On Friday, March 19, 1999 there was an article in the Philadelphia Daily News that was a justification of what our community has been saying all along. It maintained that we need strategies to promote neighborhood commercial corridors. We do not want to see a deterioration of the business strip, but, on the other hand, what about the impact on the infrastructure of the homes in our neighborhood? We need programs to finance a policy regarding rundown houses and violators of the city's housing codes. You should not wait until a neighborhood falls apart. It's better to promptly deal with two properties on the block as opposed to ten. The Manayunk Development Corporation has not been an effective "neighborhood" developer as they preach home ownership yet we see rental after rental. Although there was a surge of home buying in the 80's, we have seen a decline in the late 90's. So what do we do about the problem?
1. Support your churches and schools in the area.
2. Give your new neighbors the information on trash pick-up days and any other directives that could make their infiltration into the community an easier transition.
3. MNC is putting together a traffic and parking committee. All data gathered by the committee (there's always room for more volunteers) will be transferred to the city and state authorities to be processed.
4. Keep open the line of communication. Encourage new neighbors to join their local civic.
5. Contact a local realtor about the purchasing of a home and for a good way of financing it. We have a real estate agent on the board of MNC who would delighted to give you professional advice. Contact Liz Turella at 482-4698.
MNC meets the first Wednesday of the month. April's meeting will be on the 7th at 7:30 PM at the North Light Community Center located at 175 Green Lane in Manayunk. There is parking available for the meeting in the lot at St. Mary's on Carson Street. It is nominations night for the upcoming elections, so if you are interested in a position or know someone you believe would be effective in a position, please attend the meeting. You must be a member and have your dues paid at this meeting in order to vote in the May elections.
Kathy Tomosky, President
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The April 7th meeting of MNC will feature Wendy Lathrop, professional land surveyor, of Friends of the Manayunk Canal. Ms. Lathrop will present federal, state, regional and city floodplain regulations regarding development on Venice Island. The Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) designates the island in a floodway. Ms. Lathrop is a licensed land surveyor in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. She has 25 years of experience that covers a broad range of projects. Ms. Lathrop serves on state and national FEMA boards. Ms. Lathrop's presentation will inform us of the hazards of developing in the floodway. She will offer alternatives to developer's plans and give us a better understanding of our rights as citizens. We can use this information to assist us in making informed decisions regarding the future of Venice Island and to communicate our concerns to federal, state, and local agencies.
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The brochures have been out for three months. If you haven't seen one, you are probably not parking your car on the sidewalk. It is time to take back the sidewalks and get the law enforced.
Manayunk Neighborhood Council requests that residents report violations. Call 911 to report illegally parked cars. When you call, give the address of the block the car is parked on and the make and color of the car. You will not be required to give your name or address. These calls will not be considered high priority and police may not respond immediately. However, they will respond.
Residents can lead the campaign to improve our neighborhood by making some simple phone calls. Let's show our concern for pedestrians and pride in our community.
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All of Venice Island is a floodway designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At a meeting presented by Friends of the Manayunk Canal, Wendy Lathrop, a professional land surveyor, explained existing federal, state, and local regulations regarding building on floodways. These regulations will be taken into consideration during the review of any plans for the island. Ms. Lathrop will make a presentation at the April 7 meeting of MNC.
Property rights are often mentioned in discussions of development. Zoning regulations restrict what a property owner can do with their land. The public is part of the political process required for changes to existing zoning codes. Realen's plans for Venice Island will require extensive changes to the existing zoning. It is our duty to be involved in the zoning process.
The Wissahickon watershed has specific regulations listed in the Philadelphia Zoning Codes. The Schuylkill watershed should be defined similarly. Roxborough Green Space Alliance is working on plans for the Schuylkill watershed in upper Roxborough. The committee will research the possibility of extending the watershed to include Manayunk.
In addition the Committee was concerned about protecting the history of Manayunk and Venice island. A study will be done to determine the historic value of the entire island.
Natural areas deserve protection in our densely populated neighborhood. Natural areas improve the quality of life for residents, provide habitat for wildlife, and purify our environment. We need to preserve our scarce existing green space.
The entire Realen project is only accessible by the two lane Cotton Street bridge. This will restrict access of emergency vehicles and increase traffic at Main and Cotton Streets.
It was decided that MNC oppose this development. Flooding, traffic, increased density, safety, history, and the environment will be affected by the Realen project. We will continue our research to establish a comprehensive report to support our decision before notifying those involved. The committee will then write letters to city, state and federal agencies to notify them of our concerns for the proposed development on Venice Island.
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Restoration Hardware requested approval for a variance to hang banners in front of their store. They did a beautiful job in renovating the building. However, there was concern over the need for additional signage and the effect of banners on the street. Art Verbrugghe, Corresponding Secretary for MNC, sent a letter of opposition to Restoration Hardware's corporate office, their Main Street store, and their architect.
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A presentation was made before Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association for a proposed project at 3811 Main Street. The plans include 63 apartments, a two level restaurant, five retail stores, and a 141 car, five story, parking structure.
Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association approved this proposal with several specific conditions. We felt that MNC should take a position on this because it is in our area of focus and effects our residents.
We opposed the project for the following reasons. Although the property is located in an industrial area the proposed development will add too much additional density to an already dense neighborhood. The addition of over 100 cars will add to existing traffic congestion. The proposed height of 60 feet will exceed the 35 foot, three story height regulation as stated in the zoning overlay (section 14-1615) of the Philadelphia Code. Existing structures in that area already exceed 35 feet, however, we support the height restrictions in the code for all new buildings.
There are additional considerations as well. The development may be required to comply with Flood Plain Controls and existing structures on the site are unique may be able to receive historic designation. We are researching the history of the building and its site.
We oppose the project and request a vote be taken at the April 7 meeting.
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April 4, 1999, Easter Sunday 3rd Annual Manayunk in Bloom
May 15, 1999, Saturday 27th Annual Canal Day
June 4 & 5, 1999, Friday & Saturday Manayunk Cycling Celebration
June 6, 1999, Sunday U.S. Pro Cycling Championship
June 12, 1999, Saturday MNC Beef n Beer at the Manayunk Club (tentative)
June 26 & 27, Saturday & Sunday 10th Annual Manayunk Arts Festival
September 12, 1999, Saturday MNC Picnic in Pretzel Park
September 26, 1999, Sunday 8th Annual Indian Summer Feast (Rain Date October 3)
October 31, 1999, Sunday Annual Trick or Treat Street
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MIXED PAPER -
PLASTICS - plastic beverage and laundry containers only (marked 1 or 2)
CLOTHING & TEXTILES - clothing, linens, domestics, fabric remnants (place in plastic bag and mark CLOTHING)
(between Ridge Avenue and Mitchell Street)
The Philadelphia Partnership Recycling Program is a joint effort of the Central Roxborough Civic Association and the City of Philadelphia. Income from the program will be spent on community projects.
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