August 26, 2010

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Neighbors appeal ZBA ruling on dialysis center

Peter and Susan Burke, near neighbors of the proposed dialysis center at 10 E. Moreland Avenue, appealed a July 6  Zoning Board of Adjustments decision to allow the dialysis center to operate until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The appeal was filed by attorney Dan McElhatton on Aug. 3. McElhatton represented neighbors opposed to the zoning variance requests of The Good Food Market last year.

The ZBA had originally approved a variance for the dialysis center with a proviso that it close no later than 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the urging of several neighbors who also presented the ZBA with a petition signed by 72 other nearby residents. After the initial decision, Fresenius Medical Care hired philadelphia zoning lawyer Carl Primavera who asked the ZBA to reconsider the decision, suggesting that the restricted hours would likely prevent the dialysis center from opening.

Primavera told the Local at the time that Fresenius did not want to renovate the property for a center with that kind of restriction. He said Fresenius representatives did not adequately convey that sentiment to the ZBA so he was asking them to reconsider. The ZBA did so, reversing their decision.

The Burkes were clearly unhappy with the decision and decided to appeal it in common pleas court. The one-paragraph notice of appeal calls the decision “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to the evidence of record and the Laws of Philadelphia.” In an e-mail to the Local, Burke wrote:  “It is our concern that only politically connected, big business oriented opinions ... were given any weight by the ZBA. 72 neighbors do not appear to count in the ZBA decision process! “

Burke said he has not yet been informed of a hearing date but expects to have a hearing before years’ end.

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