5-7 W. Mount. Airy Ave.
Applicant: Kenniah Chestnut, 150 Monument Road-Unit 207, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Owner: L B S Realty Assoc LT, 1424 Heron Way, Chalfont, PA 18914.
Appeal to Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment: Application No. ZP-2022-012520
Zoning Board of Adjustment Calendar No. MI-2022-007450
WMAN RCO MEETING RESCHEDULED FROM 7/5/2023 TO 8/2/2023:
West Mt. Airy Neighbors Zoning Committee Meeting: 8/2/2023 @ 7:00 PM on IN PERSON at the Summit Presbyterian Church, 6757 Greene St., corner of Greene and Westview Streets. The entrance for the meeting is on Greene St.
ZBA Hearing is scheduled for 8/9 at 9:30 AM on ZOOM
The appeal requests to use the property as an event hall which requires a Special Exception under the Assembly and Entertainment category in the Commercial Use provisions of the Philadelphia Zoning Code.
The last approved use for this property on August 23, 2018 was “for a day care center not more than 24 consecutive hours with accessory preparation and serving of food at 2 nd floor in the same building with house of worship at first floor. No sign on the application.”
The Zoning Classification for the property is CMX 2.5 (Neighborhood Commercial Mixed-Use)
This application to the Department of Licenses and Inspections was REFERRED to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a Special Exception Approval on November 17, 2022.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
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 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.