UPDATE (April 14, 2016): After reading this post, SHCA zoning chair Barry Grossbach wrote to clarify the new boundaries. He wrote:
“Read your description of our proposed boundary expansion and it might be a bit misleading. It suggests that we are expanding into neighborhoods south of Woodland Avenue. To the contrary, we specifically said that we did NOT want to encroach on West Shore, and that our concern was to have some say on development on the south side of Woodland Avenue. There are specific criteria that City Planning has to use in drawing RCO boundaries, so they followed the procedure that imposes the most minimal intrusion into any residential area ( a block or two adjacent to USciences campus). Almost all of what would be designated as West Shore is NOT included in this proposed expansion.”
The Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) passed a resolution on Tuesday night that extends its jurisdiction as a “registered community organization” (RCO) to the neighborhoods south of Woodland Avenue. That means it now will likely weigh in on important zoning issues along Woodland, including the University of the Sciences’ plans to build a large dormitory complex on the site of the former Alexander Wilson school at 46th and Woodland.
RCOs are in place around Philadelphia to facilitate public debate over proposed development and while their recommendations are not binding, they are considered during Zoning Board of Adjustment hearings.
SHCA zoning chair Barry Grossbach told the organization’s board last night that the city’s Planning Commission supports the boundary extension. The commission will have to approve the resolution.
SHCA’s boundaries as an RCO, which had previously stopped at the northern side of Woodland Avenue, will extend south to the train tracks south of the USciences’ campus. USciences plans to construct several buildings over the next decade or so and it has been unclear which RCOs would consider the proposals.
– Mike Lyons