Upper Darby Council President Donald Bonnett voiced his opposition to two zoning applications at a recent hearing. He was also representing the opinion of Councilman Thomas Wagner, also opposed, but unable to attend the zoning hearing board.

By LindaReilly

SPIRIT correspondent

Upper Darby zoners reserved a decision on two recent applications before the hearing board after opposition from officials and neighbors.

The application for the Hong Kong Garden Asian Food Restaurant for a variance for relief of the required number of parking spaces was held for further study.

The application of a Drexel Hill dentist to continue using his house for his profession was also held for further study.

Attorney Claire Adler, speaking on behalf of tenants of the Asian restaurant, 4304 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, asked for a variance for relief from the required parking spaces.

The property, at the corner of Township Line Road and Drexel Ave., is located at the site of the former Welsh Farm convenience store. The building is in a row of store fronts housing a nail salon, pizza shop, tailor, dry cleaner and former convenience store.

“It requires 10 spaces and we believe we have seven,” Adler said. “For more than 20 years all the properties use the spaces in common. Parking has been this way in excess of 20 years.”

Parking spaces are on Township Line Road, Drexel Ave. and in the rear of the stores.

Zoning solicitor Charles McDonald challenged the statement, noting the square footage of the other businesses was not readily available since the number of parking spaces is determined by the square footage of the businesses.

Council President Don Bonnett, representing himself and Third District Councilman Thomas Wagner, who could not attend the hearing, both opposed the business citing the lack of parking.

“There are five premises in this contiguous facility,” Bonnett said. “Out of 29 spaces, the nail salon has a right to 15 spaces by deed. I strongly oppose the sit-down restaurant.”

Howard A. Kaplan, D.D.S., represented himself in the hearing for the use variance of a dental office in his home, 620 Edmonds Ave., at the corner of Woodland Ave.

According to Kaplan, he has no signs in front of his single home and has been practicing dentistry there for 15 years without obtaining the variance.

Bonnett opposed and offered opposition from Wagner as well, objecting to the dental office in the R-1 residential zoning district.

“Mr. Wagner received a comment in opposition from a neighbor across the street,” Bonnett said.

Two neighbors, Cheryl Boberick and Kirsten Russo, who live on the 600 block of Edmonds, opposed the use.

“Granting approval will have a financial impact on residences,” Boberick said. “This is not a business district. Businesses fundamentally change neighborhoods. I don’t want a business on my street.”

For Russo, her biggest concern is that it would set a precedent. “What’s to stop another business?” Russo asked. “I prefer to keep it a residential neighborhood.”

Both applicants will receive notice of the board’s decision within 45 days.

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