Bunting House Denied Request For Injunction (Updated With Analysis)

 

Photo: Christopher Mote

Photo: Christopher Mote

3:40PM Update

Anthony and Frank Giovannone, the owners of the Bunting House, in addition to the three blighted houses next door along Ridge Avenue, plan on tearing down all four properties–none of which is listed on the city’s Historic Register–and leaving them vacant for future redevelopment. They contend that they were unable to find a viable tenant for the 130-year-old house despite agreeing to hold off on demolition for 30 days to consider new offers. Some neighbors, though, questioned the owners’ intentions, alleging that several offers to purchase the house at its market value were never given full consideration.

Neighbors led by the Central Roxborough Civic Association formally requested injunctive relief after the 30-day pause had expired to allow time for their appeals to be taken up. Attorney Hal Schirmer presented the case that the city’s recently updated zoning code did not permit a vacant lot as an allowable use. He contended that the newness of the code merited a review before any demolition activity could commence.

However, Carl Primavera, the attorney for the Giovannones, countered that “vacant lot” was not a use in itself but rather the absence of a use. Deputy solicitor Andrew Ross, representing the Department of Licenses and Inspections, said that there had been no change in the code regarding allowable use and that the City had followed the correct procedure in issuing the permit to the Giovannones.

In denying the request for injunction, Common Pleas Judge Idee Fox appears to have decided that the new code did not present enough ambiguity to support Schirmer’s interpretation.

The neighbors’ appeals to the Board of L&I Review (concerning the demolition permit) and the Zoning Board of Adjustment (concerning acceptable use) are still pending. However, the developers are under no obligation to withhold from demolition activity before the appeals are heard.

The house takes its name from its first resident, Ross Richardson Bunting, a prominent Philadelphia physician. Bunting and his family are buried in the nearby cemetery of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.

11AM

A Court of Common Pleas judge, Idee Fox, who ruled previously to allow demolition of the Church of the Assumption, has denied a petition brought by the Central Roxborough Civic Association to stay the demolition permit for the Bunting House in Roxborough.

For our previous stories on the effort to save the mansion, click HERE and HERE.

About the author

Christopher Mote covers stories of preservation, planning, zoning and development. He lives in South Philadelphia and has a special fondness for brownstone churches and mansard roofs.



1 Comment


  1. I think it’s becoming evident that Idee Fox is no friend of historic preservation.

Trackbacks

  1. Lost Buildings Of 2012 | Hidden City Philadelphia
Recent Posts
My Favorite Place: Carman Garden Skating Rink

My Favorite Place: Carman Garden Skating Rink

September 30, 2014  |  My Favorite Place

Take a peek inside Carmen Gardens, where we'll be celebrating the Hidden City Daily's third anniversary this Friday, October 3rd > more

Demolition of Fishtown’s St. Laurentius More And More Likely

Demolition of Fishtown’s St. Laurentius More And More Likely

September 30, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Chaput decertifies Polish church, how to connect The Circuit, residences coming to 36th & Market Science Center project, and City Council reportedly mulling over selling PGW > more

The Legend Of Midtown Village

The Legend Of Midtown Village

September 29, 2014  |  The Shadow Knows

Chemistry labs, karate, puppet theater, and a prostitution ring? The Shadow strikes again! This week we hear about the Guilded Age real estate mogul Felix Isman and his bay-windowed beauty at 13th and Sansom > more

A Councilman And An Army Of Volunteers Clean Up The Delaware Riverbank

A Councilman And An Army Of Volunteers Clean Up The Delaware Riverbank

September 29, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Over three tons removed from Delaware River, scaffolding goes up around Lit Bros., a petition for better development at Clark Park, and four new homes in Roxborough > more

National Liberty Museum Hopes To Inspire An Appreciation For Freedom

National Liberty Museum Hopes To Inspire An Appreciation For Freedom

September 26, 2014  |  Morning Blend

The National Liberty Museum updates its exhibitions, AAA claims vested rights for Pennsport project, Google to drop “Temple Town” designation, and some surprise storm water management work next to Dickinson Square Park > more

Brewing With Solidarity At Win Win Coffee Bar

Brewing With Solidarity At Win Win Coffee Bar

September 26, 2014  |  Walk the Walk

A cooperative-run coffee and cocktail bar on Spring Garden Street goes deep for the Win Win. Joseph Brin has this story of building a business with consensus > more