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.

Send him a message at: motecw[at]hotmail[dot]com



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
Claiming Fraud, Owner Of Metropolitan Opera House Seeks To Dissolve Ties To Eric Blumenfeld

Claiming Fraud, Owner Of Metropolitan Opera House Seeks To Dissolve Ties To Eric Blumenfeld

March 3, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Church group says developer misrepresented himself, a transatlantic discussion for the Lehigh Viaduct’s reuse, Maxfield Tower completed in Fairmount, and nearly 4 million PA residents at risk in event of “bomb train” derailment > more

The Costs Of Selling Schools

The Costs Of Selling Schools

March 2, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Why the City only sees two-thirds of profits from selling its inventory of vacant schools, a call for subsidized transportation for students, funding ready for South Philly art installation, urban poverty as everyone’s problem, and Council Districts’ most dangerous intersections > more

The Toughest Little Hut In Logan Square

The Toughest Little Hut In Logan Square

March 2, 2015  |  The Shadow Knows

Development of the lot at 20th and Arch has been cursed since the Kahn Building was demolished in 1929, only 8 years after its construction. Ironically, an easy to miss, colorful little Gulf Oil station has survived at the spot for 85 years--long enough to be placed on the Philadelphia Register. The Shadow serves up a big slice of history on this heartening little hut > more

Historical Commission To Consider Protecting Blue Horizon Exterior

Historical Commission To Consider Protecting Blue Horizon Exterior

February 27, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Developers still looking for funds for historic boxing venue’s reuse, the benefits of “loose” playgrounds, construction underway for W Hotel, and arts studio to open on S. 11th Street > more

Seeing Between The Ci-Lines: St. Andrew's Chapel Awakened With Art And Geometry

Seeing Between The Ci-Lines: St. Andrew’s Chapel Awakened With Art And Geometry

February 27, 2015  |  Last Light

Temporary art installation Ci-Lines opens this Saturday inside the ornate, vacant St. Andrew's Chapel on Spruce Street in West Philly. We spoke with the project's artist Aaron Asis about community engagement, vacant and abandoned site activation, and urban preservation > more

Mayor’s Office Awards $60K For Performances In Public Spaces Program

Mayor’s Office Awards $60K For Performances In Public Spaces Program

February 26, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Pilot program will bring the arts to 23 public spaces throughout the city, Grays Ferry park to be renovated, Nebinger to install new gateway, microgrants for Newbold, and stained-glass on the Avenue of the Arts > more