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Complicated Waterfront AAA Project Has Appeal Denied

Remember that curious case of the waterfront AAA auto/insurance facility that was shot down by the Planning Commission way back in May? Well, AAA's appeal recently went before the Zoning Board of Adjustment and, according to PlanPhilly, the board shot it down as well. AAA has already cleared the site and, in knocking down a few vacant buildings near the Home Depot on Columbus Blvd., claimed vested rights in the property, meaning it couldn't be taken from them legally as they are invested in the property. L+I issued the original permit and later revoked it. Does your brain hurt? It should.

Here's the timeline, according to PlanPhilly:

"On June 4, 2013, AAA applied for a zoning permit to develop its project on the property at 1601 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, which is owned by a separate entity. On June 5, a new zoning overlay went into effect that prevents auto-related uses from being built on the Central Delaware. Then, in January of this year, L&I issued the zoning permit. But it turns out that AAA hadn't met all the requirements for the permit even under the old zoning overlay. (Under the old overlay, the plan would have required a Plan of Development (POD) review by the full Planning Commission.) On January 31, Pennsport Civic Association filed an appeal of the permit. On February 28, L&I sent AAA a letter saying it intended to revoke the permit, which it did shortly thereafter."

AAA plans include a one-story auto service and insurance retail center with parking on the lot at the corner of Tasker St. and Columbus Blvd. Opponents want the Central Delaware Overlay upheld and to preserve the area for future use by pedestrians and bikers with less car-oriented development. PlanPhilly reports that AAA will appeal the latest decision by the ZBA and take it up with the Court of Common Pleas.
· Zoning board denies appeal for AAA on Columbus Boulevard [PlanPhilly]
· Planning Commission Shoots Down Pennsport AAA Development [Curbed Philly]