromises could be reached with the community in the meantime. Nothing happened there. Astonishingly, it took the ZBA almost three and a half additional months after those thirty days to issue a ruling on this project, which came in the form of a denial last week.
At Plazapalooza this weekend, we'll be spending some quality time near this corner. And we'll be thinking about what could have been, and wondering will eventually happen.