Stober echoed the feeling of a lot of South Philly residents since the new apartment proposal was first announced last month. This week, a petition posted by the urbanist political action committee, 5th Square calling for “No driveways in the Italian Market” had garnered over 400 signatures.
“This is a community that is already feeling sore about this project, which was originally proposed as 72 units,” Stober said. Regardless, at a recent community meeting an overwhelming majority of residents said they would be okay with a six or eight-story building, as long as the garage entrance was on Washington Avenue, he added.
“This is too important to the longterm future of this neighborhood,” Stober said.
Suzanne Tavani, another resident and member of the civic association, expressed support for the nature of the project.
“I along with other neighbors welcome projects that could be transformative and reconnect the southern half of the Italian Market, and reconnect us with our other neighbors on the northern end of the Italian Market,” Tavani said.
But, like Stober, she worried about the lasting impact of the driveway, saying that it could “forever change” the pedestrian nature of the southern half of the market.
Tavani raised the concern about future developments, saying that the southern half of the market could become a series of apartment buildings with driveways off 9th Street.
“As zoning chair I don’t see.... how I could refuse a drive aisle to a future developer. Today’s decision is precedent setting.”
CDR members who spoke mostly praised the design for the building, apart from the awnings, which CDR member Ashley DiCaro said she “hated” due to the their drabness. CDR Chair Nancy Rogo-Trainer called the size of the building “perfectly appropriate” for Washington Avenue.
The CDR asked Midwood to revise the plans and return for another review next month.