by Wesley Ratko

Representatives for the Philadelphia Cricket Club appeared before the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Land Use Planning and Zoning committee Thursday night, Dec. 6, to present their proposed upgrades to the St. Martins Clubhouse at 415 W. Willow Grove Ave.

The project was “expedited” by the CHCA board, meaning the DRC would have a final vote on the project instead of returning to the board in January. The project was not opposed by anyone in attendance.

Jim Bogrette, architect with the firm of Kimmel Bogrette, presented drawings and architectural elevations of the St. Martin’s campus. He was supported by Club General Manager Tim Muessle and Carl Primavera, attorney for the Club.

The change program they displayed will focus on three specific areas of the club property. Bogrette and others noted the intention of the club to stay within the confines of their current building footprint.

“The program was developed to ensure building only where we had to,” Bogrette said.

The first area, along W. Willow Grove Avenue is a proposed reorientation of the paddle tennis courts to allow for better views of play on the larger tennis courts and to support socialization. The courts, which are now four feet above grade, would be lowered to ground level. Activity in this area of the club would also include the construction of an enclosed tennis pavilion building with covered seating on either side. The pavilion would have a hard roof as opposed to the “tent-like” structure now present.

Expansion of the squash and fitness center building will include social space and a pro shop.

Finally, the infant swimming pool will be moved away from the driveway to the lawn at the rear. No relocation of the main swimming pool was suggested.

A landscaping plan was not presented but Primavera assured one would be ready for presentation to the DRC on December 18.

The proposed improvements will increase the impervious coverage on the property, which will require relief from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

“This is just a technicality,” Primavera said.

He explained that the soccer field adjacent to the club is legally viewed as a separate parcel and, as such, was not incorporated into the storm water management calculations necessary for city approval. Primavera said they intend to consolidate these two parcels into a single parcel, the effect of which will adjust the storm water management calculations and bring them into compliance.

Primavera said parcel consolidation would take between two and five months, with a new land survey and certification from the city surveyor.

The LUPZ unanimously passed a motion to recommend that the CHCA Board support the requested variances, conditional on the PCC’s agreement to provide a landscape plan, a statement of intent that the two parcels would be combined into one, a three-dimensional rendering of all proposed building, and documentation that all near neighbors have been contacted and informed about the project.