We got a kick out of the comments on Facebook and other sites regarding our campaign to maintain open space and a 80 year old tree in South Philadelphia. Some will make you laugh and others will make you go what? Please help save open space in development projects and signand shareour petition today.
Long before this issue with the tree and the development came along we had found the picture of the tree in a 1962 photo posted by the www.PhillyHistory.org. Here you can see the tree and even in 1962 it was pretty big and we estimate at least 20 years old. During our walks around the neighborhood, many older residents have said they remember the tree from when they were kids and they are in their 80’s. Permission was granted by www.PhillyHistory.org to share these images with you. The picture below can be found at http://www.phillyhistory.org/PhotoArchive/Detail.aspx?assetId=71801
Neighbors commented during our petition walk about that they remember swinging on the old tree in the 60’s and landing on old mattresses in the empty lot. We are hoping to get some stories for another post.
Here are some additional pictures from around the neighborhood in 1962.
Neighbors and Friends Out for a Night Out Under the Tree and a Movie
Trees can be amazing neighborhood builders. Our efforts to discuss development, open space, zoning, trees and development have brought out the neighbors for a night out. On Saturday, July 23, 2016 about 30 plus neighbors and friends sat with the tree in the background and had Ice Treats and watched the movie The Lorax.
Everyone loved the movie night and we got more signatures from friends and neighbors for the petition.
Some key points is that the weekends are easier to get and cost less than weekdays and that the signature for the permit has to live on the block. Owning the corner property does not count. Everyone on the block was great and very supportive of the event and pretty much all signed the petition. We only missed people if they were not home. We also learned that even the Friends of the Parks have to get permits for their events. Go figure that one out!
The Lorax is a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the Once-ler. As in most Dr. Seuss works, most of the creatures mentioned are original to the book.
The book is commonly recognized as a fable concerning the danger corporate greed poses to nature, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler and the environment as The Lorax.
This was perfect movie for adults and kids showing how greed and over development can easily wipe all the trees off the neighborhood.
Here is a clip link:
If you are interested in playing movies for public consumption there are basically two places to go to and you have to purchase the movie license for the night.
Our 80-plus year old tree is in danger from development plans on an adjacent lot that is just too small for building or living, 14ft wide x 20ft deep. The design calls for a 3 story trinity house which would force cutting almost half the branches. If the shock doesn’t kill the tree, it would still be unbalanced, posing the danger of falling toward our house or neighbor’s properties,
The plan is coming before the Philadelphia Zoning Board soon. Hopefully, they will see that the lot is too small for the suggested plan. However, if the Philadelphia Zoning Board releases the lot’s owner from the open space requirements, our tree will be destroyed.
Here is a summary of our discussion with the lot’s owner/developer so far:
In our very first encounter (Early 2015) before he purchased the lot, we told him the lot would not be worth it. There was no way the local area was going to permit a curb cut for a garage, because they just turned down similar requests to larger houses down the street.
The next encounter (Saturday 5/16/2015): The gentleman approached saying that he bought the lot property next to our house and said he was going to build upon it. I told him we would fight any zoning changes for the property use. Here is one of his comments as it related to the Old Tree:
You are going to have to get the tree off my property side when I build my work shed.
That’s when we asked our tree company to trim up the tree as much as possible to get room for the developer. Our Arborist said that if they take away that big branch, we will have to take away the entire tree for safety.
We heard nothing for a year, until Friday night (6/3/2016), when the developer posted a notice for a zoning meeting on Tuesday 6/7/2016. This left us one weeknight to circulate a petition among the neighbors. In less than 2 hours we got 47 signatures Against the Zoning Relief!
At the Pennsport Civic Association Zoning meeting (Tuesday, 6/7/2016), the Developer said:
If the tree is on my side, I can trim that, correct?
After the 6/7 meeting, we figured the next meeting would be on August 3, 2016 with the Philadelphia Zoning Board in downtown Philly. However, we got another late Friday night (6/17/2016) notice for a meeting on Tuesday 6/21/2016. A bunch of neighbors were complaining about the late notice, and how only a few people could make the meeting.
At the next Pennsport Civic Association Zoning meeting on Tuesday 6/21/2016, I mentioned that we had the arborist clean up the tree as far above his lot as possible. The Developer replied:
Did you get a quote for cutting down the tree?
We don’t want our tree to be cut down! It is one of the oldest, tallest trees remaining in our neighborhood of South Philly. The Big Tree helps
4 Month old sister kittens, Bubbles and Heart, watching the birds in the Big Old 2St Tree. They are rescues from a neighbor in Queens Village. They love sitting in the stairs and looking out the window at the birds in the tree.