This appeal involves obtaining a Special Exception to permit use of 5-7 W. Mount Airy Ave. as an “Event Hall.” Under the Philadelphia Zoning Code, this type of use falls under a commercial use category of Assembly and Recreation which in turn requires that the applicant obtain approval from the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment(ZBA) before such use can begin. Any matter that involves obtaining a Special Exception from the ZBA also requires a community meeting to consider the proposed use occur before the ZBA hearing. WMAN is the designated Registered Community Organization (RCO) to conduct the community meeting on this matter. In advance of the RCO meeting, the applicant has provided an extensive Executive Summary for the event venue which will be called “J’Excellence Event Hall.” A portion of the Executive Summary reads as follows:
J’Excellence Event Hall is a full-service event venue that aims to become the leading brand in the banquet hall rental and event planning business in Philadelphia. With a goal of becoming one of the top ten event venues in the United States within ten years of operation, the company has located its unique venue in the Mount Airy subdivision of Philadelphia….J’Excellence Event Hall is an 8,900 square foot facility that can accommodate events of all sizes and offer personalized event planning services. The venue is located in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia, which is an ideal location due to its large residential community. The business will offer event management services for a variety of events, from backyard birthday parties to corporate events. Although J’Excellence Event Hall will initially serve individual clients and small businesses, the company has the potential to grow and compete with leading event planning and banquet hall rental companies in Philadelphia.
Under the Philadelphia Zoning Code, there is a distinction between obtaining approval for a use through a “Variance” as opposed to a “Special Exception.” In the case of a “Special Exception” the proposed use is generally permitted and those who would oppose the use must come forward to express in writing or in person at the community meeting and at the ZBA hearing why the use will have negative effects in the neighborhood. This will be discussed at the WMAN community meeting on August 2, 2023.