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

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Monument Lab Artist Stands Up For The City's Lost Stoops

Monument Lab Artist Stands Up For The City’s Lost Stoops

August 17, 2017  |  Vantage

Artist Kaitlin Pomerantz is on a mission to save Philadelphia's castaway stoops. Her project for this year's Monument Lab will memorialize the city's proverbial outdoor living room with a collection of salvaged stoops inside Washington Square Park. Contributor Star Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

In The Aftermath Of Charlottesville, Counting On The Catto Memorial

In The Aftermath Of Charlottesville, Counting On The Catto Memorial

August 15, 2017  |  Soapbox

As Southern cities erupt in protest and race-fueled violence over the removal of Confederate memorials, historian Amy Cohen looks at Philadelphia's lack of diversity in public monuments > more

In

In “Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture,” The City Is A Muse

August 11, 2017  |  Buzz

Groundbreaking exhibit of the work of Louis Kahn brings his ideas to life, says Nathaniel Popkin > more

Convention Center Survivor A Symbol Of Philly's Faded Industries

Convention Center Survivor A Symbol Of Philly’s Faded Industries

August 10, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow takes us for a spin to the corner of Race and Camac Streets where the city's commercial sectors have shifted gears for over a century > more

A Sneak Peek At <em>Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies</em>

A Sneak Peek At Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

August 8, 2017  |  Buzz

Michael Bixler has this behind-the scenes look at Cai Guo-Qiang's interactive dreamscape, "Fireflies." The Chinese artist will debut his mobile art project on September 14 in celebration of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway's centennial > more

City Mobilizes Against Trash With Zero Waste Action Plan

City Mobilizes Against Trash With Zero Waste Action Plan

August 7, 2017  |  News

Can the City eliminate Philly's litter epidemic by 2030? Nic Esposito, director of the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, says it can be done if government and residents work together. Michael Bixler catches up with the 'litter czar' to discuss an ambitious, municipal action plan to tackle the issue > more