FNA Zoning Community Meeting: Loco Pez

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 7:30pm to 8:00pm

A proposal for outdoor seating. This meeting will be held at the Fishtown Rec Center, 1202 E. Montgomery Ave. All residents of Fishtown are eligible to vote. Please bring proof of residence or business ownership in the form of a driver's license or a photo ID and a lease, utility bill, or recent piece of mail addressed to your home or business.

Comments

lighterthief's picture

oh God! this could be entertaining... I'm all for it but I dont get to vote or live across the street

Yay for outdoor margarita's in Fishtown!

meredith's picture

YAY

Kenzo's picture

Oh Christ. I'm stayin' outta this.

roma258's picture

This is gonna be epic!

lighterthief's picture

somebody should film this and use to to sell a pilot "Real Philly Zoning" reality show

stein's picture

eh, i dont know if i agree that the sidewalks are wide enough to accommodate pedestrians and outdoor seating around loco pez. i havent really spent much time looking at them, however, so maybe they are wider in reality than they are in my head.

codergrrl's picture

Sun and tequila, this could get dangerous.
Not sure if I want to be on display when I'm efaced.
That is a great corner, however, everybody goes by there at least once a day it seems.

lstriar's picture

If cars can park wherever they want at that cluster**** of an intersection and block people from crossing the street, I think some outdoor seating should be just fine.

codergrrl's picture

We can sit there and watch the people going west on Norris try to make the turn in front of Kerrigans so they can go east on Susquehanna, while there are five cars parked there.
Let the hilarity ensue. Become a professional accident witness.

Kenzo's picture

lighterthief wrote:
somebody should film this and use to to sell a pilot "Real Philly Zoning" reality show

You mean like the one I did for Point Breeze?

Newcomer's picture

stein wrote:
I havent really spent much time looking at them, however, so maybe they are wider in reality than they are in my head.

My head functions much like a rearview mirror too.

stbenjamin's picture

I hope this meeting won't be a nightmare. I'll go to support them either way.

Kenzo's picture

stbenjamin wrote:
I hope this meeting won't be a nightmare. I'll go to support them either way.

Oh these are usually fun. Does the rec center got a microwave? Bring popcorn.

I just checked the pavement on Street View. Here it is:
http://bit.ly/xnRPot

This won't be as good though as Coquette down in Queen Village. Years ago they decided to annex the traffic island in front of their store at 6th and Bainbridge. They put out tables (with tablecloth), had waiters shuffling back and forth across the street, the whole nine yards.

It had the drama level of proposing a nuclear waste dump AND a prison behind a bunch of people's houses.

codergrrl's picture

I imagine alot will have to do with exactly how many tables they want out there, but I could see them fitting at least two tables along each side wall. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

kwhln215's picture

No shot the neighbors will go for this . They lived thru hell while crazy fish was open . Even though its a different scene they will not like it

FishtownYo's picture

This is from the City Sidewalk Application:

On streets with a confirmed sidewalk width of thirteen (13) feet or less, at least five (5) feet of clear sidewalk space shall be maintained at all times to provide pedestrian access.

On streets with a confirmed sidewalk width or more than thirteen (13) feet, at least one-half the confirmed sidewalk width shall be maintained at all times to provide pedestrian access.

stein's picture

I drove past loco pez last night, the cedar side did seem like it was probably wide enough for some 2-tops, at least.

lighterthief's picture

It's all about hours. During the day/early evening it is great to have some activity on the street and not really more of a nuisance than people hanging out on their steps. Once it's bedtime for the kiddies it is important to remember that it is a family neighborhood and outdoor eating/drinking can be a real nuisance.

The empty new construction across the intersection with the deck looks like it was designed to have outdoor seating. That could make the forks a pretty happening place

codergrrl's picture

I long to see something go into there.

bozoloper's picture

anyone know what's up with that place?

fuzzybottoms's picture

bozoloper wrote:
anyone know what's up with that place?

I was wondering the same thing. I've heard zilch in zoning, but that isn't saying much since (1) not every project has to come through zoning and (2) I usually don't hear about things first. I agree it looks like a great space.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Why was this updated? Please verify what the change is. Thanks.

TLP's picture

I think the date of the meeting was corrected.

fuzzybottoms's picture

The time was changed from 8 pm to 7:30 pm.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Thanks for the replies. It would be so convenient if they would post what the reason for updates. Now I have to let people know the time change.

fuzzybottoms's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Thanks for the replies. It would be so convenient if they would post what the reason for updates. Now I have to let people know the time change.

I'll try to be better about posting more information (I'm the one who posts as fnazoning). We're super swamped right now, which has been the reason for some of the recent shuffling of meetings. All our meeting are set two weeks in advance, since we have to meet deadlines for the paper. I do try to post in advance of that time frame, though, to give people a heads up. Sometimes things change, unfortunately.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Fuzzy, I thought it was at 8 but then I wasn't too sure. And, of course, I didn't want to tell people it was changed when I didn't know what the change was; I don't want to always be the dumb blonde. :)

rinobio's picture

Eyes on the street are a good thing in the properly corralled enviroment as long as loco controls i see this as a positive thing and probably an awesome step in the right direction

gauler's picture

Should bring a tub of popcorn to this meeting. The comments are sure to be flying.

Kenzo's picture

Should I attend and bring some knitting to do?

$10 to anybody that says "I'll vote for it only if the chairs are going to be shaped like tacos."

codergrrl's picture

I'll vote for it if they supply me with tequila for life.

stbenjamin's picture

codergrrl wrote:
I'll vote for it if they supply me with tequila for life.

I might need to bring a flask of tequila to this one just to get through it

jbette01's picture

gauler wrote:
Should bring a tub of popcorn to this meeting. The comments are sure to be flying.

The meeting time should read 7:30-9ish.

fuzzybottoms's picture

jbette01 wrote:
gauler wrote:
Should bring a tub of popcorn to this meeting. The comments are sure to be flying.

The meeting time should read 7:30-9ish.

At least we don't have another meeting scheduled after it.

jbette01's picture

fuzzybottoms wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
gauler wrote:
Should bring a tub of popcorn to this meeting. The comments are sure to be flying.

The meeting time should read 7:30-9ish.

At least we don't have another meeting scheduled after it.

Agreed. Not that it means anything, but I am middle of the road on this project. I see substantial positive and negative. I hope the guys have their stuff together, it will be tough if they come to the meeting without plans, diagrams, etc.

fuzzybottoms's picture

jbette01 wrote:
fuzzybottoms wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
gauler wrote:
Should bring a tub of popcorn to this meeting. The comments are sure to be flying.

The meeting time should read 7:30-9ish.

At least we don't have another meeting scheduled after it.

Agreed. Not that it means anything, but I am middle of the road on this project. I see substantial positive and negative. I hope the guys have their stuff together, it will be tough if they come to the meeting without plans, diagrams, etc.

They were prepared at the screening. I'm really hoping this meeting can be a calm and controlled discussion.

Kenzo's picture

It won't. The arguments both for and against are going to be compelling. I have lived next door to cafe seating. It has its ups and downs. Old City residents can attest to that. I don't know how many times certain OC establishments have slowly swallowed up nearly the entire width of their pavements with ridiculous fixtures to the point where the pavement no longer has ADA passage, then neighbors have to scream at L&I and Streets to get the business smacked down, a little old man in a City vehicle has to turn up and act like Moses to part the sea of tables, chairs and the server's podium so people can walk past once again.

I used to live on Chestnut Street next door to cafe seating, albeit I was 10 stories up off the ground. Most of the noise that filtered into my windows that would bounce off the skyscrapers and go into my living room came from drunk girls getting their butts pinched walking to/from McGillian's, not the cafes on 13th Street.

But if I lived adjacent to Loco Pez, it would all depend on how I thought Loco Pez ran its business. I certainly wouldn't want to deal with smelling urine in my breezeway, etc. but this isn't an Irish bar. People mostly go there for the cheap tacos. It's also going to depend on which voting neighbors have actually stepped inside and visited Loco Pez and know the atmosphere and can draw reasonable conclusions on what may occur with the seating and with patrons being outside.

Loco Pez can only put tables on the long wall of their building. It is a violation of the City fire code to put them on their short wall; you cannot rest any heavy objects on basement traps because it's a fire escape route.

The Fishtown 5-way Intersection Of Doom does not have any commercial streets, even though there are 4 businesses located there. If neighbors approve, I think it will be the first time in 19125 that cafe seating has popped up deep inside a residential area (other than the table that Leotah's puts out).

codergrrl's picture

I'm not quite sure why you guys are predicting doom and gloom. I haven't heard one local complain about the Pez. Mostly they complain about all the cars that it brings, in regards to parking in front of Kerrigans, but not about the place itself. Its also the only new place in the hood where I consistenly see lifers coming and going, and enjoying.
I'm hoping you might be delightfully surprised. Be sure to post about it. I could be 100% wrong.

Kenzo's picture

coder in OC, cafe seating variances usually generate big zoning turnouts. They're always contentious. Maybe it won't be here but if other neighborhoods are any indication...

codergrrl's picture

I predict that if there is any contention, it will come from one family, who alread have a record of consternation when it comes to anything...unless of course, they've involved with it.

jbette01's picture

codergrrl wrote:
I'm not quite sure why you guys are predicting doom and gloom. I haven't heard one local complain about the Pez. Mostly they complain about all the cars that it brings, in regards to parking in front of Kerrigans, but not about the place itself. Its also the only new place in the hood where I consistenly see lifers coming and going, and enjoying.
I'm hoping you might be delightfully surprised. Be sure to post about it. I could be 100% wrong.

I didn't mean to be doom and gloom, but I can see how it came off like that.

One of the positives and negatives about our zoning process is that everyone can have their voice heard. I have been pretty impressed with many of the contentious meetings recently, but what we have lost in raised voices we have gained in meeting length.

FWIW, I think it's GREAT that Loco Pez has done well enough that they can substantiate the investment in staff, tables and other jazz to even consider this. It's a positive indicator about that corner, which will hopefully draw a tenant to the triangular outdoor patio building of weirdness.

codergrrl's picture

Kenzo...its called the Forks. Don't try to fancy it up any.

lstriar's picture

Hopefully some day worrying about building code enforcement will not affect zoning decisions. Not allowing commerce to expand because L&I doesn't do their job correctly is unfortunate, and something that should be fixed. In an ideal city, which we should always be striving towards, noise and ADA accessibility should not have to be regulated by zoning code.

stbenjamin's picture

jbette01 wrote:
[One of the positives and negatives about our zoning process is that everyone can have their voice heard.

No matter how crazy or uninformed their voice is.

Kenzo's picture

codergrrl wrote:
Kenzo...its called the Forks. Don't try to fancy it up any.

Pfft I wasn't the one who coined that it was Joe Quigley

Pure_Fishtown's picture

stbenjamin wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
[One of the positives and negatives about our zoning process is that everyone can have their voice heard.

No matter how crazy or uninformed their voice is.

In your opinion.

codergrrl's picture

Kenzo wrote:
codergrrl wrote:
Kenzo...its called the Forks. Don't try to fancy it up any.

Pfft I wasn't the one who coined that it was Joe Quigley

I need to shoot him an email, and let him know we're not all named Ray-Ray...bougie sell-out, now that he's in a real paper and all.

codergrrl's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
stbenjamin wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
[One of the positives and negatives about our zoning process is that everyone can have their voice heard.

No matter how crazy or uninformed their voice is.

In your opinion.

And experience.

Kenzo's picture

codergrrl wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
codergrrl wrote:
Kenzo...its called the Forks. Don't try to fancy it up any.

Pfft I wasn't the one who coined that it was Joe Quigley

I need to shoot him an email, and let him know we're not all named Ray-Ray...bougie sell-out, now that he's in a real paper and all.

Real rap.

jbette01's picture

codergrrl wrote:
Pure_Fishtown wrote:
stbenjamin wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
[One of the positives and negatives about our zoning process is that everyone can have their voice heard.

No matter how crazy or uninformed their voice is.

In your opinion.

And experience.

Your thoughts are the process are duly noted my friend. :)
I would argue that the zoning decision, albeit crappy at the time, has led you into bigger and better things. Your new building is seriously amazing and you will have a chance to grow there in a big way. It will be a destination brewery in a way that your house never could have been.... I'll drink to that.

codergrrl's picture

Kenzo wrote:
smelling urine in my breezeway, etc. but this isn't an Irish bar. .

Oh, that's right, Mexicans don't pee. And no Irish frequent the Pez, THANK GOD!

sdm's picture

I can't even follow what any of you are talking about anymore. Just going to ignore this thread from here on out.

lighterthief's picture

people should remember that the neighborhood input process is just that, input. It provides an advisory opinion to the ZBA who are free to consider the validity of that opinion. I think FNA has one of the most equitable and professional community zoning review processes in the city. No small task in a heavily developing neighborhood that like a good fight.

Kenzo's picture

Can we place bets on the outcome? bozo/lighter, how much you in for?

bozoloper's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Can we place bets on the outcome? bozo/lighter, how much you in for?

i think it'll pass, and i'll bet you one happy hour margarita.

codergrrl's picture

bozoloper wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
Can we place bets on the outcome? bozo/lighter, how much you in for?

i think it'll pass, and i'll bet you one happy hour margarita.

I'm with Boz, I think it will pass too. I too will bet one HH margarita. (Mostly because it will require me to attend another Pez HH.)

ExUnit4's picture

I'm just curious. When an establishment wants to do something like this do they notify the neighboring homes via mail?? And if so, how many blocks from the bar/business do they consider to be neighbors?
If one lived on a small side street say within a 300 Ft radius of the business would that not be considered a neighbor since their customers often park on that street. If one doesn't walk or drive past the bar might never know they were trying to expand outside , and not everyone in Fishtown knows about this site. YET!

fuzzybottoms's picture

ExUnit4 wrote:
I'm just curious. When an establishment wants to do something like this do they notify the neighboring homes via mail?? And if so, how many blocks from the bar/business do they consider to be neighbors?
If one lived on a small side street say within a 300 Ft radius of the business would that not be considered a neighbor since their customers often park on that street. If one doesn't walk or drive past the bar might never know they were trying to expand outside , and not everyone in Fishtown knows about this site. YET!

The zoning committee will flyer the area around a project the weekend prior to the FNA zoning meeting. We try to flyer the area within 500 feet of the project. In addition, we also send notices to the Star and the Spirit, plus post on here and the FNA's website. Messages often go out through FB and Twitter, too.

stbenjamin's picture

jbette01 wrote:
codergrrl wrote:
Pure_Fishtown wrote:
stbenjamin wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
[One of the positives and negatives about our zoning process is that everyone can have their voice heard.

No matter how crazy or uninformed their voice is.

In your opinion.

And experience.

Your thoughts are the process are duly noted my friend. :)
I would argue that the zoning decision, albeit crappy at the time, has led you into bigger and better things. Your new building is seriously amazing and you will have a chance to grow there in a big way. It will be a destination brewery in a way that your house never could have been.... I'll drink to that.

Oh, I've seen people lie and say made up things at other people's zoning meetings. That's why I try to go to the more contentious ones, to cancel out the vote of one person like that.

Kenzo's picture

That's the fun thing about zoning meetings; it's a Hyde Park Corner for just about anything.

The meetings are really there so you can meet the ZBA applicant in the flesh and ask pointed questions so you can decide whether or not you'll support the project. But on the contentious stuff it often turns into a Sunday morning talk show program.

Of course if you take it too far, the police can be called out (which has happened THREE times in Point Breeze in the last 12 months). But usually when you take zoning meetings out of the neighborhood and look at them from outside, they can seem ridiculous when you don't understand what the real arguments are about.

Like this morning's DN story about Ori Feibush and racial tension over a coffee shop.

Rich people neighborhoods are guilty of this, too. They bicker and argue about projects that people in other neighborhoods would die to have. I don't know how many times Society Hill neighbors have been bought off with lifetime parking spots for key members. That was happening a lot during the housing boom. Positive developments get turned down all the time because the ZBA applicant didn't get buy-in, sometimes it takes the form of a bribe.

It's also why Stampers Square will never see buildings on it, because the developer didn't want to dig a big enough hole and give free lifetime parking spots to all Society Hill residents near it.

Will Smith (yes, the Fresh Prince himself) at one point owned the Stampers Square lot and wanted to put a structure there with his partners---residents also booed that down. Nobody will tolerate that hole being developed because of parkingphobia.

(In front of Society Hill civic people, they get REALLY **tchy at me when I repeat this. They really are pretentious turds to want to leave a blank hole in their neighborhood like that, and past proposals did include residential parking. But, c'est la vie. It's their choice to have that lot like that.)

All in all, this is our process. This is the method we decided after Edmund Bacon died how we would carry out development in Philadelphia. It's not politically pretty, but nothing in life is.

Kenzo's picture

By the way, you can STILL have your voice heard if you do not agree with the opinion your Civic will issue.

You will have to turn up at the actual ZBA hearing down across from City Hall and formally testify in front of the ZBA. It is a formal hearing and it's run like a court proceeding. The animated and heated discussions that go on inside civic zoning meetings are absolutely not tolerated at a ZBA hearing, so you have to have a compelling and concise argument when you appear before them.

And it is certainly possible for a ZBA appeal to be denied based off of residents' testimony even though a civic issued a favorable opinion for the applicant. It has occurred before. On top of that, if you don't like how the ZBA rules, you can sue the City and the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Common Pleas court to have a decision overturned.

Fishtown neighbors have done that in the past. I can't remember if that happened to Awesometown or some other residential applicant, but it was down off Girard where the neighbors sued the ZBA to get the zoning changes blocked.

stbenjamin's picture

Kenzo wrote:
By the way, you can STILL have your voice heard if you do not agree with the opinion your Civic will issue.

You will have to turn up at the actual ZBA hearing down across from City Hall and formally testify in front of the ZBA. It is a formal hearing and it's run like a court proceeding. The animated and heated discussions that go on inside civic zoning meetings are absolutely not tolerated at a ZBA hearing, so you have to have a compelling and concise argument when you appear before them.

And it is certainly possible for a ZBA appeal to be denied based off of residents' testimony even though a civic issued a favorable opinion for the applicant. It has occurred before. On top of that, if you don't like how the ZBA rules, you can sue the City and the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Common Pleas court to have a decision overturned.

Fishtown neighbors have done that in the past. I can't remember if that happened to Awesometown or some other residential applicant, but it was down off Girard where the neighbors sued the ZBA to get the zoning changes blocked.

Yeah, people came out and lied about me to the ZBA, under oath no less.

Kenzo's picture

stbenjamin wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
By the way, you can STILL have your voice heard if you do not agree with the opinion your Civic will issue.

You will have to turn up at the actual ZBA hearing down across from City Hall and formally testify in front of the ZBA. It is a formal hearing and it's run like a court proceeding. The animated and heated discussions that go on inside civic zoning meetings are absolutely not tolerated at a ZBA hearing, so you have to have a compelling and concise argument when you appear before them.

And it is certainly possible for a ZBA appeal to be denied based off of residents' testimony even though a civic issued a favorable opinion for the applicant. It has occurred before. On top of that, if you don't like how the ZBA rules, you can sue the City and the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Common Pleas court to have a decision overturned.

Fishtown neighbors have done that in the past. I can't remember if that happened to Awesometown or some other residential applicant, but it was down off Girard where the neighbors sued the ZBA to get the zoning changes blocked.

Yeah, people came out and lied about me to the ZBA, under oath no less.

Yup and that's why the lawyers have to be thrown into the mix when it gets to that level.

Ori Feibush deals with Betty Beufort who files Common Pleas appeals of ZBA decisions and she pleads on 2-ply college rule paper, in scribble, all pro-se and files as a pauper so she doesn't have to pay court costs. She's yet to win a reversal of any ZBA approval but she keeps trying.

When Ori plans a project these days, he actually has to insert the timeframe into his schedule to allow for the "cray cray BS" between the zoning meeting and actually obtaining the permits.

People also accuse me of being pro-developer. I am neutral. I have a long laundry list of people in my head who I believe should NEVER be allowed to hold a deed to anything in this city, much less develop an outhouse here. Luckily though bad developers set a reputation for themselves that precedes them and it gets back to neighbors, who sometimes turn out at zoning meetings to thwart their development plans.

fuzzybottoms's picture

BUMP --- this is tomorrow at 7:30. Plan your happy hours accordingly.

jbette01's picture

I have seen the plans for proposed seating and I HIGHLY recommend everyone going.

lstriar's picture

Either they comply with code or they don't. Which is it?

If they comply, the only issue should be noise/crowd control.

meredith's picture

i really hope this passes. they could use a lot of extra seating, especially on tuesdays!

austen's picture

Agreeing with jbette after seeing the schematic.

jbette01's picture

The ordinance that city hall would have to pass overwrites the code.

All I will say is that there is a prolific amount of seating that is adjacent to bike racks. It will greatly impact that intersection.

As in any project, liking a business does not mean the variances they want are good for the community. I really like Loco Pez and spend a fair amount of my paychecks there. But I will always consider whether the development is responsible, measured and sustainable. Once something like this is granted, its pretty hard to go back.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

jbette01 wrote:
The ordinance that city hall would have to pass overwrites the code.

All I will say is that there is a prolific amount of seating that is adjacent to bike racks. It will greatly impact that intersection.

As in any project, liking a business does not mean the variances they want are good for the community. I really like Loco Pez and spend a fair amount of my paychecks there. But I will always consider whether the development is responsible, measured and sustainable. Once something like this is granted, its pretty hard to go back.

So glad to hear that Jbette. People need to realize it isn't always about YOUR needs or wants; please consider the people who will have to deal with the things 24/7.

This isn't just about Loco Pez, it is about everything that comes up. The neighbors around a particular thing deserve to be heard and deserve the respect.

lstriar's picture

I am confused. City Hall is passing an ordinance for this to overwrite the current building code? I don't understand what you are saying.

TLP's picture

Sidewalk seating is only allowed by permit in Center City and a few other places; this list of locations is part of the City Code. If you want sidewalk seating outside of those areas, you have to appeal to your Councilmember to draft an ordinance that essentially adds you to that list of allowable areas in the Code. Council likes to have a letter of community support before they draft such an ordinance, so we hold community meetings using the same process as a zoning variance.

After you get your ordinance, you still need to apply for a permit with the Streets Department. As part of that permit, your sidewalk seating must comply with the City Code's regulations on the public right-of-way. I don't remember all of the specifics, but basically you can only block up to 50% of the width of the sidewalk if you have a sidewalk seating permit.

It's a two-step process, which is confusing, but supporting the ordinance doesn't mean supporting a business to violate the City Code's right-of-way regulations.

bostongirl's picture

I love the idea of outdoor seating! Whenever I've been to Loco there has been a crowd. But not an unruly one. It seems to me that people are just there to eat some yummy tacos and have some drinks then move on for the night. I can understand noise being an issue for the neighbors but I really don't think it will be all that bad. Hope it passes!

lstriar's picture

Thank you. I think this process is important for people to understand.

The neighborhood should be voting on whether or not they want the ordinance. Obviously, how the plans look matter, but they have to be to code to get a permit regardless. So either they do or don't comply with code.

The issue isn't code compliance, the issue is does the neighborhood want to allow outdoor seating at this location. If they don't comply with code, even after they have the permit, the neighborhood has every right to file complaints.

ExUnit4's picture

So you obviously don't live within earshot of this place. Then again, perhaps you don't mind when a neighbor invites 30-40 people over and they sit on their front steps or back yard and yak for hours on end while drinking and geting louder and louder...let alone now blocking the sidewalk and parts of the curbline....day after day after day.

lstriar's picture

They are not allowed to block the sidewalk or other parts of the curb line. The ordinance will not allow them to do that.

The noise concern is valid. The City should be enforcing that with the code as well, but obviously responding to a noise complaint won't be their top priority.

austen's picture

I too love the place, but the seating being proposed is VERY ambitious.

bozoloper's picture

ExUnit4 wrote:
So you obviously don't live within earshot of this place. Then again, perhaps you don't mind when a neighbor invites 30-40 people over and they sit on their front steps or back yard and yak for hours on end while drinking and geting louder and louder...let alone now blocking the sidewalk and parts of the curbline....day after day after day.

just to be clear, do you feel that there is a noise issue at loco pez now? or do you just fear that outdoor seating will become a noise issue?

that sounds about like what my neighbors do now. sadly, unlike a bar they don't have to stop at 2.

Coder's picture

I've had neighbors who sat in their yard and yakked louder and louder...and there's pretty much nothing that can be done about it. I'm not aware of any laws they are breaking except for being rude, which thank god, is not a law. I really miss the guy who used to sit out and listen to jazz...that was nice.
Its one of the curses of getting up early, especially in the nice weather when you want to keep the windows open.

lstriar's picture

My guess is Loco Pez won't be allowed to have outdoor seating until 2. They shouldn't. Should be for people who are dining, and not past dining hours.

Coder's picture

Usually the noise ordinance kicks in at 10 pm, does it not? But I don't know how you modulate peoples voices...not on private property anyway, the bar may be different.

stein's picture

Allow me to ask a question about what is possible in the ordinance: can loco pez (or any business) have the hours that they are allowed to seat people outside be restricted by the ordinance? Is it just an allowed/not allowed situation or could the ordinance say that people can only be seated outside until 10pm Sun-Thurs and 12pm on Fri/Sat (or some other combination of times)?

_If_ its the latter, then so long as the seating also meets code it should be possible to find an appropriate compromise between neighbors worried about noise and loco pez, even if they seating proposal is "ambitious"

TLP's picture

For those interested, here are the sidewalk cafe requirements from Section 9-208 Subsection 6 of the City Code. (Also, for those who care about the small details, a sidewalk permit is actually submitted to L&I. Streets is consulted by L&I with regard to the planned dimensions and locations of the tables, and certifies that the business's drawings meet these requirements.)

Quote:
(6) Placement Requirements.

(a ) All parts of a sidewalk café shall be easily removable.

(b) On streets with a confirmed sidewalk width of thirteen (13) feet or less, at least five (5) feet of clear sidewalk space shall be maintained at all times to provide pedestrian access. On streets with a confirmed sidewalk width of more than thirteen (13) feet, at least one-half the confirmed sidewalk width shall be maintained at all times to provide pedestrian access.

(c) The clear sidewalk space shall be measured from the curb line, or, if closer to the sidewalk café, from the nearest obstruction on a line parallel to the curb line, to the outside edge of any chair, table or collapsible railing as shown on the plans approved by the Department of Streets. For the purpose of determining clear sidewalk space, trees, steps, street light poles, sign poles, fire hydrants, parking meters, or other objects located on the sidewalk surface shall be considered as obstructions.

(d) Ventilation grates cannot be covered and cannot be included as clear sidewalk space.

(e) The licensee shall be responsible for keeping all visitors, patrons, employees, and café fixtures, including, without limitation, tables, chairs, and heaters, from occupying or encroaching into the required clear sidewalk space.

(f) Sidewalk cafés located at street intersections shall provide corner clearance by providing a ten (10) foot clear space from the point of tangency of the curb line.

(g) No part of the sidewalk café shall be within fifteen (15) feet of a transit stop.

(h) The sidewalk café shall be at the same elevation as the existing sidewalk surface.

(i) The required clear egress space shall be maintained between the exit door(s) of the structure and the clear sidewalk space.

(j) The placement or maintenance of a sidewalk café shall not impede or endanger pedestrian travel, or obstruct or interfere with the installation or maintenance of underground utilities.

(k) Collapsible or removable handrails shall only be permitted where the ground receptacle can be capped. The anchors for such handrails cannot exceed a depth below grade of the sidewalk of four (4) inches. The collapsible or removable handrails shall be removed during periods of the year when the sidewalk café is not in use. The Department of Streets may require an applicant to maintain removable or collapsible handrails or guards when it determines handrails or guards are necessary to prevent encroachment into the clear sidewalk area that is required pursuant to this Section.

(l) Provided that the clear sidewalk space is maintained as otherwise required in this subsection, an applicant may also occupy an area adjacent to the curb line after 7:00 p.m., provided that the following conditions are met:

(.1) the café must be located adjacent to a traffic lane regulated for use only for parking and/or loading (i.e. the lane cannot be a traffic lane after 7:00 p.m.);

(.2) only movable tables and/or chairs shall be permitted and must be placed at least one and one-half feet (1' 6") from the curb line;

(.3) chairs must be placed in positions parallel to the curb line; and

(.4) the minimum clear sidewalk space required pursuant to this subsection must be maintained at all times except employees of the licensee are permitted to serve tables at the curb lines of cafés in compliance with other provisions of this subsection.

jbette01's picture

stein wrote:
_If_ its the latter, then so long as the seating also meets code it should be possible to find an appropriate compromise between neighbors worried about noise and loco pez, even if they seating proposal is "ambitious"

I definitely think a compromise is possible. For me personally, it would have to include a substantial reduction in the number of tables as well as specific seating hours. I dont know if those elements are part of the intended presentation or not.

Coder's picture

Well, according to that, they're going to have to use the Cedar Street side only. The bus stops on the Norris Street side. (See sec. g).
It really doesn't say anything about sound.

Neilpuck's picture

jbette01 wrote:
stein wrote:
_If_ its the latter, then so long as the seating also meets code it should be possible to find an appropriate compromise between neighbors worried about noise and loco pez, even if they seating proposal is "ambitious"

I definitely think a compromise is possible. For me personally, it would have to include a substantial reduction in the number of tables as well as specific seating hours. I dont know if those elements are part of the intended presentation or not.

Ditto.

Kenzo's picture

Zoning tip: I wouldn't voice any of that unless it's obvious that the applicant over-proposed.

If you throw that signal right out of the bat, going forward you can entice a behavior: that future applicants will purposely overpropose what their plans are, knowing it will get feathers ruffled, then they cut their plans back to appear as if they are compromising.

Nothing stops a developer from re-proposing or asking the civic for a test vote right after the proposed item is rejected; provided the civic will allow it. The point of zoning meetings is community feedback; it's not a jury trial. Wait for the developer to reveal the plans or get the plans in advance and bloviate about "too much" or "too little" only after the exact plans are known.

(Or as what I do... when development is trying to happen unbeknownst to everyone until after the permits are obtained; voice it out loud... loudly, to force developers to approach civics and seek support before a ZBA hearing)

Kenzo's picture

It passed. 500ft neighbors also voted yes.

The table they wanted to put on Norris St. needed to be deleted. Most of the questions were routine for a sidewalk cafe. Neighbors mostly concerned that the tables will increase the parking frustration. Then noise, and then for a while a strange tangent into underage drinking (the bad memories of crazy fish are still on the brain).

The first :10 of the meeting was a bit cray cray and included a threat to call PPD but then after that outburst it transcended into the mundane. I think the owner now has a very good feel for what will and will not be tolerated and he did a good presentation.

Kenzo's picture

One thing I haven't seen before ever: concern about congestion and lack of bicycle parking. Make sense. And it didn't come from a hipster or a planning nerd like me.

sdm's picture

I thought the proposal included bicycle racks, or maybe I'm thinking of another place.

lighterthief's picture

whoo hoo! Out door tequila drinking in the hood, too far away to annoy me, and close enough to stumble home.

Kenzo's picture

sdm wrote:
I thought the proposal included bicycle racks, or maybe I'm thinking of another place.

I think it was brought up before the meeting. I can see where it comes from. Memphis Tap put in a rack to keep all the traffic signs around the bar from getting bikes chained to them. The Tap has the luxury of a big concrete side yard and running the Phils games on the projector outside was a big hit with the neighbs (and the hotdogs).

It's funny that the owner brought up the sidewalk tables at 13th and Drury St. I used to live right next to those tables and had a love/hate relationship with them. They were good because it kept the panhandlers away from my building so I could come home and not get harassed for quarters and cigarettes, but I'd get perturbed when I was carrying something and touristas were blocking my path. That sidewalk is narrower than Cedar St. and they put their tables at the curb line.

Scrambler's picture

Just signed up for this forum. Been lurking for 6 months or so.
The zoning meeting for Loco Pez that I attended is what made me sign up so I could give my thoughts.
Was very disappointed. Not only by the vote, which I voted no, but much more so by how the meeting was handled, and the attitude of some the people in favor. The moderator was obviously biased in favor. The people who voiced concerns were not given respect, and cut off from what they were trying to say. At one point they were even mocked. The owner dodged legitimate questions. Mostly he expected everyone to trust him that all possible problems would be taken care of. Yeah right. And I sensed a very condescending and superior attitude from many of what I assume were "New People" that were in favor.
As much as I am against this expansion, it is the attitude of some of the people in favor that really bothers the me the most. Especially since on this forum many people make fun of, and criticize the "locals" "townies" and long time residents, and often talk about respect and proper behavior.
I think the word "hypercrite" applies to many of the new people. Respect is a two way street. Even if your values, education, money, and life experience are different. It does not necessarily make you better.

I think Loco Pez is good for the neighborhood. But there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Things may be fine now, but I don't see how this expansion can be good. And what happens the new building across the street opens with a restaurant with their outdoor seating? Which I am not opposed to since it is not on a public sidewalk.

Yes, this is a vent. But hopefully it will make some people think. But I doubt it. Could say alot more, but think this is enough for now. Plus I don't think it would do any good based on what I saw and heard at the zoning meeting, and what I have read people say on this forum.
I don't have a problem with the "new people" on my block that I know. But now, I am going to look at "new people " differently.

Kenzo's picture

jbette01 wrote:
stein wrote:
_If_ its the latter, then so long as the seating also meets code it should be possible to find an appropriate compromise between neighbors worried about noise and loco pez, even if they seating proposal is "ambitious"

I definitely think a compromise is possible. For me personally, it would have to include a substantial reduction in the number of tables as well as specific seating hours. I dont know if those elements are part of the intended presentation or not.

By the way all your concerns were brought up. Eyebrows were raised at that lone little table on the Norris street side, it was clear that needed to go (but the rest stayed). There are people already chaining bikes all around Loco Pez as it is, so more bike parking is needed if 6 more tables are coming. The place is busy now every single night of the week which is good, but you're right... if they don't do the tables and planters correctly (yes there are planters coming), it will be a problemo.

Glad the owner gave out his cell phone number to neighbors who wanted it. I could tell from the meeting that Crazy Fish rubbed close neighbors the wrong way but they put out an olive branch for the Pez.

Democracia Por Los Tacos.

Kenzo's picture

Scrambler wrote:
I don't have a problem with the "new people" on my block that I know. But now, I am going to look at "new people " differently.

Mmm, I'm thinking that you've been doing that before the zoning meeting.

I'm not going to excuse what some "newcomers" said or the differences of "newcomer" establishments vs. "lifer" establishments.

I've busted my butt to fight a real zoning fight, and for a neighborhood I still care about but I don't live in anymore. I put in way over 200 hours to help kill the methadone clinic that wanted to go in Holmesburg spending countless hours just to identify the applicants who snuck through and got over the counter permits for it.

And Mayfair (who I did the work for) or Holmesburg... the only newcomers they get these days are low-income renters; the kind of people who destroy your property value and cause more PPD visits on your block, which I'm sure you'd be way more upset about than "newcomers" who want $1 tacos. That time spent also included lots of flyering of people's homes, all of whom have two sets of raised steps. All my friends I know who live up in the 19149 are all LIFERS.

The first 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning with the speechifying was fine. It was clear to me that many folks in the room came to the room pre-disposed to how they would vote. That's fine and that's normal in zoning. You should know that. If you're upset at this outcome, you can still challenge it through the Streets Review/L&I Review/ZBA hearing and through the Court of Common Pleas.

You can also take your complaint directly into Councilman Mark Squilla's office. He is in City Hall in Room 332. Or Darrel Clarke's office [good luck dealing with his folks... I can't help you with him, he doesn't like me that much], he's in Room 484.

But please, do not turn tables outside Loco Pez into some divisive thing to segregate neighbors into categories. If I lived next door to the thing and had to observe how Loco Pez runs it shop every night, I probably would have speechified myself and told neighbors what it's really like to live adjacent to their property. I heard some of that in the meeting, but nothing that indicated that Loco Pez is a scourge to the neighborhood.

Far from it.

P.S. Memphis Tap has a LOT of outdoor seating albeit in a side-yard, and nobody has raised specific noise complaints that I am aware of to ORCA in a General Membership meeting, and the Tap seats way more people than what Loco Pez will offer, and it's also adjacent to homes and parking is a squeeze there at night. It opened last year and it's been a hit since then.

Disclaimer: I was there but didn't vote (nor did I pinch anyone's ears and dragged them into the room to vote) but I wanted to see how this worked out since one-day ORCA may experience a sidewalk seating variance off of a commercial street.

P.P.S... I agree with you--Pez would be much better off on the other side of the forks taking up all that room on that patio deck, and the current Pez space goes back to being a neighborhood bar with its doors kept shut. C'est la vie it would cost at minimum of 5 figures just to move the restaurant across the street into the other space with the redecorating and building new bars and new taps and the Pez hasn't been open long enough to determine if it really must have more floor space or if the traffic it's getting now is just a "new jawn" fad.

stein's picture

Scrambler wrote:
I think the word "hypercrite" applies to many of the new people.

seems unlikely.

th's picture

stein wrote:
Scrambler wrote:
I think the word "hypercrite" applies to many of the new people.

seems unlikely.

Really? I thought it applies to most of humanity.

steveeboy's picture

I have a different take on how much "respect" was given, especially at the start of the meeting.

This would be the time when certain people were unable to wait their turn to speak, kept interrupting, etc.

I think the "respect" demonstrated by the opposing forces reached a nadir when one of those opposed--who most certainly has lived in the neighborhood a very long time, called the head of the zoning committee a "homophobic slur which rhymes with maggot."

Once it was made clear that such behaviour would not be tolerated and that PPD would be called if people could not follow simple societal norms of courtesy and decorum, then the meeting actually improved drastically and legitimate concerns were dealt with and all could speak.

Times were agreed to and voted on, the owner was respectful and responsive.

Some very interesting ideas were brought by close neighbors who are long-time residents (such as seeing if the Duffy lot could be used to alleviate some parking problems)

Of course, some people will never be satisfied, some people assume that every table will always be full, every patron will be lounging into the buffer zone, there will always be 10 bikes locked to each rack, there will always be a waiter, bartender, AND bus boy at every table burdened with trays, and thus the sidewalk will resemble Omaha Beach on D-Day and remain impassible.

Certain opponents did try to lay out such ridiculous scenarios as they grasped at straws.

--also funny how one could complain about parking (since everyone has a god-given right to a free spot in front of their row 24/7) but could also at the same time complain about too many bikes being locked up outside the restaurant.

When you make up all sorts of implausible scenarios and try to argue that the worst case will be the reality 24-7, you set yourself up for mockery because it is clear you are not ever going to be swayed by contrary info (as when it was demonstrated that a waiter could serve a table and have three large gentlemen walk behind him 3 abreast and still clear the 5 foot zone.)

But a simple visit to the place reinforces the fact that such concerns are not serious. There is plenty of space there to put four top tables along the Cedar St. wall. there is NOT that much foot traffic through the area. This isn't Rittenhouse Square, it's the Forks, and there is plenty of room to handle the foot traffic as well as some tables outside.

In reality, it doesn't appear as though the sidewalk will be blocked any more or less than it is when entire families gather on their stoops and pavements during the summer in fishtown.

I had to avoid several large groups of people as I walked home from loco pez just last night.

This is a nice time to say "hello, how's it going."

I won't be filing a complaint with the zoning board or trying to stop people from doing that sort of thing-- even though I may need to deviate from my preferred straight-line walking path home.

All in all, I thought the meeting went pretty well once the initial tension was excised and it was made clear that everyone had to wait their turn to speak-- and that homophobic slurs would not be tolerated.

Some may be unhappy that they lost the vote--and even the 500' neighbors voted in favor--but that is how democracy works. I think the owner did himself a favor by his concern, his attention to the issues, and his willingness to hand out his cell # and take the cell #s of the neighbors. I also think the fact that the restaurant is such a welcome addition to the corner --especially when compared to the nuisance bars which used to inhabit the space-- worked in his favor.

I am sure it will all work out fine and cannot wait to enjoy some outdoor seating in the heart of Fishtown.

Coder's picture

There will always be people who fear change, and people who relish it. Never the twain shall meet.

stein's picture

th wrote:
stein wrote:
Scrambler wrote:
I think the word "hypercrite" applies to many of the new people.

seems unlikely.

Really? I thought it applies to most of humanity.

insofar as the word exists at all (and as far as I can tell it doesn't really exist as an acknowledged word) it would mean the opposite of what Scrambler was intending.

Furthermore, he/she specifically used the word in the context of respect between new and old people in the neighborhood, but in that whole jumble of a post about how the n00bz were acting disrespectful the only argument actually made was that they were not taking Scrambler's opinion as their own out of deference which isn't an issue of respect at all.

AM's picture

When will all of this be starting? I've been wanting to check out Loco Pez and would like to do the outdoor table thing.

Newcomer's picture

The final proposal was for a total of 4 tables outside -- did I read that right?

bostongirl's picture

Scrambler wrote:
Just signed up for this forum. Been lurking for 6 months or so.
The zoning meeting for Loco Pez that I attended is what made me sign up so I could give my thoughts.
Was very disappointed. Not only by the vote, which I voted no, but much more so by how the meeting was handled, and the attitude of some the people in favor. The moderator was obviously biased in favor. The people who voiced concerns were not given respect, and cut off from what they were trying to say. At one point they were even mocked. The owner dodged legitimate questions. Mostly he expected everyone to trust him that all possible problems would be taken care of. Yeah right. And I sensed a very condescending and superior attitude from many of what I assume were "New People" that were in favor.
As much as I am against this expansion, it is the attitude of some of the people in favor that really bothers the me the most. Especially since on this forum many people make fun of, and criticize the "locals" "townies" and long time residents, and often talk about respect and proper behavior.
I think the word "hypercrite" applies to many of the new people. Respect is a two way street. Even if your values, education, money, and life experience are different. It does not necessarily make you better.

I think Loco Pez is good for the neighborhood. But there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Things may be fine now, but I don't see how this expansion can be good. And what happens the new building across the street opens with a restaurant with their outdoor seating? Which I am not opposed to since it is not on a public sidewalk.

Yes, this is a vent. But hopefully it will make some people think. But I doubt it. Could say alot more, but think this is enough for now. Plus I don't think it would do any good based on what I saw and heard at the zoning meeting, and what I have read people say on this forum.
I don't have a problem with the "new people" on my block that I know. But now, I am going to look at "new people " differently.

Why are you "locals" (not exactly you specifically, Scrambler) so against "new people" in your neighborhood?! I personally think it's people like you that make it hard for the "new people" to feel welcome here. "New people" live here too and are entitled to an opinion. I've been in this neighborhood for 6 years. Just because I wasn't born and raised here means I don't get to have an opinion? That's the way some of you "locals" come off on this message board. No one matters but those born and raised. Just throwing that out there.

As for Loco, I'm excited that there is going to be outdoor seating! Really excited actually. But, I am not a direct neighbor so, I hope that everyone can be happy with the arrangement that is made and that things can remain in control. I don't think there will be many problems.

TLP's picture

AM wrote:
When will all of this be starting? I've been wanting to check out Loco Pez and would like to do the outdoor table thing.

I think it all depends on how fast the Councilman's office (Squilla?) processes the ordinance request and gets Council to pass it. They'll have to get it done before their long long vacation...

Newcomer wrote:
The final proposal was for a total of 4 tables outside -- did I read that right?

I don't think there was a finalized table count that was voted on. The owner seemed willing to reduce the total from what was shown in the drawings (which represented the legal maximum) but there wasn't a specified number.

Coder's picture

And their off.........................

bozoloper's picture

Coder wrote:
And their off.........................

"the race is on and here comes pride in the backstretch, heartache's a-going to the inside. my tears are holdin' back, tryin' not to fall."

never too early for a little george jones.

th's picture

stein wrote:
th wrote:
stein wrote:
Scrambler wrote:
I think the word "hypercrite" applies to many of the new people.

seems unlikely.

Really? I thought it applies to most of humanity.

insofar as the word exists at all (and as far as I can tell it doesn't really exist as an acknowledged word) it would mean the opposite of what Scrambler was intending.

WWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSHHHHHH.

My internal spell-check is not what it should be.

sdm's picture

Will there be a public trashcan outside for people to put properly sealed bags of dog poop in?

steveeboy's picture

actually, nobody made a trash argument.

pretty sure this is because the owner is so conscientious about cleaning up trash.

one resident complained about beer bottles and cigarette butts, but they do not allow people to take beer outside and I am not sure how you prove the provenance of a cigarette butt--my pavement is littered with butts all the time and I am nowhere near a bar and no one in my house smokes.

stein's picture

I think we can all agree that in 2012 people who still smoke are history's greatest monster. Jimmy Carter, thy burden has been lifted.

Kenzo's picture

Meh. I've had a lengthly off-line discussion with Scrambler about what transpired at the meeting.

I think some folks were a bit tactless at that zoning meeting, both new people and lifer. I'll repeat what I said earlier before the zoning meeting and after: almost all the concerns raised during the meeting were valid; especially noise abatement.

It was actually a very good zoning meeting and there was too many tables being proposed by the rendering. The fireworks at the first :15 were unnecessary but typical for zoning meetings were people are conflicted or passionate about something. That's a good thing; it means people care about what their neighborhood is going to look like.

The owner of the Pez really had all the influence. If he was a disinterested jerk and was talking down to people or dismissive he wouldn't have gotten the votes. And he did get close neighbors in approval which says a lot because they are extending an olive branch to him.

Kenzo's picture

Newcomer wrote:
The final proposal was for a total of 4 tables outside -- did I read that right?

More like 5 or 6.

stein's picture

Kenzo wrote:
That's a good thing;

uh... adults acting like children is never a good thing.

Kenzo's picture

stein wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
That's a good thing;

uh... adults acting like children is never a good thing.

What happened at the beginning of the FNA meeting on a scale of 0 to 10 of Cray Cray was a 2. Seriously.

Want to go to a zoning meeting where racist tension manifests itself through bike parking? ala "We don't want bike racks here because it brings THOSE people and we just don't need them here." This was actually uttered at a zoning meeting not that far away from Drexel's campus. This same group of neighbors will fall all over themselves to approve Chinese takeaway, check cashing and gold-plated jewelry stores... anything out of the fear that the supply of $400/mo 1-bedroom crapshacks run by slumlords may dwindle; and the meeting entirely consists of renters on both sides of the fence.

Trust me... if Loco Pez attracted a Jersey Shore type of crowd, replete with screaming women tugging at their boyfriends who are in the middle of physical assaults outside the place at 2AM ala Lucy's Hat Shop, no way would fishtown neighbors approve this seating, including the new residents (and myself, included). The last :60 of the meeting actually went great.

If the Pez burns the bridge it was given to them, hell I'd probably be one one the first ones to crucify them. Until then, I can't wait to drink margaritas in the heart of Fishtown.

Lauraska's picture

I'm glad the meeting went well, but sad that a "good meeting" is one where people only use one homophobic slur and only scream and yell for 15 minutes. I wasn't there, and I trust Kenzo's version of the events, but I rarely go to community meetings and hear new folks yelling the n-word or the word that rhymes with "maggot." I've heard them come out of other neighbors mouths pretty often, though, along with threats of violence. It's ridiculous and has no place at a meeting full of people who ALL want to see good come to their neighborhood.

Anyway, I'm glad this got approved. It's only a few tables, so it seems like a fine compromise to me.

steveeboy's picture

there was some confusion because the one drawing was based on the maximum allowable space for seating according to code vs what will actually be put out there.

So, it looked like way more tables than will probably be put there. There was no final number given, but it did not seem to me like they even plan on really maxing it out to the allowed by code figures.

The meeting was far more productive and friendly--once the initial hostilities ceased--than some I have attended in the past. Will never forget the witch hunt at the JB's expansion meeting where some old head pointed at William and Paul and said "they will sell drugs on Girard Avenue"

The main issue, as always, is parking. People really do think they get that one space in front of their house guaranteed. They think that if they go to Target on Saturday night and return at 9pm, the space should still be there. Not sure how you change that sense of privilege and entitlement.

sdm's picture

steveeboy wrote:
The main issue, as always, is parking. People really do think they get that one space in front of their house guaranteed. They think that if they go to Target on Saturday night and return at 9pm, the space should still be there. Not sure how you change that sense of privilege and entitlement.

I don't even live near a bar that brings in car traffic, but if I leave my house anytime after 4pm any day of the week, I do not expect to have a spot in front of my house when I return. If I wanted that, I'd move back out to the country or some wretched townhouse community in the suburbs.

Kenzo's picture

Meh "maggot" is just a word. May get some people's pantyhose all up in a bunch but it doesn't bother me any.

bozoloper's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Meh "maggot" is just a word. May get some people's pantyhose all up in a bunch but it doesn't bother me any.

its unabashed public use is far more worrying than the word itself.

sdm's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Meh "maggot" is just a word. May get some people's pantyhose all up in a bunch but it doesn't bother me any.

Something tells me these meetings don't really abide by Robert's Rules of Order.

Ftownzzz's picture

Why not just put out a folding chair or other half broken household item like when we get a dusting of snow? (apply sarcasm font). I'm not scared of all that much, but I will always be scared of what might happen to my car if I move someone's limbo pole, lawn chair, or black trash bags so that i can enjoy happy hour.

sdm's picture

Someone actually tried to do that on Sunday morning down the street from me.

Kenzo's picture

I'm thankful I got 4 non-residential blocks near my house that parking is never a problem. Even when the block shuts down for a block party and 50 cars have to move somewhere else---never a problem. There's so much parking, a few neighbors around here own boats.

I will probably reach for the aspirin bottle if someone wants to implode the galvo and build an apartment tower full of yupster Mini drivers.

steveeboy's picture

the homophobic slur against the zoning committee leader was completely out of bounds and really lame. luckily the offender had his wife there to calm him down so he didn't get booted.

they don't use robert's rules, but once the initial tension eased, people were very good about waiting their turn to talk and all.

people much more accepting and welcoming of the project than I think they would have been 10 years ago. you have the example of JBs close by, so everybody knows it is not the end of the world to have cafe seating.

TLP's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Meh "maggot" is just a word. May get some people's pantyhose all up in a bunch but it doesn't bother me any.

It wasn't so much the word itself as it was the accompanying threats of physical violence, all because the zoning chair intervened in an exchange that was veering.

Neilpuck's picture

I'm really sorry I missed this. There was likely as much tension and hostility at the zoning meeting as there was at the Flyers Rangers game.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Whoever the guy was that was chairing the meeting should not be allowed to chair again. It was quite obvious to all that he had a bias, if you can't show non-partiality; then don't want to be big man on campus and chair.

His blatant bias is a black-eye for the FNA.

stein's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Meh "maggot" is just a word. May get some people's pantyhose all up in a bunch but it doesn't bother me any.

alright folks, time to fold up your tents and go home. Kenzo isn't bothered by a specific homophobic slur so therefore it isn't a problem. thanks for your time.

Also, its totally cool for grown adults to act like children so long as other grown adults acted worse somewhere else at some point in the past and it only lasts for 15m.

Kenzo's picture

Meh par for the course. The outcome was more interesting then that exchange. Rare is a Philly neighborhood that gets behind zoning for cafe seating deep inside the residential zone and far away from commercial corridors. The area is non-commercial even though each corner property is commercial. That's pretty massive.

It also means that once the tables and chairs go out--it will make it a lot easier for someone to rent and make use of that property across the street with the raised patio deck. Having that "destination" there could spill over into more improvements on Norris Street which needs them.

Maybe someday someone can do something with that abandoned "Norris Square Groceria" that failed at Norris and Trenton. There's new houses going up on Norris already framed out just below Trenton and by the end of the year it won't feel so scary at night now that there's the new store under the EL, more occupied properties along Norris leading up to Rocket Cat, and improvements all the way into Fishtown.

10 years ago the whole area the zone between Berks leading up to Rocket Cat was nothing but craptastic.

Iceman's picture

[quote=Trust me... if Loco Pez attracted a Jersey Shore type of crowd, replete with screaming women tugging at their boyfriends who are in the middle of physical assaults outside the place at 2AM ala Lucy's Hat Shop, no way would fishtown neighbors approve this seating, including the new residents (and myself, included)

I take it you don't spend much time outside of the 15th Round around 2am. I don't think that crowd is coming in from Jersey.

Kenzo's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Whoever the guy was that was chairing the meeting should not be allowed to chair again. It was quite obvious to all that he had a bias, if you can't show non-partiality; then don't want to be big man on campus and chair.

His blatant bias is a black-eye for the FNA.

Are zoning committee folks in FNA permitted to also vote? I've debated whether or not that is wise. My personal opinion is that those handling the direct interaction with the applicant or running the presentation should at least not vote so that way even if they do have a personal bias however nuanced, should be easier to ignore if the neighbors are aware that the zoning chair or the primary volunteer is not allowed to vote on the project.

Bias is going to be hard to avoid because some people who volunteer for zoning have jobs that are in the same field as the zoning applicant, like someone who owns and operates a restaurant and the ZBA applicant is another restaurant, or has a mortgage business or is a realtor that benefits from a ZBA applicant who wants to build new houses.

Kenzo's picture

Iceman wrote:
[quote=Trust me... if Loco Pez attracted a Jersey Shore type of crowd, replete with screaming women tugging at their boyfriends who are in the middle of physical assaults outside the place at 2AM ala Lucy's Hat Shop, no way would fishtown neighbors approve this seating, including the new residents (and myself, included)

I take it you don't spend much time outside of the 15th Round around 2am. I don't think that crowd is coming in from Jersey.

No but I do know what the Chug is like (or was like; I hear it's not operating so much anymore), and well... some neighbors got so upset at the goings-on over there that one of them threw a brick in their window.

Another neighbor installed cameras and pointed them at their building instead of his/her own house.

Good Times years ago was also a nuisance property; a detective that I know told me he "once cleaned up a body" in that place. It's not a nuisance any longer. Bars and restaurants all depend on who owns it and how they run their ship.

I'm not oblivious to bad commercial businesses. There's a bar on a certain corner of E Allegheny Avenue in Port Richmond where drug dealing is rampantly being permitted. Everyone knows it and the neighbs are hopping mad.

Couple weeks ago I just pulled all the lawsuits involving the owner and the PLCB history for that bar's liquor license and handed it to PROPAC to help their fight against that place.

fuzzybottoms's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Whoever the guy was that was chairing the meeting should not be allowed to chair again. It was quite obvious to all that he had a bias, if you can't show non-partiality; then don't want to be big man on campus and chair.

His blatant bias is a black-eye for the FNA.

Are zoning committee folks in FNA permitted to also vote? I've debated whether or not that is wise. My personal opinion is that those handling the direct interaction with the applicant or running the presentation should at least not vote so that way even if they do have a personal bias however nuanced, should be easier to ignore if the neighbors are aware that the zoning chair or the primary volunteer is not allowed to vote on the project.

Bias is going to be hard to avoid because some people who volunteer for zoning have jobs that are in the same field as the zoning applicant, like someone who owns and operates a restaurant and the ZBA applicant is another restaurant, or has a mortgage business or is a realtor that benefits from a ZBA applicant who wants to build new houses.

Yes, those of us who volunteer for zoning do also vote, although we never discuss our votes with each other or voice personal opinions on the project. I never know how the other committee membes are voting.

Regarding bias in those who are chairing the meeting -- I was not at the meeting last night so I can't comment firsthand on that. In the past, those of us who have relationships outside of zoning with proposed projects have recused ourselves from managing that project.

Truthfully, it's easy to say that zoning members shouldn't vote when the turnout is as good as it was last night. But I remember A LOT of projects that were only attended by committee members because no one from the neighborhood came to the meeting.

Scrambler's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Whoever the guy was that was chairing the meeting should not be allowed to chair again. It was quite obvious to all that he had a bias, if you can't show non-partiality; then don't want to be big man on campus and chair.

His blatant bias is a black-eye for the FNA.

I agree. The way he handled the people with questions was totally wrong. On a sort of positive note, he made no attempt to hide his bias or his lack of respect for people that did not seem to support the outdoor seating.

Kenzo's picture

Hmm... that's ORCA's problem in a nutshell. With a tiny bank account ORCA cannot afford to hold meetings for applicants that nobody cares about (who wants to tear away from dinner and the kids to listen about an auto tags store?)

I'm on the zoning committee and have a few ideas to keep the process less expensive and avoid unnecessary time-wasting meetings but still keep people interested and involved in zoning.

The big zoning meeting though I feel people like me should not be permitted to vote, honestly. I would rather like to tell neighbors what I think, but it's not fair to neighbors and it also makes them feel like the zoning volunteers have an ulterior motive if they are allowed to cast votes. Maybe some sort of rule... "if more than 5 neighbors appear at a zoning meeting, the Zoning Coordinator and Zoning Chair shall refrain from voting".

I really wish that the ZBA would allow RCO boilerplates to be printed on zoning placards... at least some contact info. Something like "Your Local Neighborhood Association is BlahBlahBlah and may be holding a community meeting involving this application. You can contact your local Registered Community Organization at 215-XXX-XXXX and visit their website at BlahBlahBlah.org/Zoning."

If people see the ZBA placard but nobody contacts the civic asking about it, and the civic puts the announcement out over e-mail/WWW/Facebook, and there's still no interest, then they should just kick out a "Nobody cares/Neutral Opinion" certificate to the applicant so they can give it to the ZBA.

fuzzybottoms's picture

Every single one of the FNA zoning meetings is open to the entire neighborhood. We flyer the immediately surrounding area for every project, in addition to advertising in the Star and Spirit, FT.us, our website, and FB and Twitter. Actually, it's open to anyone who wants to come but only residents and business owners within FNA boundaries can vote. I understand your point re: voting vs. not if you are a committee member, but we have so few volunteers as it is. My fear (perhaps unfounded) is that if we take voting rights away from some of the people most passionate about these issues (i.e, the ones who take the time to volunteer) then we'll have even fewer volunteers than we currently have.

Lauraska's picture

If a zoning committee member is also a resident of the community, why shouldn't he/she be able to vote? I understand not counting the votes of the committee separately from the audience, but each committee member has a voice as a resident of the area and should be able to vote. When I was on EKNA's committee, I tried my best not to express my personal opinions (even though I sometimes did at the most heated meetings) but instead tried to mediate (not always perfectly) so that both sides understood the issues at hand and didn't get off track. But I still voted. Because I live here and should be able to.

Scrambler's picture

bostongirl wrote:
[quote= .

Why are you "locals" (not exactly you specifically, Scrambler) so against "new people" in your neighborhood?! I personally think it's people like you that make it hard for the "new people" to feel welcome here. "New people" live here too and are entitled to an opinion. I've been in this neighborhood for 6 years. Just because I wasn't born and raised here means I don't get to have an opinion? That's the way some of you "locals" come off on this message board. No one matters but those born and raised. Just throwing that out there.

.

Bostongirl, to answer your question, I honestly don't see the "locals" being against the new people. I see many "locals" welcome new people. Sure, there are some knuckleheads among the "locals". But they are far outnumbered by the good and decent people.
Surprised you used the term "your neighborhood". If you live here and care about the neighborhood, then I think "our neighborhood" would have been a better term.
I have never gotten the impression that the "locals" feel the new people are not entitled to an opinion.
Funny, at the zoning meeting, I felt my opinion did not matter because I questioned the proposal, and was not considered to be like the person moderating, so I was cut off, and my question never answered.

Kenzo's picture

That's almost impossible to do.

You ever been in a zoning meeting involving a methadone clinic as the applicant? Jesus wouldn't even be able to control His bias in that kind of meeting. (yeah I know, Sugarhouse was nearly the same thing... but not really, not when the entire room plus the zoning chair is screaming at the applicant's lawyer)

I think if turnout at an interesting zoning meeting meets a threshold, there's no reason the zoning coordinator or the chair should be voting... honestly.

Listen, the function of zoning is the most important part of an RCO. If you develop a reputation, no matter how unwarranted, that the RCO always "sides", you'll have a harder time attracting new members to your civic, getting more participation, and getting more people involved. All the RCOs on this side of the EL are all voluntary-participatory.

Norris Square is a whole different animal because it "owns" most of the neighborhood and does what it wants, plus you can pretty much predict how a zoning vote will go over there when a low-income housing developer flush with millions of grant cash runs the shop. That's alienated a lot of homeowners who aren't part of the NSCA "family".

I dunno, if you got 60 people in a room, the chances of a zoning vote coming down to just one person are going to be fairly low that the zoning chair or the zoning coordinator voting doesn't really help matters when it's mostly the people who cut away from their personal lives and are devoting that 1, 2 or 3 hours to you are really more important (yes, even though you deal with a ton of emails that the neighborhood doesn't see).

One of the residents at the FNA meeting drove all the way from Fort Dix just to make it there so he and his girlfriend could vote. Some people had to go get last-minute babysitters, what have you.

You just cannot eliminate bias. It's impossible. And especially in Philly where biases run deep. It's just better to abstain from voting when you already have a quorum. I think for zoning meetings where nobody wants to show up; it's easier and still impartial to just give out a "the neighborhood doesn't care" letter to the applicant and send them on their way. The ZBA board certainly isn't going to consider that unacceptable, not if it's on RCO stationary.

jbette01's picture

fuzzybottoms wrote:
Every single one of the FNA zoning meetings is open to the entire neighborhood. We flyer the immediately surrounding area for every project, in addition to advertising in the Star and Spirit, FT.us, our website, and FB and Twitter. Actually, it's open to anyone who wants to come but only residents and business owners within FNA boundaries can vote. I understand your point re: voting vs. not if you are a committee member, but we have so few volunteers as it is. My fear (perhaps unfounded) is that if we take voting rights away from some of the people most passionate about these issues (i.e, the ones who take the time to volunteer) then we'll have even fewer volunteers than we currently have.

Which speaking of.... We are in DESPERATE need of more active zoning members that are willing to PM projects and attend meetings. If you have thought about it all, even just one tiny bit, please let us know.

steveeboy's picture

Some people may not have liked the answers they got to their questions, but some people were positing ridiculous scenarios in an attempt to halt the project.

"what if people lean back in their chairs?"

"what if people lean back in their chairs and the waitress is standing by the table?"

"what if people lean back in their chairs and the waitress is standing by the table and the waitress standing by the table has a tray?"

"what if people lean back in their chairs and the waitress is standing by the table and the waitress standing by the table has a tray and there are some bikes on the bike rack?"

From direct observation, it simply does not seem as though the area gets very much foot traffic--yet the person with the questions made a direct comparison to Rittenhouse Square.

Note too that the person asking these sorts of questions was never queried as to exactly how many times a day he expected to walk down the pavement in front of loco pez.

At some point the doomsday scenarios get to be too much and it is just time to vote.

This is what happened toward the end of the meeting when it was obvious that the most basic issues--time, space for tables, control of alcohol service, noise, trash, etc. had been dealt with to the extent they could be handled at the forum.

Everyone with legit questions and concerns got to voice them and the owner gave answers where he was able and was very open to the process and the concerns.

Should also be pointed out that as soon as one opposed person mentioned "bias"--the same one who used the homophobic slur--the zoning committee chair took over the role in the process.

The meeting was fine from that point forward and there was a lot more courteous interaction.

Scrambler's picture

steveeboy wrote:

From direct observation, it simply does not seem as though the area gets very much foot traffic--yet the person with the questions made a direct comparison to Rittenhouse Square. quote]

I don't remember any questioner mentioning Rittenhouse Square. Center City, Chestnut St, Walnut street, yes.
The owner mentioned some restuarant that had grandfathered outdoor seating, and made it seem that that is the only one that causes any kind of problem. Maybe he mentioned Rittenhouse Square.

Kenzo's picture

Nobody brought up Rittenhouse Square from the floor. It was the developer who brought up the tables at 13th and Drury St. (i.e. the gayborhood).

I didn't voice this at the meeting, but technically at the time those tables appeared, Washington Square West Civic Association did not include that part of the gayborhood into their boundaries. The civic's northern boundaries ended at Walnut Street and then were pushed north to Sansom Street when I moved there oer a decade ago.

When I was living there, I had zero civic associations representing me. And when the area consisted of mostly check cashing, Dollar Store Row and Ron Caplan highrise rentals--who wants to deal with creating another civic and trying to get anybody involved in it when most everybody rents including almost all the businesses, and the biggest property owners are absolute jerks save for Michael Salove. El Vez appeared on 13th Street and it was easy for them to open because there was no civic to make a stink.

All of the cafe tables on 13th between Market Street down to Walnut Street were done directly through Council with zero resident interaction.

The whole strip of Chestnut Street was destroyed by two things: The Chestnut Street busway and the Sam Rappaport slumpire and he helped permanently ruin everything on Chestnut between the Liberty Bell and Broad Street. Ron Caplan and Salove took some of his buildings.... Caplan put in renters and Salove put in businesses and higher end stuff. When the --tty bars started to close, only then was Wash West actually interested in annexing that area.

So how did the tables get there? Salove and some other property owners went directly to Frank DiCicco (Mr. Spot Zoning), and got it done. There was no community involvement.

Kenzo's picture

Speaking of which... reminds me. The people who live in the White Building at 12th and Chestnut got hopping mad last year and the year before last because someone wanted to turn the historic Beneficial Bank building into a high-end billiards hall. Right now it's being used as a toilet by drunks and panhandlers.

They should have put it in before the White Building was renovated and went into $600K condos. Since there was no civic coverage over that block, the neighbors filed lawsuits to stop the billiards hall. I dunno about you guys but I wouldn't go to a settlement table for more than half-a-million to live above a 7-11, nail salon and stereo store, and a vacant (yet beautiful building) that has no hope of being used as a bank ever again and smells like urine when you walk past it. They were really peeved at the thought of an open roof with bar and food service".

Folks sometimes pick the strangest battles.

steveeboy's picture

yes, now that I think of it, that is correct, the questioner bringing up all the extreme scenarios brought up CC and the lack of room, and then the owner brought up areas in CC/gayborhood/rittenhouse--Rouge was it?-- and explained how his plan was different --those places were grandfathered in before the current rules.

Does not change the overall argument though, The forks is NOT Chestnut, Walnut, Rittenhouse, etc. I bet the most traffic it gets is from 7-9am and 4-7pm when people getting to and from work/school via el and walking.

Again, I have to deviate from my path on pavement all over the hood anytime it is a nice night and people are gathered on streets in front of stores, their stoops, etc.

Will we be protesting the famous fishtown sidewalk kiddie pools next?

those completely block the pavement and you have to walk around them.

But I would never advocate against something based on the fact that I might have to walk half a step out of line.

Kenzo's picture

Lolitas and El Vez were the first to put tables out. Lolitas is more ridiculous because there is barely any room and they're pushed up to the curb. I lived there for years and never once had the inclination to sit outside next to my building, taking in the smells of the dumpsters in the back of my own building, then the sidewalk is inclined so you're leaning towards the parked cars... panhandlers and trannyhookers zipping past that you'd probably rather not interact with, and the occasional pool of vomit smell wafting from Drury Street from people who had a few too many over at McGilians.

It also used to smell heavily of Chinese take out because where Apothecary is now (or whatever it's called)... was a take-out that used to blast their kitchen exhaust out to the sidewalk, but it's gotten better since that place burned down for the insurance money and it's now another foody place.

Either way though the tourists love those tables... it's "sooo New York".

stein's picture

I think Scrambler should let us know what questions of his/hers weren't answered.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

I think a certain person should stop stirring the pot.

bostongirl's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
I think a certain person should stop stirring the pot.

haha

stein's picture

You would. But Scrambler wants us to believe that there were legitimate questions that were not satisfactorily addressed because of "bias" in the moderator of the debate against his/her opinion. How can we evaluate whether or not they were legitimate concerns if we dont even know what they were? For all we know, scrambler was the one who used the slur that rhymes with maggot and is just bitter.

Kenzo's picture

Were you actually at the meeting Stein?

stein's picture

No, I didn't even get home from work until 8pm. Plus I live outside the FNA boundaries so I wouldn't have been able to vote.

Kenzo's picture

So? Zoning meetings are public affairs you can attend them even though you can't vote and don't live in the catchment. If you work in the area or transit through it frequently you have just as much right as voting neighbors to hear the meeting and even posit questions.

stein's picture

Perhaps you missed the part where I didn't arrive home until a half hour after it started?

Regardless, Scrambler appealed to the greater fishtown.us community by posting here. Who was at the moment became irrelevant the moment Scrambler pressed the Save button.

Kenzo's picture

Well that's too bad; FNA doesn't have the resources to have the "Stein Can Make This One" Zoning Meeting.

I'm not sure why SOME folks want to continue pushing open a chasm since Hetzells that has been closing as the years go by. Take my advice: ignore it and be a better person for it.

austen's picture

I'd like to call the question on this subject - it's done, the vote is over.

stein's picture

I'm not the one who went out of their way to sign up for the forum and post about how they have been disrespected by "new people" and that the volunteer moderator of the meeting was biased against them.

Scrambler did.

If they want legitimacy its time to let the forum know what concerns weren't addressed by the developer so we can judge for ourselves. To my ears (eyes?) it looks like just another attack by lifers against new residents.

ps. i dont even care if loco pez has outdoor seating or not.

roma258's picture

Well this has gone pretty much as I expected it would...

Kenzo's picture

austen wrote:
I'd like to call the question on this subject - it's done, the vote is over.

Seconded. Motion carries.

stbenjamin's picture

Scrambler wrote:
Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Whoever the guy was that was chairing the meeting should not be allowed to chair again. It was quite obvious to all that he had a bias, if you can't show non-partiality; then don't want to be big man on campus and chair.

His blatant bias is a black-eye for the FNA.

I agree. The way he handled the people with questions was totally wrong. On a sort of positive note, he made no attempt to hide his bias or his lack of respect for people that did not seem to support the outdoor seating.

It was better than having FACT schedule an unrelated meeting before a zoning meeting to pack the room with irate residents.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

stbenjamin wrote:
Scrambler wrote:
Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Whoever the guy was that was chairing the meeting should not be allowed to chair again. It was quite obvious to all that he had a bias, if you can't show non-partiality; then don't want to be big man on campus and chair.

His blatant bias is a black-eye for the FNA.

I agree. The way he handled the people with questions was totally wrong. On a sort of positive note, he made no attempt to hide his bias or his lack of respect for people that did not seem to support the outdoor seating.

It was better than having FACT schedule an unrelated meeting before a zoning meeting to pack the room with irate residents.

Don't know anything about your zoning meeting as I wasn't there nor does it have anything to do with this subject. But, from things you have posted now and previously, it is apparent that you have left with a bad taste in your mouth. Sometimes life sucks but you just have to move on. Sometimes one door closes but another opens with even better benefits.

I have spoken on what I observed at the Loco Pez meeting not hearsay.

stbenjamin's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Don't know anything about your zoning meeting as I wasn't there nor does it have anything to do with this subject. But, from things you have posted now and previously, it is apparent that you have left with a bad taste in your mouth. Sometimes life sucks but you just have to move on. Sometimes one door closes but another opens with even better benefits.

That is a poor excuse to support a flawed zoning process

Kenzo's picture

Yo. The zoning process isn't something Fishtown can fix; it's a product of City government and the end of central planning in the early 1970s.

The easiest way to solve the insanity if you're an applicant is to drag everyone into the expense and frustration of Common Pleas Court where arguments have to be logical and written on briefs rather than shouting from the mountaintop.

PHA tried to pull fast one over on SOSNA... without the zoning process that exists now, neighbors would have been unable to stop it. They managed to kill PHA's project in an area already overburdened with PHA housing:
http://nakedphilly.com/graduate-hospital/the-pha-embarrassment/

Democracy isn't pretty. I prefer the neighborhood RCO process but I still wish there wish some more forceful central planning.

Mayor Rizzo and Mayor Green were probably the last time Philadelphia ever saw big forceful projects done for the greater good. Rizzo and Green did the Center City Commuter Tunnel to connect the Pensy and Reading railroads--something considered impossible before Rizzo pushed for it. Rizzo also put the Community College of Philadelphia in the location it is now. Central Planning is responsible for everything in Center City between City Hall and the Schuylkill River. Central Planning also created the Society Hill that everyone knows today.

All that is dead now. We now prefer to use this much slower adversarial process which maximizes community input but makes change happen at a snail's pace.

That function of "Central Planning" has been perverted into the Councilmanic Privilege, where one person in the whole region holds a crown and a staff and whatever he says, does. Can't tell you how many times DiCicco overruled neighborhood groups wishes and basically wrote a blank check to a developer [Grasso Venue, anyone?].

See, your problem is you didn't campaign for Frank DiCicco before you moved here, then you wouldn't have had to worry about zoning. I think you're in Clarke's area now so you better butter-up to Clarke.

Why do you think I'm so angry at how the Land Bank stuff is turning out? There's some interesting language that was clearly written to preserve fiefdoms and to consolidate power written into it.

The Zoning Code has already gotten updated and reformed and the City is in the process of remapping everyone which will take several years (once your property is remapped, you're then subjugated to the rules in the new code). Only time will tell if the new code heals the problems of the past [like this crazy situation where EVERY mixed use building must go to Zoning for every single minute change made to it].

Again, those are not problems FACT/FNA are really responsible for.

I remember your zoning fight and the complaints that the block would "smell" (yeah, smell like bread... who starts throwing up spontaneously at the smell of bread? You should probably go see your doctor)

Every single project that Philadelphians are not used to you will see some sort of opposition. In good neighborhoods, you're gonna get a lot of lip service if you have any intention of wanting to open a check cashing store. In bad neighborhoods, nobody will show for your zoning meeting to open a check cashing store but you will probably get a BUNCH of crazies turning out if you have any intention of opening up doggy daycare.

FNA Zoning is run independently by people who live in the community and it's not owned or controlled by a developer, or a landlord, or a large business who has anticompetitive interests written all over them.

I know you'll always carry a "zoning grudge", but carrying it around will just mean a repeat unpleasurable experience the next time you have to stand up to neighbors to propose zoning again.

lighterthief's picture

I did not attend this meeting because I got stuck at work. From my own experience with Civic zoning and from the chances I have had to see the FNA zoning committee at work and interact with them on joint cases as well as see how other neighborhood operate I consider them to be one of the most professional, fair and consistent in this city. Their procedures are consistent, they are thorough in their notifications and they work hard to make sure the neighborhood voice is represented to the ZBA. Fishtown residents new and old should be grateful to have such dedicated volunteers (zoning and elsewhere) Many hoods have nothing or have special interest groups dominate the process. Every meeting may not resolve to your liking but if you follow the issue city-wide you will appreciate the level of civic engagement and volunteerism in Fishtown (EKNA and ORCA too) on zoning and other matters is really exceptional and should not be taken for granted.

jobber's picture

Why is it that whenever "long time" residents bring up concerns they are always mocked on this forum? Why are the concerns of "long time" residents not as valid as the "newbies"? The meeting was moderated by someone who clearly supported this project. And that happens alot at FNA Zoning meetings--I have been to several where the moderators were basically cheerleaders of the project. When residents bring up their concerns those concerns are often downplayed in support of the project. While I applaud the fact that the Zoning people are volunteers willing to give up their time--their obvious support of some projects does make me wonder about their motive.
The owner of Loco Pez had drawings that showed NINETEEN tables--that is ALOT of tables. People had legitimate concerns about noise--yet those concerns are downplayed and mocked. I did not hear the moderator or the owner offer to start out with 5 or 6 tables just to see how it went. Parking is an issue--no people are not entitled to a parking space but the owner should be responsible enough to provide parking for his customers if he wishes to expand his business. Why should the neighbors be burdened with this? The "demonstration" of how waiters could walk 3 deep was just childish and again showed the disrespect for the concerns of others.
Why should the neighbors be expected to accept this without question?

stein's picture

Just where would you like that extra parking to be located?

th's picture

stein wrote:
Just where would you like that extra parking to be located?

Mitt Romney is building a car elevator in his house. It seems like there should be some kind of solution there.

Coder's picture

The abandoned parking lot about 50 feet away.

sdm's picture

I'd just like to take a moment to mention that I am an equal opportunity mocker. I think long and short timers are both equally ridiculous and deserving of a proper mock.

jobber's picture

You do not think the owner would be wise to find an available lot for his customers? If I were driving around 20 minutes looking for a parking spot to go to a restaurant--I think I would keep on driving and go someplace else. Finding parking for his customers would be considerate to the neighbors and a plus for his business.

meredith's picture

jobber wrote:
You do not think the owner would be wise to find an available lot for his customers? If I were driving around 20 minutes looking for a parking spot to go to a restaurant--I think I would keep on driving and go someplace else. Finding parking for his customers would be considerate to the neighbors and a plus for his business.

part of the beauty of living in a city is that you don't have to drive as much. i'm sure the owner has enough local support from people who can walk or ride their bikes to his restaurant that parking wasn't really a major concern of his.

fuzzybottoms's picture

jobber wrote:
Why is it that whenever "long time" residents bring up concerns they are always mocked on this forum? Why are the concerns of "long time" residents not as valid as the "newbies"? The meeting was moderated by someone who clearly supported this project. And that happens alot at FNA Zoning meetings--I have been to several where the moderators were basically cheerleaders of the project. When residents bring up their concerns those concerns are often downplayed in support of the project. While I applaud the fact that the Zoning people are volunteers willing to give up their time--their obvious support of some projects does make me wonder about their motive.
The owner of Loco Pez had drawings that showed NINETEEN tables--that is ALOT of tables. People had legitimate concerns about noise--yet those concerns are downplayed and mocked. I did not hear the moderator or the owner offer to start out with 5 or 6 tables just to see how it went. Parking is an issue--no people are not entitled to a parking space but the owner should be responsible enough to provide parking for his customers if he wishes to expand his business. Why should the neighbors be burdened with this? The "demonstration" of how waiters could walk 3 deep was just childish and again showed the disrespect for the concerns of others.
Why should the neighbors be expected to accept this without question?

You are welcome to volunteer for the zoning committee if you think it is biased (an opinion that I have to strongly disagree with). Perhaps understanding our methods and procedures will change your opinion.

sdm's picture

If you're going to a restaurant anywhere that isn't OC/CC you pretty much assume you're going to be driving around to find parking. And if you don't want to do that, get a taxi/bus/subway/bike/walk/rickshaw

Also, I love your choice of username, it's one of my favorite insults. (being sincere, no mocking)

Kenzo's picture

The 25 bus dumps you off at Pez's front door.

fnazoning's picture

Hi All -- The zoning committee has been reading these comments and feedback and we will discuss them at our next meeting. We do everything we can to assist PMs in running meetings in a professional, unbiased fashion. However, we're all human, and sometimes that comes through. We hope that this meeting doesn't deter you from coming to future zoning meetings since we value your input and attendance, and we wouldn't want to lose that. Please feel free to PM me if you have any concerns or specific issues that you'd like to discuss.

sdm's picture

Kenzo wrote:
The 25 bus dumps you off at Pez's front door.

You're making the assumption the bus shows up in the first place. The average time I wait for the 25 regardless of time/day is 45 minutes after it's scheduled arrival time, in which case about 3 more buses should have gone by.

karp's picture

A summary of all comments/questions in both support or opposition will be included in the letter to the councilperson along with the final vote and a breakout of the votes within 500'. All comments at this and all zoning meetings are taken seriously and the major points put in writing.

The final vote for this project was 39-17 in support. The residents within 500' voted 19 yes to 12 no the remaining community within our borders voted 20 yes to 5 no.

If you are interested in joining the committee send me a PM. I will let you know where and when our meetings are (first 3 tuesdays at the rec) and get everything set up. We hold 20-30 zoning project community meetings a year so we can certainly use the help. It takes effort to just get developer to present to the community while also advertising, screening projects, flyering, holding community meetings, and distributing the results of the community meetings. There also is the added task of enforcement to ensure uses like pawnshops and internet gambling go through the proper process before opening.

If you have any other questions please email our committee (zoning at fishtownlife.com) or PM me. I cannot read through every post on here and I don't want to miss anything important. - Matt Karp, Chair FNA zoning.

ExUnit4's picture

As a first timer( not a newbie) to an FNA meeting Ireally didn't have any issues with how the moderator handled the meeting. It was fairly obvious many in the room already knew who he was and what he did for a living. However, I can also see how those who were there regarding their concerns related to Loco Pez would possibly have been put off when he casually mentioned several times while trying to maintain order that he had customers at his restaurant waiting to be served. My opinion was he was just saying it as a matter of fact and not that he was trying to be biased or bypass anyone elses thoughts/concerns. That said, I also read Kenzo's well thought out points and would only suggest that perhaps when a restaurant/bar, etc is in discussion that someone who is in a similar business might not be the best choice of moderator at the meeting as it could be mis-interpreted as bias be it fair or unfair.. At the very least a disclaimer made before the start. Overall, I was pleased with how the meeting went.

jbette01's picture

I am taking my FNA hat off here for a second.

FNA Zoning works their butts off. We are growing and changing like mad over here.

FNA Zoning is also run by humans. Nobody is infallible. Mistakes will be made from time to time. Absolutely every single effort is made to ensure that the meetings are run in an effective, timely, unbiased way.

I personally like our system. No limiting to the 8 residents within 500 ft, no ivory tower of a zoning committee where their closed door decision is final. It is TRANSPARENT as all hell. No, its not perfect, but the system is not constucted so it can be.

If you dont like it or think it should change, participate. Talk to the committee about your concerns. We want people that are passionate and ready to do a good job.

FNA hat on --
I have maintained an active visible presence on fishtown.us for a reason. Please PM, email, tweet, facebook, or better yet, knock on my door to discuss your concerns. Me, neilpuck, austen, fuzzybottoms, karp, TLP and everybody involved on the board and zoning wants to hear what you have to say.

Anytime you have anything you are concerned about, find me. I mean that sincerely.

Kenzo's picture

Oh I'd luuuuuuuuuuuv to participate but actually I'd like to work with building ORCA's process so that we're BETTER than yours.

Just sayin'. :D

Neilpuck's picture

jbette01 wrote:
I am taking my FNA hat off here for a second.

FNA Zoning works their butts off. We are growing and changing like mad over here.

FNA Zoning is also run by humans. Nobody is infallible. Mistakes will be made from time to time. Absolutely every single effort is made to ensure that the meetings are run in an effective, timely, unbiased way.

I personally like our system. No limiting to the 8 residents within 500 ft, no ivory tower of a zoning committee where their closed door decision is final. It is TRANSPARENT as all hell. No, its not perfect, but the system is not constucted so it can be.

If you dont like it or think it should change, participate. Talk to the committee about your concerns. We want people that are passionate and ready to do a good job.

FNA hat on --
I have maintained an active visible presence on fishtown.us for a reason. Please PM, email, tweet, facebook, or better yet, knock on my door to discuss your concerns. Me, neilpuck, austen, fuzzybottoms, karp, TLP and everybody involved on the board and zoning wants to hear what you have to say.

Anytime you have anything you are concerned about, find me. I mean that sincerely.

I'm about to go a long way for a joke so bear with me: FNA Hat......FNA FEZ........Crazy FEZ....Loco FEZ

Neilpuck's picture

jbette01 wrote:
I am taking my FNA hat off here for a second.

FNA Zoning works their butts off. We are growing and changing like mad over here.

FNA Zoning is also run by humans. Nobody is infallible. Mistakes will be made from time to time. Absolutely every single effort is made to ensure that the meetings are run in an effective, timely, unbiased way.

I personally like our system. No limiting to the 8 residents within 500 ft, no ivory tower of a zoning committee where their closed door decision is final. It is TRANSPARENT as all hell. No, its not perfect, but the system is not constucted so it can be.

If you dont like it or think it should change, participate. Talk to the committee about your concerns. We want people that are passionate and ready to do a good job.

FNA hat on --
I have maintained an active visible presence on fishtown.us for a reason. Please PM, email, tweet, facebook, or better yet, knock on my door to discuss your concerns. Me, neilpuck, austen, fuzzybottoms, karp, TLP and everybody involved on the board and zoning wants to hear what you have to say.

Anytime you have anything you are concerned about, find me. I mean that sincerely.

Yeah, what she said. I wore the hat before she did.

jbette01's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Oh I'd luuuuuuuuuuuv to participate but actually I'd like to work with building ORCA's process so that we're BETTER than yours.

Just sayin'. :D

You know how people have 'work husbands' and 'work wives'? Who is your ORCA wife? th? That doesnt seem fair.

sdm's picture

jbette01 wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
Oh I'd luuuuuuuuuuuv to participate but actually I'd like to work with building ORCA's process so that we're BETTER than yours.

Just sayin'. :D

I need a work wife so I can just realize my life long dream of being a stay at home dad.

You know how people have 'work husbands' and 'work wives'? Who is your ORCA wife? th? That doesnt seem fair.

jbette01's picture

Neilpuck wrote:
jbette01 wrote:

I'm about to go a long way for a joke so bear with me: FNA Hat......FNA FEZ........Crazy FEZ....Loco FEZ

I wish I had one of these for FNA meetings. I have long thought that the best way to raise money is to embarrass people. I mean, somebody would pay $20 to put me in a dunk tank a couple times right?

stein's picture

jobber wrote:
You do not think the owner would be wise to find an available lot for his customers?

Absolutely not. Loco pez does a fine business as it is. Why would they care about a random suburbanite who wont go somewhere unless there is free parking?

Quote:
Finding parking for his customers would be considerate to the neighbors and a plus for his business.

See, at least now you are finally getting back to your real thoughts. you dont care about some potential/imaginary customer, you care about your own parking situation. If the neighbors really feel its a problem they should go ahead and make their block permit parking. problem solved.

Neilpuck's picture

jbette01 wrote:
Neilpuck wrote:
jbette01 wrote:

I'm about to go a long way for a joke so bear with me: FNA Hat......FNA FEZ........Crazy FEZ....Loco FEZ

I wish I had one of these for FNA meetings. I have long thought that the best way to raise money is to embarrass people. I mean, somebody would pay $20 to put me in a dunk tank a couple times right?

Depends on the t-shirt.

A few years ago at a Meet the Neighbors dan pledged to wear a boa and high heels if a certain amount of money was raised. The goal was met and we had a good laugh as Dan came through on his pledge. (insertMeetTheNeighborsPlugHereIt'sComingUpIfYouWantToVolunteerForThePlanningCommitteeEmailFnaATFishtownDOTOrg)

stbenjamin's picture

ExUnit4 wrote:
As a first timer( not a newbie) to an FNA meeting Ireally didn't have any issues with how the moderator handled the meeting. It was fairly obvious many in the room already knew who he was and what he did for a living. However, I can also see how those who were there regarding their concerns related to Loco Pez would possibly have been put off when he casually mentioned several times while trying to maintain order that he had customers at his restaurant waiting to be served. My opinion was he was just saying it as a matter of fact and not that he was trying to be biased or bypass anyone elses thoughts/concerns. That said, I also read Kenzo's well thought out points and would only suggest that perhaps when a restaurant/bar, etc is in discussion that someone who is in a similar business might not be the best choice of moderator at the meeting as it could be mis-interpreted as bias be it fair or unfair.. At the very least a disclaimer made before the start. Overall, I was pleased with how the meeting went.

Shaun from the zoning committee actually works at a different restaurant, he'd taken part of the night off to moderate. Obviously he did know the owner of Loco Pez, it's up to the zoning committee to decide if he should have handled that differently.. I thought he did a much better job keeping order than I've seen at some meetings, the shouting was kept to a minimum and he made it clear he would call the cops. Much better than the near fist fight and screaming match when Ekta wanted outside seating.

That being said it is a shame that expectations are so low that a few screaming matches and only one threat to call the police is considered a "success", I guess I just have higher standards for how things should be. Most of that falls on the attendees and not the board, you can't force people to have class or behave like adults.

I'd be curious how many minds were swayed one way or another on the issue, I know a few of the nearby residents seemed concerned but understanding. Many seemed to come in pretty set in their decision. I'd heard the seating plan was "ambitious" so I was 50/50 on this one, especially since I do have friends who live nearby. Of course I am sure plenty of people came in gung-ho about the project since they like the bar and outdoor seating and don't care about noise (or live far enough away).

I have to take issue with giving it a blanket label of "democracy". When projects get controversial it is more like mob rule, and the side that wins is the one that packs the room (or keeps the other side from coming since I heard from one close neighbor they never got a flyer or it went "missing"). This is especially true seeing that many people who oppose a project aren't willing to hear anything that will change their minds. Plus there are all the people who don't show up because they don't care enough either way, or don't care enough to oppose a project.

I'm not proposing an alternative because I don't have one. I am also not posting this out of bitterness (ok, the snarky posts were bitterness). When I was looking for space I didn't want to look at properties in Fishtown if I thought it would need any sort of zoning variance. I know the people who have told me "it all worked out for the best" mean well, but tell me that when it was your time and money spent on lawyers and architects and your neighbors lie about you to other Fishtowners and the ZBA. I'm lucky that I had the ability to carry on but that whole episode would have bankrupted most other start ups and many people wouldn't have had the luxury of trying again.

So I am critical mostly out of sympathy and support for other people who are only going to get one shot at zoning or starting their business since I think Fishtown, and every neighborhood in this city, needs new, interesting businesses.

jobber's picture

No I do not care about his potential/imaginary customer absolutely not. Why should I? Why in the world would I care about his customers convenience???? That is silly.
I care about the noise, I care about the sidewalk having 19 tables on it and I care about dozens of extra cars being parked on our streets. The reason I care? Because people who live here are being inconvenienced.
When the goof boys did their interpretation of 3 waiters on the sidewalk did they think that maybe the gentleman bringing up the question could have somebody in a wheelchair in his family that would have a tough time getting through? Did they think that maybe somebody at the meeting may walk that way with their children and have a hard time getting through?
Did the people who mock the residents concern about noise stop to think that maybe the owner could have offered to have an outdoor Host/Hostess just to insure that people did not get too loud?
And as far as the parking...did you think that young families with small children would rather park close to their homes or that elderly folks may not want to have to park 2 blocks away? Just so that the CUSTOMERS at Loco Pez have some place to park--Lord knows you would not want to inconvenience them!
I have been to Loco Pez--the staff seems very nice, the food is good and it is a HUGE improvement over what it was. The owner seems nice enough. I am just saying that the neighbors had legitimate concerns and those concerns should not be trivialized.

As far as the FNA zoning--again they are volunteers and they should be commended for doing what they do--but they also should be mindful of the fact that they should always remain impartial. And I am sure that is difficult sometimes if you support or oppose a project but if you can't be impartial then you should sit that meeting out.

ExUnit4's picture

Thanks StBen. I'll go on record that I went to the meeting because I wasn't crazy about the idea. Looking at the layout I still had concerns with the number of tables. However, when the immediate neighbors who have the most to deal with suggested ways/idea's that could possibly make many of their concerns work for the best( an even help another longtime area group) I saw that both sides could work together and try hard to make it a win/win and voted for Yes. As for seating, what was on the drafted plans ( in my opinion) will most likely be less once they set it up( if approved by the city). Meanwhile, continued good fortune and looking forward to your place opening as well.

stbenjamin's picture

jobber wrote:
No I do not care about his potential/imaginary customer absolutely not. Why should I? Why in the world would I care about his customers convenience???? That is silly.
I care about the noise, I care about the sidewalk having 19 tables on it and I care about dozens of extra cars being parked on our streets. The reason I care? Because people who live here are being inconvenienced.
When the goof boys did their interpretation of 3 waiters on the sidewalk did they think that maybe the gentleman bringing up the question could have somebody in a wheelchair in his family that would have a tough time getting through? Did they think that maybe somebody at the meeting may walk that way with their children and have a hard time getting through?
Did the people who mock the residents concern about noise stop to think that maybe the owner could have offered to have an outdoor Host/Hostess just to insure that people did not get too loud?
And as far as the parking...did you think that young families with small children would rather park close to their homes or that elderly folks may not want to have to park 2 blocks away? Just so that the CUSTOMERS at Loco Pez have some place to park--Lord knows you would not want to inconvenience them!
I have been to Loco Pez--the staff seems very nice, the food is good and it is a HUGE improvement over what it was. The owner seems nice enough. I am just saying that the neighbors had legitimate concerns and those concerns should not be trivialized.

As far as the FNA zoning--again they are volunteers and they should be commended for doing what they do--but they also should be mindful of the fact that they should always remain impartial. And I am sure that is difficult sometimes if you support or oppose a project but if you can't be impartial then you should sit that meeting out.

Jobber, I thought the owner did say there would be a host/hostess outside and that the staff would tell the patrons to be mindful of their volume and where they put their chairs?

The Streets department determines table widths and how much of the sidewalk can be blocked, they leave room for a wheelchair. If a restaurant goes over that line then it is all of our responsibility to either let the owner know or call it in. I think Streets also determines how many tables fit, don't they? If so the number of tables pictured could be a theoretical maximum that will be cut down.

As for parking, that's a constant sore point. Especially since people lived here when the neighborhood was less dense and therefore parking was easy. Now it is building up, plus new amenities bring in people from outside, some of whom drive. I would be curious how many of the Pez's patrons even drive, since they seem to pull strongly from the neighborhood. I'd also be curious what parking was like in Fishtown when it was at its population peak, when the houses were full and the factories were going full steam. What expectation should people have in a dense neighborhood in the city to park near there house? I personally don't think a block or two is unreasonable. If someone physically can't make that, I have no idea how hard it is to apply for a handicapped spot near their house. Some people think any spot besides the one in front of their house or less than 30 feet away is too much. That I do think is absurd.

Lauraska's picture

You know why the complaints of some old school neighbors are seemingly dismissed? Because they aren't relevant to the zoning process. People come to these meetings and complain about parking, aesthetics, building materials, the fact that the building owner once had the nerve to park a car in front of someone else's house 20 years ago, and on and on and on. I can't tell you how many times I had to explain at EKNA zoning meetings that the zoning variance process is based only on the purpose of the variance. You can't complain about parking if the applicant isn't seeking a variance for parking. The ZBA doesn't care what you think about the fact that the applicant wants his new house to have a modern look instead of a brick front. A restaurant seeking approval for sidewalk seating doesn't have to answer to the neighbors about PARKING!! Noise? That's relevant. Ability to get by on the sidewalk? Also relevant. But if you walk in ranting and raving about your precious parking space and new people trying to take over the neighborhood and calling people the f-word, you are going to get shut down. Why are people so amazed when this happens?

Again, I wasn't there, so I am just relying on what was said here as the story of how things played out. It's just so frustrating to hear old time folks saying that they are being told that their opinions are not important when I have sat in countless EKNA zoning meetings and literally had people pointing fingers at me and saying I shouldn't have a vote because I wasn't born here. That's not a dismissal of my opinion? This road goes BOTH ways.

Coder's picture

stbenjamin wrote:
What expectation should people have in a dense neighborhood in the city to park near there house? I personally don't think a block or two is unreasonable. If someone physically can't make that, I have no idea how hard it is to apply for a handicapped spot near their house.

Not that easy, as hard as that is to believe, because there are so many of them that are bogus. People who happen to work for the PPA everyday, but still seem to think they are handicapped, have them in my area. I would love to have one, for carting my blind and deaf dad around to doctors appointments, but unfortunately, Belgrade is one side parking, and you have to get the person who lives in the house where you want it to agree to it. No one does. They want the spot...they're not giving it up, for any reason. So I tell my daughter to park on the pavement when need be. I know people hate that, but when it comes to walking my dad a couple blocks, or carrying a sleeping four year old, or bags of groceries from the market, or getting the tires slashed again, the car is going on the pavement.

stein's picture

jobber wrote:
No I do not care about his potential/imaginary customer absolutely not. Why should I? Why in the world would I care about his customers convenience???? That is silly.

then why did you pretend to care in your earlier post?

Quote:
And as far as the parking...did you think that young families with small children would rather park close to their homes or that elderly folks may not want to have to park 2 blocks away? Just so that the CUSTOMERS at Loco Pez have some place to park--Lord knows you would not want to inconvenience them!

You have yet to explain why permitting the blocks around loco pez is not an appropriate remedy. Everyone wants the convenience of being able to park in front of their houses. Street parking is _public_ and sometimes you are inconvenienced. Choosing to live in the city means dealing with compromises that come with it, including less than ideal parking situations.

stbenjamin's picture

Coder wrote:
stbenjamin wrote:
What expectation should people have in a dense neighborhood in the city to park near there house? I personally don't think a block or two is unreasonable. If someone physically can't make that, I have no idea how hard it is to apply for a handicapped spot near their house.

Not that easy, as hard as that is to believe, because there are so many of them that are bogus. People who happen to work for the PPA everyday, but still seem to think they are handicapped, have them in my area. I would love to have one, for carting my blind and deaf dad around to doctors appointments, but unfortunately, Belgrade is one side parking, and you have to get the person who lives in the house where you want it to agree to it. No one does. They want the spot...they're not giving it up, for any reason. So I tell my daughter to park on the pavement when need be. I know people hate that, but when it comes to walking my dad a couple blocks, or carrying a sleeping four year old, or bags of groceries from the market, or getting the tires slashed again, the car is going on the pavement.

That is a shame, as long as people think of the spot in front of their house as "theirs" it won't change. Seeing as how the neighborhood has a good bit of older residents it would be nice to have designated spots every 1- 1 1/2 blocks. Maybe if people saw that everyone was giving up equally they'd be on board?

Coder's picture

I'm not really complaining about the parking. I don't drive, I just own a car, someone else drives it. I'm just citing one example of how its unfair, and not as easy as people think. I have some neighbors who bring at least four more cars onto the block every Friday night, when they meet up to cab it to OC. But honestly, if I asked them, they would give it up for me in a heartbeat.
Even back in the day there were too many cars. Some houses would have one driver, and three cars, (back when nobody had to pay for insurance, lol) two of which stayed on the street getting major work done on them. Its just part of living in the city.

Newcomer's picture

I'm a little confused about the parking situation; is it worse now than, say, 10 years ago? Quite a few houses on my street have large families with at least 4 cars so I can't imagine people got used to parking in front of their houses every day.

stein's picture

If the city were doing things correctly and americans weren't convinced they have a constitutional right to free parking all the time everywhere they would make all city streets permit parking with market clearing prices so that you could count on a free spot every block or so. But those permits would be quite expensive and people would just complain about that. Don't like the market solution, don't like the alternative.

Coder's picture

I think there are more houses, and ergo, more cars. Some blocks that were previously empty now have houses built on them, so those spots are gone. When I was a kid, not everybody had, or needed a car, because they could walk to work. Then they made a little money, bought a car, and usually moved away.
Then it was ghetto, and you could park anywhere, or have five cars getting a new trans, with a thingy mounted on the telephone polls to pull engines out, right on the street. It varys back and forth.
If our biggest problem is finding a place to park, we are all indeed blessed.

ShaunChristopher's picture

I don't mind being called biased. Of course I'm biased. I'm a voting member of the community. That being said, we do what we can to remain impartial during these meeting. Now, when a resident of fishtown comes to a meeting, and threatens to physically assault the head of the zoning committee, that is something I will not stand for. It's unfortunate that he was one of the ones voting "no", but if he thought that the way to get his point across was to call the zoning chair a slur, then a clown, and then make a fist and tell him he was going to knock him the F out, he was dead wrong. That kind of behavior will never be tolerated at any FNA meeting, zoning or not.

It's been said numerous times, if you don't like the way things are run, come out and volunteer. Don't just sit around and criticize the people who do take the time to.

Coder's picture

That kind of behavior should not be tolerated anywhere.

Newcomer's picture

Coder wrote:
If our biggest problem is finding a place to park, we are all indeed blessed.

Compared to Fairmount and center city, Fishtown is a parking paradise.

stein's picture

no way, kenzo said it was cool because its worse in south philly.

Newcomer's picture

We're going to have a park-off.

ShaunChristopher's picture

Coder wrote:
That kind of behavior should not be tolerated anywhere.

Agreed

stbenjamin's picture

Newcomer wrote:
Coder wrote:
If our biggest problem is finding a place to park, we are all indeed blessed.

Compared to Fairmount and center city, Fishtown is a parking paradise.

Yeah Fairmount is a nightmare, I'll bike there in January before I will drive. In CC you can at least ditch your car, Fairmount seems harder to live in car-free than Fishtown.

dmandy's picture

sdm wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
The 25 bus dumps you off at Pez's front door.

You're making the assumption the bus shows up in the first place. The average time I wait for the 25 regardless of time/day is 45 minutes after it's scheduled arrival time, in which case about 3 more buses should have gone by.

The 25 runs every 30 minutes during off peak hours and on weekends. during rush hours, it's every 15- 20 minutes. I take it at least 3 days a week and i have for many years and I have found it to be very reliable. Are you going out right after one has gone by?

sdm's picture

ShaunChristopher wrote:
Coder wrote:
That kind of behavior should not be tolerated anywhere.

Agreed

Do you have a goon who kicks out this kind of riff-raff?

ShaunChristopher's picture

sdm wrote:
ShaunChristopher wrote:
Coder wrote:
That kind of behavior should not be tolerated anywhere.

Agreed

Yeah, me.
Do you have a goon who kicks out this kind of riff-raff?

Kenzo's picture

stein wrote:
no way, kenzo said it was cool because its worse in south philly.

You have no idea how zoning meetings in other neighborhoods in the City go down. Fishtown is probably near the pinnacle of what you can expect from a fair RCO. That outburst at that meeting is small potatoes to some of the crazy crap that goes on elsewhere. Yes, it's sad and distasteful, but the 60 minutes following that first 15 minutes made up for that unpleasurable event.

You're harping on an argument that you weren't even there to witness helps WHO out, exactly?

sdm's picture

Kenzo wrote:
stein wrote:
no way, kenzo said it was cool because its worse in south philly.

You have no idea how zoning meetings in other neighborhoods in the City go down. Fishtown is probably near the pinnacle of what you can expect from a fair RCO. That outburst at that meeting is small potatoes to some of the crazy crap that goes on elsewhere. Yes, it's sad and distasteful, but the 60 minutes following that first 15 minutes made up for that unpleasurable event.

You're harping on an argument that you weren't even there to witness helps WHO out, exactly?

Sometimes you just have to let Stein be Stein.

Kenzo's picture

When you have out of control zoning meetings, the only way to really handle it in an impartial way is to cancel the vote, announce that the presentation will continue until a certain time and that voting will occur at a subsequent meeting without the applicant present in the room where voting is taking place. There will be no oral presentation at the follow-up meeting, and you can come to the Rec, vote, and then leave. Between the presentation and the actual vote, neighbors are welcome to direct questions directly to the applicant by calling him up, or calling his/her zoning attorney and talking to them.

That gives plenty of time for both sides to round up the troops and drag neighbors out to the Rec center to get in as many votes as possible.

Post-Sugarhouse, I've yet to see where any civics in 19125 need to go to those extremes. In Point Breeze, they fired and rebuilt their entire zoning committee over people screaming racial epithets (some of which made FOX29)... all over a COFFEE SHOP WITH NO OUTDOOR SEATING.

austen's picture

ShaunChristopher wrote:
Yeah, me.

Aw, Shaun, you're not a goon.

steveeboy's picture

"When the goof boys did their interpretation of 3 waiters on the sidewalk did they think that maybe the gentleman bringing up the question could have somebody in a wheelchair in his family that would have a tough time getting through? Did they think that maybe somebody at the meeting may walk that way with their children and have a hard time getting through?"

NO, they thought that maybe if the questioner saw that three grown men, 6 feet tall weighing @200 lbs each walked three abreast behind the owner --who was acting as a waiter holding a tray at a table, it would end his desperate attempt to show that the sidewalk was too narrow to allow cafe seating within the city's established parameters.

Three grown men walking three abreast are wider than the wheelchair posited in this scenario. And I know kids are fat these days, but who has "children" of that size/shape in this neighborhood and who walks kids of that size more than three abreast down the sidewalk?

"Did the people who mock the residents concern about noise stop to think that maybe the owner could have offered to have an outdoor Host/Hostess just to insure that people did not get too loud?"

The owner addressed noise over and over again. Those opposed were already claiming that the sidewalk would be too crowded with tables, waiters, bus boys, and hostesses. So, you make arguments based on there being too many people on sidewalk and then criticize the owner for not offering to put even more staff on the sidewalk?

Ditto all the parking arguments. Many of those opposed criticized the project based on parking, but then they also criticized the project by claiming that there were too many bikes locked at the restaurant and thus more sidewalk impediments--I believe someone claimed that there were up to 10 bikes locked to racks at a time. Seems like you cannot have it both ways here.

I suppose this is in some way an improvement. Back when JBs was adding their addition all those opposed totally denigrated the idea that people would take El there or ride bikes when they claimed that there simply was not enough parking on Frankford Ave and Girard to handle any additional capacity at JBs.

But, it must be clear that it was pretty ridiculous to demand valet parking or some kind of additional lot arrangement so that those opposed could keep their free parking spot in front of their house. That ain't how the city works. And who exactly is going to go to a restaurant with $ 1.75 tacos and $4 beers and pay 10-15$ to valet a car?

At some point, you have to stop trying to posit ever-more ridiculous and contradictory scenarios as you grasp at reasons to deny a project. When you don't, and you are sitting in a meeting for more than an hour, people begin to get exasperated and they want to vote.

The vote was taken, and the vote was in favor of the project.

ShaunChristopher's picture

austen wrote:
ShaunChristopher wrote:
Yeah, me.

Aw, Shaun, you're not a goon.

Shucks, thanks.

stein's picture

Kenzo wrote:
stein wrote:
no way, kenzo said it was cool because its worse in south philly.

...
You're harping on an argument that you weren't even there to witness helps WHO out, exactly?

That particularly post wasn't harping on an argument, it was criticizing you for claiming that the behavior in question was (and i quote) "a good thing"

ps. Your, not You're

Kenzo's picture

stein wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
stein wrote:
no way, kenzo said it was cool because its worse in south philly.

...
You're harping on an argument that you weren't even there to witness helps WHO out, exactly?

That particularly post wasn't harping on an argument, it was criticizing you for claiming that the behavior in question was (and i quote) "a good thing"

ps. Your, not You're

Quote where I said the "maggot" outburst was a good thing.

'Til then, shut yer trap.

(p.s. now you're reaching for grammar straws. Perfunctory superiority complex fail.)

bozoloper's picture

p.s.

stein's picture

Kenzo wrote:
The fireworks at the first :15 were unnecessary but typical for zoning meetings were people are conflicted or passionate about something. That's a good thing; it means people care about what their neighborhood is going to look like.

Kenzo's picture

stein wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
The fireworks at the first :15 were unnecessary but typical for zoning meetings were people are conflicted or passionate about something. That's a good thing; it means people care about what their neighborhood is going to look like.

See? I didn't say "maggot" was a good thing.

steveeboy's picture

not worth it.

stein's picture

Kenzo wrote:
stein wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
The fireworks at the first :15 were unnecessary but typical for zoning meetings were people are conflicted or passionate about something. That's a good thing; it means people care about what their neighborhood is going to look like.

See? I didn't say "maggot" was a good thing.

You said the fireworks of the first 15m, which includes threatening a physical altercation and calling someone a homophobic slur, were typical of the "good thing" of having people at the meeting who are conflicted or passionate.

Kenzo's picture

stein wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
stein wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
The fireworks at the first :15 were unnecessary but typical for zoning meetings were people are conflicted or passionate about something. That's a good thing; it means people care about what their neighborhood is going to look like.

See? I didn't say "maggot" was a good thing.

You said the fireworks of the first 15m, which includes threatening a physical altercation and calling someone a homophobic slur, were typical of the "good thing" of having people at the meeting who are conflicted or passionate.

Says the person who wasn't present at the meeting to even witness the exchange.

I've been to a ton of zoning meetings, this was nothing. Get over it.

stein's picture

Are you denying that a homophobic slur was used and that a threat of physical violence was issued?

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Nevermind, I can't get the image to load.

Kenzo's picture

stein wrote:
Are you denying that a homophobic slur was used and that a threat of physical violence was issued?

Nope.

stein's picture

and are you denying that you claimed that such behavior was typical in situations where people are passionate at a zoning meeting, and that said passion was "a good thing"?

Kenzo's picture

Well now you're asking a loaded question.

What I said was that I've witnessed, in the flesh, way worse shenanigans and this wasn't even a speed bump that held up the meeting. The outburst was dealt with and everybody moved on.

Everybody but YOU, it seems.

jobber's picture

steveeboy wrote:
"When the goof boys did their interpretation of 3 waiters on the sidewalk did they think that maybe the gentleman bringing up the question could have somebody in a wheelchair in his family that would have a tough time getting through? Did they think that maybe somebody at the meeting may walk that way with their children and have a hard time getting through?"

NO, they thought that maybe if the questioner saw that three grown men, 6 feet tall weighing @200 lbs each walked three abreast behind the owner --who was acting as a waiter holding a tray at a table, it would end his desperate attempt to show that the sidewalk was too narrow to allow cafe seating within the city's established parameters.

Three grown men walking three abreast are wider than the wheelchair posited in this scenario. And I know kids are fat these days, but who has "children" of that size/shape in this neighborhood and who walks kids of that size more than three abreast down the sidewalk?

"Did the people who mock the residents concern about noise stop to think that maybe the owner could have offered to have an outdoor Host/Hostess just to insure that people did not get too loud?"

The owner addressed noise over and over again. Those opposed were already claiming that the sidewalk would be too crowded with tables, waiters, bus boys, and hostesses. So, you make arguments based on there being too many people on sidewalk and then criticize the owner for not offering to put even more staff on the sidewalk?

Ditto all the parking arguments. Many of those opposed criticized the project based on parking, but then they also criticized the project by claiming that there were too many bikes locked at the restaurant and thus more sidewalk impediments--I believe someone claimed that there were up to 10 bikes locked to racks at a time. Seems like you cannot have it both ways here.

I suppose this is in some way an improvement. Back when JBs was adding their addition all those opposed totally denigrated the idea that people would take El there or ride bikes when they claimed that there simply was not enough parking on Frankford Ave and Girard to handle any additional capacity at JBs.

But, it must be clear that it was pretty ridiculous to demand valet parking or some kind of additional lot arrangement so that those opposed could keep their free parking spot in front of their house. That ain't how the city works. And who exactly is going to go to a restaurant with $ 1.75 tacos and $4 beers and pay 10-15$ to valet a car?

At some point, you have to stop trying to posit ever-more ridiculous and contradictory scenarios as you grasp at reasons to deny a project. When you don't, and you are sitting in a meeting for more than an hour, people begin to get exasperated and they want to vote.

The vote was taken, and the vote was in favor of the project.

So all of the concerns of the neighbors were in your opinion ridiculous? The good thing is that people will be able to sit outside drink margaritas & munch on tacos while inhaling huge breaths of 25 bus exhaust and you got your way so all is right with the world and screw everyone else?
Entitled? Yes you certainly are. Community concern? Only for yourself.
And had the rest of the neighbors actually been flyered and informed about the meeting trust me the vote would have been vastly different.

fuzzybottoms's picture

jobber wrote:
And had the rest of the neighbors actually been flyered and informed about the meeting trust me the vote would have been vastly different.

The area that would be directly affected by the project is flyered every time we hold a community zoning meeting. This is done by a zoning committee volunteer, and usually covers the area within 500 feet of the project.

The meeting is additionally advertised in the local papers and on numerous forums/sites online. Flyering the whole neighborhood is a ridiculous burden for a volunteer and impossible for any project.

Kenzo's picture

jobber wrote:
And had the rest of the neighbors actually been flyered and informed about the meeting trust me the vote would have been vastly different.

I saw your post about there being 19 tables in the rendering. There were not that many tables in the rendering.

I have to ask... what block are you on that you say nobody received a flyer?

Pure_Fishtown's picture

fuzzybottoms wrote:
jobber wrote:
And had the rest of the neighbors actually been flyered and informed about the meeting trust me the vote would have been vastly different.

The area that would be directly affected by the project is flyered every time we hold a community zoning meeting. This is done by a zoning committee volunteer, and usually covers the area within 500 feet of the project.

The meeting is additionally advertised in the local papers and on numerous forums/sites online. Flyering the whole neighborhood is a ridiculous burden for a volunteer and impossible for any project.

Sorry, can't say all the neighbors were flyered; I know several families from Norris Street and they knew nothing about the meeting. Some of them don't use computers, why they don't read the local papers is their business but you cannot say everyone was flyered. BTW, they had/have no reason to say they didn't.

fuzzybottoms's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
fuzzybottoms wrote:
jobber wrote:
And had the rest of the neighbors actually been flyered and informed about the meeting trust me the vote would have been vastly different.

The area that would be directly affected by the project is flyered every time we hold a community zoning meeting. This is done by a zoning committee volunteer, and usually covers the area within 500 feet of the project.

The meeting is additionally advertised in the local papers and on numerous forums/sites online. Flyering the whole neighborhood is a ridiculous burden for a volunteer and impossible for any project.

Sorry, can't say all the neighbors were flyered; I know several families from Norris Street and they knew nothing about the meeting. Some of them don't use computers, why they don't read the local papers is their business but you cannot say everyone was flyered. BTW, they had/have no reason to say they didn't.

We do operate under some constraints -- First, we can only flyer those homes that have a place to leave a flyer (since we can't put flyers in mailboxes). Second, we are often limited to 200-250 flyers for a project of this size. This typically covers the area that I described above, but perhaps it did not reach everyone. The limitation is due to time and money. Yes, it would be nice to flyer everyone in Fishtown, but it's not realistic. It can be quite a time commitment to flyer and we (somewhat unfortunately) have to draw the line somewhere.

jobber's picture

Everyone within 500 feet absolutely was not flyered. I have a mailbox and so do my neighbors and we did not receive a flyer--actually I did not hear of anyone who had received a flyer

jobber's picture

Kenzo wrote:
jobber wrote:
And had the rest of the neighbors actually been flyered and informed about the meeting trust me the vote would have been vastly different.

I saw your post about there being 19 tables in the rendering. There were not that many tables in the rendering.

I have to ask... what block are you on that you say nobody received a flyer?

2400 block of Norris

Kenzo's picture

jobber wrote:
Everyone within 500 feet absolutely was not flyered. I have a mailbox and so do my neighbors and we did not receive a flyer--actually I did not hear of anyone who had received a flyer

It is not legal (USPS) to insert flyers into mailboxes. Personally I think it's stupid and I do it anyway (Feds come get me)... a zoning flyer is very important compared to a grocery circular, but others stick to the letter of the law and won't put notices in mailboxes.

It's an antiquated law meant to keep the Post Office in business.

http://consumerist.com/2008/05/its-illegal-to-stick-unstamped-flyers-in-mailboxes-but-the-post-office-doesnt-care.html

ShaunChristopher's picture

Everyone was flyered. I know, because I flyered them. We cannot place flyers in mailboxes. We cannot tape flyers up. We can only stick them in your door and hope they don't blow away or get thrown away. And, once again, IF YOU DON'T LIKE HOW THINGS ARE HANDLED, THEN COME VOLUNTEER INSTEAD OF JUST COMPLAING ABOUT IT.

Seriously, it's like the people who were ed when Bush beat Gore, but didn't even vote.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Seriously, Shaun, the two families I know on the 2400 block of Norris wouldn't lie about not getting the flyer. There is not reason why they could not have been put in the mail slot or between a storm door and inside door. I've flyered enough in my life to know how to do it and, IMHO, it is a cop out to say you can't put them in a mailbox. I have never heard of anyone being hauled away by the feds for doing this.

I'll agree that there are reasons why one cannot put one at every house; some of the reasons they don't have a mailbox or a mail slot in the door, no way to secure it from blowing or the storm door was locked. But too many people from 2400 block of Norris have said it.

The vote is done and like I have said to others in the 500 foot radius, if there is something that really concerns you, if you have unanswered questions or any other problem with how the presentation was made; write to Councilman Mark Squilla (please don't call because there is not official record)
City Hall, Room 332/334
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3290
(215) 686-3458, (215) 686-3459
FAX: (215) 686-1931
Email:

And, instead of yelling at people to volunteer; a little honey goes a long way.

ShaunChristopher's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Seriously, Shaun, the two families I know on the 2400 block of Norris wouldn't lie about not getting the flyer. There is not reason why they could not have been put in the mail slot or between a storm door and inside door. I've flyered enough in my life to know how to do it and, IMHO, it is a cop out to say you can't put them in a mailbox. I have never heard of anyone being hauled away by the feds for doing this.

I'll agree that there are reasons why one cannot put one at every house; some of the reasons they don't have a mailbox or a mail slot in the door, no way to secure it from blowing or the storm door was locked. But too many people from 2400 block of Norris have said it.

The vote is done and like I have said to others in the 500 foot radius, if there is something that really concerns you, if you have unanswered questions or any other problem with how the presentation was made; write to Councilman Mark Squilla (please don't call because there is not official record)
City Hall, Room 332/334
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3290
(215) 686-3458, (215) 686-3459
FAX: (215) 686-1931
Email:

And, instead of yelling at people to volunteer; a little honey goes a long way.

It might be your humble opinion, but it's still against the law. I'm pretty sure the FNA would like to operate within the parameters of said law. We on the zoning comittee tend to follow these rules. Your arguement isn't valid.

Secondly, I'm not here to sweet talk people. I'm a community member and I had just as much right to be heard as the next.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Hmm, curiosity got the best of me and had to find the law and anything else related. Seems to me that you can put the flyers in mailboxes since this decision: http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/453/114/case.html#134 in 1981.

U.S. Supreme Court
USPS v. Council of Greenburgh Civic Assns., 453 U.S. 114 (1981)
United States Postal Service v. Council of
Greenburgh Civic Associations
No. 80-608
Argued April 21, 1981
Decided June 25, 1981

The District Court held that "enforcement of § 1725 against civic associations does not appear so necessary or contributive to enforcement of the anti-theft, anti-fraud or Private Express statutes that this interest outweighs the plaintiffs' substantial interest in expedient and economical communication with their constituents."

Scrambler's picture

I did not receive a flyer. At the door - table I was given a "within 500 feet" vote ticket.
I doubt anyone on my block recieved a flyer. I regularly pick up trash and papers on my block, and did not see any flyers.

So, an obviously biased moderator who works in a restaurant, lack of flyers given out, and the biased moderator giving out the flyers....
This is fair and Democratic?? Where, in North Korea?

Kenzo's picture

Pure to the rescue! Thanks for finding that.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Pure to the rescue! Thanks for finding that.

Thanks, Kenzo. Our legal experts can give their final opinion. I really thought that law people were saying was inane but what do I know, I'm just a dumb Fishtowner.

austen's picture

Nevermind.

Kenzo's picture

ShaunChristopher wrote:
Secondly, I'm not here to sweet talk people. I'm a community member and I had just as much right to be heard as the next.

No but you did touch a nerve and I picked up on it when you let the gathering know you needed to speed things along so you could get back to the restaurant... at a zoning meeting concerning another restaurant. Bit of a diplomatic error and that's where the claims of bias came in.

You do have the right to be heard, but (and this is IMO only), as a Zoning Coordinator or Zoning Chair, when it's clear that enough of the community is present, specifically for the folks coddling the Applicant along and preparing them for the presentation, it is in the Civic's better interest to abstain (or procedurally, to be barred) from taking part in the voting. And hey, if you're not voting, you can be heard even more without worrying about accusations of impartiality since it will be moot, and you can even be crass about it ("since I'm not voting, I think your proposal SUCKS/IS GREAT... carry on with your presentation, Sir!"). Neighbors don't get to hear the offline discussions the Zoning Committee has with the Applicant or the flurry of emails, so from a neighbor's perspective it comes off as "managed".

Again, FNA Zoning does have a good process (it probably could be more efficient but whatev), I'm offering that particular suggestion so that way you have a defense against bias claims put against FNA Zoning.

Perception of bias going out to neighbors will manifest itself in negative ways you won't perceive now, but may become apparent later.

As far as the outburst, you handled it like I would have handled it. And I happen to be a "maggot".

butch77's picture

-dis-engage lurking device-

argue a little semantics. i don't know of any house in philadelphia that has a mail BOX. we all have mail SLOTS. the p.o. monitors boxes for theft of checks. those would be the free standing things at curbside that you used to hit with baseball bats. but it's pretty hard to steal a check after its been put in your mail SLOT.
i'll await a negative response from stein.
- re-engage lurking device-
i'm gonna have to do away with the lurking device.

ShaunChristopher's picture

Glad you approve of how I handled the outburst. That kind of language has no place anywhere. Hardest part was refraining from saying what I really felt.

As far as the comment about getting back to the restaraunt, it was meant to be a joke to lighten the mood of an already tense situation. You could literally see veins popping out of people's foreheads on their way in.

Mailboxes? Mail slots? Whatever. We're told not to use them, so we don't. If anyone has a problem with it, by all means, come before the zoning comittee.

Or just complain here for no reason at all. Seems to be working wonders for everyone.

Kenzo's picture

ShaunChristopher wrote:
Or just complain here for no reason at all. Seems to be working wonders for everyone.

I think it's better that it's out here in the open, for everyone to read, than trash-talking outside people's steps. That's kinda what a neighborhood board is all about.

I don't walk on water--just offering some suggestions.

This meeting wasn't anywhere near as dramatic BTW as the Croquette one when they annexed 90% of their pavement plus pitched a flag and had busboys running back and forth to a traffic island... all illegal. Not by a long shot.

Leo's picture

I wonder if anyone complaining about these tables blocking the sidewalks has ever parked their car on the sidewalk?

Food for thought.

Kenzo's picture

No... "a taco for your thoughts."

newfish's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
And, instead of yelling at people to volunteer; a little honey goes a long way.

I don't volunteer because it looks like a thankless job could only make people dislike me more than baseline. I think that honey goes both ways. Every volunteer I've worked with quits once you start yelling at them, and it's probably tough for them to sugar coat responses when they're working for free to help you (like it or not, having an active FNA zoning is better for you than the alternative). So here's a big thank you to the zoning committee for doing a thankless job that I am not willing to volunteer for.

It's true that there's always room for improvement. That's a great find on the supreme court ruling. If that could be applied to how they deliver flyers, I'm sure it could help save them time and make sure word reaches residents better. Jordan or Leo, could you give us an official fishtown legal weigh in on this?

Leo's picture

United States Code TItle 18, Section 1725 wrote:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.

More here: http://pe.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/manuals/dmm_old/D041.pdf

Apparently, door slots are a-ok. But don't quote me on that.

stein's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Well now you're asking a loaded question.

its a loaded question to ask you verify what you said in an earlier post? sure thing man.

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Leo wrote:
United States Code TItle 18, Section 1725 wrote:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.

More here: http://pe.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/manuals/dmm_old/D041.pdf

Apparently, door slots are a-ok. But don't quote me on that.

Leo, what about the Supremes Ruling posted earlier from 1981.

http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/453/114/case.html#134 in 1981.

U.S. Supreme Court
USPS v. Council of Greenburgh Civic Assns., 453 U.S. 114 (1981)
United States Postal Service v. Council of
Greenburgh Civic Associations
No. 80-608
Argued April 21, 1981
Decided June 25, 1981

TLP's picture

Pure_Fishtown wrote:
Leo wrote:
United States Code TItle 18, Section 1725 wrote:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.

More here: http://pe.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/manuals/dmm_old/D041.pdf

Apparently, door slots are a-ok. But don't quote me on that.

Leo, what about the Supremes Ruling posted earlier from 1981.

http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/453/114/case.html#134 in 1981.

U.S. Supreme Court
USPS v. Council of Greenburgh Civic Assns., 453 U.S. 114 (1981)
United States Postal Service v. Council of
Greenburgh Civic Associations
No. 80-608
Argued April 21, 1981
Decided June 25, 1981

The lawyers can correct me here, but I think the Supreme Court upheld the USPS regulation against placing "mailable matter without postage" in mailboxes as the regulation is content-neutral.

That said, per the FAQ Leo linked to, we're allowed to use door slots, just not the mailboxes some folks have mounted next to their doors.

Kenzo's picture

No. This blurb that Pure found seems to exempt civic assocations from the mailbox ban:

"The District Court held that "enforcement of § 1725 against civic associations does not appear so necessary or contributive to enforcement of the anti-theft, anti-fraud or Private Express statutes that this interest outweighs the plaintiffs' substantial interest in expedient and economical communication with their constituents."

Leo/Jordan, can you look at that link (upthread) and see if that opinion holds?

The theoretical scenario is that someone who is vindictive jumps at the chance if they get a civic flyer in a USPS mailbox, then they file a rule complaint with USPS, which then would have to be sent off to a Federal court appeal by the civic should it get fined. That blurb may make civics immune from such rulings by USPS inspectors, meaning that on the very remote chance that someone who files a junk mail flyer complaint with the USPS over a zoning notice stuck in their mailbox--the civic won't be harmed by it.

ExUnit4's picture

That appears to be the way I interpret it as well. Even though Postmasters always told us no one else can use a mailbox ( they never clearly explain a Mailbox vs a mail Slot). GHuess it's a great thing the City has those stickers to alert circular folks that we don't want any either way.

TLP's picture

Kenzo wrote:
No. This blurb that Pure found seems to exempt civic assocations from the mailbox ban:

"The District Court held that "enforcement of § 1725 against civic associations does not appear so necessary or contributive to enforcement of the anti-theft, anti-fraud or Private Express statutes that this interest outweighs the plaintiffs' substantial interest in expedient and economical communication with their constituents."

Leo/Jordan, can you look at that link (upthread) and see if that opinion holds?

The theoretical scenario is that someone who is vindictive jumps at the chance if they get a civic flyer in a USPS mailbox, then they file a rule complaint with USPS, which then would have to be sent off to a Federal court appeal by the civic should it get fined. That blurb may make civics immune from such rulings by USPS inspectors, meaning that on the very remote chance that someone who files a junk mail flyer complaint with the USPS over a zoning notice stuck in their mailbox--the civic won't be harmed by it.

I read it as the District Court ruled in favor of the Civic Assn, and the Supreme Court overruled that in favor of the USPS.

Kenzo's picture

TLP wrote:
Kenzo wrote:
No. This blurb that Pure found seems to exempt civic assocations from the mailbox ban:

"The District Court held that "enforcement of § 1725 against civic associations does not appear so necessary or contributive to enforcement of the anti-theft, anti-fraud or Private Express statutes that this interest outweighs the plaintiffs' substantial interest in expedient and economical communication with their constituents."

Leo/Jordan, can you look at that link (upthread) and see if that opinion holds?

The theoretical scenario is that someone who is vindictive jumps at the chance if they get a civic flyer in a USPS mailbox, then they file a rule complaint with USPS, which then would have to be sent off to a Federal court appeal by the civic should it get fined. That blurb may make civics immune from such rulings by USPS inspectors, meaning that on the very remote chance that someone who files a junk mail flyer complaint with the USPS over a zoning notice stuck in their mailbox--the civic won't be harmed by it.

I read it as the District Court ruled in favor of the Civic Assn, and the Supreme Court overruled that in favor of the USPS.

Makes sense... you create a 1st Amendment paradox if you allow one form of speech (important zoning notices) but continue to ban others (Megadeals on Pop-Tarts at ShopRite!!!).

TLP's picture

From the top of the Supreme Court page:

Quote:
Held: Section 1725 does not unconstitutionally abridge appellees' First Amendment rights, inasmuch as neither the enactment nor the enforcement of § 1725 is geared in any way to the content of the message sought to be placed in the letterbox. Pp. 453 U. S. 120-134.

(a) When a letterbox is designated an "authorized depository" of the mail by the Postal Service, it becomes an essential part of the nationwide system for the delivery and receipt of mail. In effect, the postal customer, although he pays for the physical components of the "authorized depository," agrees to abide by the Postal Service's regulations in exchange for the Postal Service agreeing to deliver and pick up his mail. A letterbox, once designated an "authorized depository," does not at the same time transform itself into a "public forum" of some limited nature to which the First Amendment guarantees access to all comers. Just because it may be somewhat more efficient for appellees to place their messages in letterboxes does not mean that there is a First Amendment right to do so. The First Amendment does not guarantee access to property simply because it is owned or controlled by the Government. Pp. 453 U. S. 126-131.

Page 453 U. S. 115

(b) Congress, in exercising its constitutional authority to develop and operate a national postal system, may properly legislate with the generality of cases in mind, and should not be put to the test of defending in one township after another the constitutionality of a statute under the traditional "time, place, and manner" analysis. If Congress and the Postal Service are to operate as efficiently as possible an extensive system for the delivery of mail, they must adopt regulations of a general character having uniform applicability throughout the Nation. In this case, Congress was legislating to promote what it considered to be the efficiency of the Postal Service, and was not laying down a generalized prohibition against the distribution of leaflets or the discussion of issues in traditional public forums. Pp. 453 U. S. 133-133.

(c) While Congress may not, by its own ipse dixit, destroy the "public forum" status of streets and parks, a letterbox may not properly be analogized to streets and parks. Pp. 453 U. S. 133-134.

490 F.Supp. 157, reversed.

TLP's picture

Kenzo wrote:
Makes sense... you create a 1st Amendment paradox if you allow one form of speech (important zoning notices) but continue to ban others (Megadeals on Pop-Tarts at ShopRite!!!).

Exactly. Sad, but true.

Either the civics have to pay postage to be allowed the privilege of using a USPS-sanctioned mailbox (which I don't think any group could afford), or the USPS would have to allow anyone to put anything in a mailbox, which they would never agree to I suppose.

austen's picture

And there it is. It's not a cop out to NOT put flyers in people's mail receptacles.

Now - can we stop with this already? Sheesh.

Leo's picture

FNA should invest in Bandit Signs instead.

fuzzybottoms's picture

Leo wrote:
FNA should invest in Bandit Signs instead.

An excellent idea! I'll bring this up at the next zoning committee meeting.

Kidding, kidding.

Kenzo's picture

Leo wrote:
FNA should invest in Bandit Signs instead.

cállate su boca

Leo's picture

I'll start printing today on heavy cardstock.

Kenzo's picture

Hmm this legal catnip has given me an idea how to make Slafman's life miserable.

Has ANYBODY gotten one of his flyers in their MAILBOX (not mail slot) lately? They look like this:

If you have gotten one of these flyers put in your USPS MAILBOX, please send me a PM. I have a form I'd like you to fill out and give to the Postal Service.

FPDA's picture

karp wrote:
The final vote for this project was 39-17 in support. The residents within 500' voted 19 yes to 12 no the remaining community within our borders voted 20 yes to 5 no.

Apparently, despite some pretty heavy support in the neighborhood for the outdoor seating, it's being held up. A few naysayers have petitioned city council to block the zoning. What a bummer.

Matt Benatar's picture

I went to Loco Pez a week ago. We had a great time, and saw quite a few people we know. I think the immediate area could use a few tables outside. We saw some open air drug deals going on right outside as we stood waiting for my friend to finish his "last cigarette ever, for real this time."
There was a Nissan Altima, silver, New Jersey license plate 013436N, selling to a sunburnt shirtless sweatpanted tattooed junky with little sense of discretion.
If they had outside tables, there might be less of that.