The Department of L&I issued a permit yesterday to Barry Sable to shrink the frame of a half-built townhouse in Pennsport by about two feet. As Kellie Patrick Gates reported last week, the Department had issued a stop-work order after neighbors complained that the buildings had grown too tall.
L&I measured the building, and determined that it was in fact 1 foot, 10 inches taller than the max height allowed under a zoning variance: 43 feet, 1.5 inches.
In order to shrink the building, workers will lift it off the ground and remove a portion of the first story. Here’s the process as described by L&I:
“Activity requires jacking structure up from the existing foundation, modifying first floor walls, and resetting house onto foundation ... Continuous special inspections shall be provided during the entire lifting and re-setting operation as outlined in the special inspection form and the plan review form attached to the permit documents. Required street and footway closures shall be executed under the approval, direction, and guidelines of City of Phila. Department of Streets.”
Pennsport President Moylan has said his community voted to support the zoning variance that allows Sable to build beyond the 39-foot limit set for the neighborhood, as well as several other variances the project needed, and Pennsport remains in support of the project designed by Harman Deutsch Architecture– so long as it comes down to size.
Reached by phone Friday morning, Barry Sable declined to elaborate on the procedure or to say when it would take place. Rebecca Swanson, a spokeswoman for L&I, said the work has not been scheduled.
"[The] contractor will have to call both L&I and Streets before starting work," Swanson said in an email. "Our inspectors will be out there monitoring the work, and Streets will have to go out to shut down Reed and 3rd while the work is taking place."
Constitution Court will rise from the former site of St. John the Evangelist Church. The city put new, more stringent procedures in place for demolitions in the wake of the June collapse of a building under demolition at 22nd and Market streets. Six people were killed, and 14 injured.
Sable told PlanPhilly last week that he hopes to have the 3,800-square-foot, four-story homes – which will feature hardwood floors, rooftop decks with multiple city views and garages with optional hydraulic lifts that accommodate two cars – ready for the spring housing market.
Jared Brey writes about development, zoning policy, and city government for PlanPhilly.com. He wasn't interested in being a reporter until halfway through a master's program in journalism at Temple University that he intended to parlay into an academic career. His work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, City Paper, Business Journal, and Metropolis.