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Jewelers Row: ZBA delays decision on appeals until October

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The hearing was called “petty” and “offensive”

The Zoning Board of Adjustment decided to continue discussion of appeals filed by preservationists and tenants of multiple properties on Jewelers Row until October after an attorney in the room called the arguments "petty" and "offensive" to the board.

The ZBA this afternoon was scheduled to consider five appeals regarding zoning permits issued by Licenses and Inspections (L&I) for 128 S. 7th Street and 702, 704, 706-08, and 710 Sansom Street. The apellants argued that L&I did not properly post notices of the permits to the properties at the time that they were issued.

The only zoning permit that was posted was on the 7th street property, which is around the corner from the properties on Jewelers Row.

L&I is required to post a notice of an issued zoning permit onto each respective property, which allows potential appellants to file an appeal within 30 days of notice. The appellants in this case, which included Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and Maryanne Ritter, a tenant at 704 Sansom, argued that the average person walking by could misconstrue the one sign, assuming that it’s just the one property that will be demolished.

A city representative agreed that L&I did not post the permits, save for the one at 7th Street. Yet Ronald J. Patterson, legal representative for Toll Brothers, argued that the failure to post the notices does not validate filing the appeals. In addition, he said Toll Brothers was authorized to file the permits since they are equitable owners with the current owners.

After an hour of talks, including one outburst from an attorney in the room who shouted at the Alliance’s legal representative that "this is not a game" and was a waste of the board’s time, the ZBA decided to delay a decision on the five appeals until October 5.

By then, word on the street is that Toll Brothers may have a design to show for their proposed 16-story residential tower.