The Sansom Street Community Coalition
On the matter of 4508 Chestnut Street

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Bill No. 050575: "An Ordinance authorizing the Commissioner of Public Property, on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, to enter into an agreement to sublease from the Philadelphia Municipal Authority a building located at 4508 Chestnut Street, under certain terms and conditions."

Latest News:

SSCC meeting held on 14 September at West Catholic HS.

A two hour meeting of the Sansom Street Community Coalition was held at 6:30 in the auditorium of West Catholic High School.

The meeting was advertised by flyers distributed to properties in the 4400, 4500 and 4600 blocks of Walnut, Sansom and Chestnut Streets; the unit and 100 blocks of 45th, 46th and Faragut Streets -- the neighbors in the area immediately adjacent to 4508 Chestnut Street.

The purpose of the meeting was to ascertain community attitude toward the proposed Homeless Shelter and the possibility of an alternative usage by the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, as a LIFE facility (Living Independly for Elders) -- an adult day health center, which includes primary care nurses and physicians, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, recreation therapists, clergy, home health aides, dieticians, and drivers

Councilwoman Blackwell announces alternate proposal for 4508 Chestnut

At the "Tour of 4508" held on Tuesday 16 August, Councilwoman Blackwell announced that the University of Pennsylvania had submitted an alternate proposal for the property at 4508 Chestnut. Only sketchy information was mentioned at that time:
The School of Nursing is looking to consolidate its Geriatric teaching facilities at the location.
More details will be posted as soon as they are obtained from the Councilwoman's office.

Zoning Hearing Update

The "re-hearing" scheduled for 7 September has also been "continued."

At the Zoning Hearing on Wednesday, 10 August at 2pm, in the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) hearing room at 1515 Arch (the former headquarters of Bell Atlantic and known then as One Parkway), attended by about 40-50 neighbors, Attorney's for Councilwoman Blackwell and the Developer, asked for a "continuance."

A "Continuance" is simply asking that the Hearing be postponed to a future time.

The ZBA itself will inform those who attended and filled out the Attendance form, when the next hearing date is scheduled. It might be as soon as September, or it might be several months away.

The posted Zoning Notice reads a follows:

"Permit / Certificate is for a supervised Residential Care/Shelter for a maximum of 96 units occupied by 340 occupants to include a day care for a maximum of 220 children, 100 children under 2 1/2 years of age, (all capable of self-preservation and not under jurisdiction of city state or federal penal correctional including accessory offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, storage, lounges and laundries, all in an existing four (4) story detached building; for the reconfiguration of the parking lot to 17 spaces (10'x20') including 2 handicapped spaces."
The Existing Zoning of 4500 Chestnut area is shown in this Map (112 KB pdf) from the City's on-line Maps "CityMaps" database: (
4508 Chestnut building
4508 Chestnut Street


Mercy Douglass Human Services operated the property at 4508 Chestnut Street as a Nursing Home for some number of years up until about 2000.

According to the Board of Revision of taxes data, the property was purchased by 4508 Chestnut Street Association, LP. for $488,300 at "Forced sale, Sheriff sale, bankruptcy sale, condemnation, deed in lieu of condemnation, court ordered sale."

History of this ordinance:

Ordinance 050575 was proposed to City Council on 2 June 2005 by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and referred to the Council Committee on Public Property and Public Works, which scheduled a public hearing on the ordinance for 15 June 2005.

The hearing notice was spotted in the Inquirer by a neighbor on Chestnut Street. No direct notice was provided to anyone in the surrounding community about the hearing, other than the legally required newspaper advertisement of the hearing.

Prior to the Hearing, a copy of the proposed Ordinance was obtained from the Clerk of Council's office. However, at that time the Ordinance was nothing more than the Title of the Ordinance and some "boiler plate." That is, no detail of what was being proposed was available. The "Exhibit A" information was apparently delivered to the Committee members immediately prior to, or at, the hearing by Joan Schlotterbeck, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Property for the City, as it is dated 15 June 2005, the date of the Hearing.

Attempting to determine the details of the Ordinance, various organizations, neighbors and Real Estate Professional in the area were contacted, including the UCD, Spruce Hill Zoning Committee, and the developers working on the properties in the 4500 block of Sansom which back up on 4508 Chestnut.

After determining that no one in the neighborhood had been contacted by Councilwoman Blackwell's office or was aware of any information on the proposed usage, other than a vague rumor that the "Homeless Shelter plan" for the site, [first rumored two years ago when the property was purchased by the current owners], was again active, Bill Magill, Block Captain of the 4400 block of Chestnut, attended the hearing to register the neighborhoods lack of consultation on the project. (The transcript of that hearing can be found below.)

Approved by the Committee at that meeting, the ordinance received its "first reading" at the Full Council meeting the following day, 16 June 2005.

The second reading is scheduled for the first Council meeting in the Fall, 15 September 2005.

After the hearing, a copy of the Ordinance and "Exhibit A" (the proposed Terms and Conditions), was obtained from the Clerk of Council's office.

Pertinent details from Exhibit A are:

Ordinance 050575 (124.3 KB pdf)
Ordinance 050575 - Exhibit "A" - Page 1 (71.3 KB pdf)
Ordinance 050575 - Exhibit "A" - Page 2 (59.4 KB pdf)
Ordinance 050575 - Exhibit "A" - Page 3 (53.8 KB pdf)
Ordinance 050575 - Exhibit "A" - Page 4 (45.3 KB pdf)
Transcript of Property Committee hearing 15 June 2005 (67.7 KB ASCII)

A map of Social Service Providers in the University City area

As of 3 August, 2005:
This inventory of Social Service Providers is still in the process of compilation. It presently contains 93 entries (see the map key for details).

The map displays the inventory of Social Service Providers in the University City, West Philadelphia area, 3nd Councilmanic District.

Anyone with knowledge of properties not listed, is urged to forward the information to the Sansom Street Community Coalition. []

Map of Social Service Providers in University City (80 KB pdf)
(Updated 3 August, 2005 - Inventory not yet complete)
Map key (Updated 3 August, 2005 - Inventory not yet complete)

The Sansom Street Community Coalition
Position Statement Regarding Bill No. 050575

A meeting was held by the Sansom Street Community Coalition on 16 July 2005 at the A.I.C.P. Mosque at the corner of Walnut and 45th Streets, where local homeowners, landlords, tenants, institutional representatives, and developers discussed the bill. This position statement is a result of that meeting.
Position Statement (32 KB pdf)
Position Statement (5K plain text format)

Petition to Withdraw Bill No. 050575 from Consideration by the Council of The City of Philadelphia

Petition (16 KB pdf)
Petition (1K plain text format)

Description of the Sansom Street Community Coalition

The Sansom Street Community Coalition is described here.

City Planning Commission Documents

45th and Sansom Redevelopment Area Plan (February 2002)
45th and Sansom Area Blight Recertification (February 2002)
45th and Sansom Expansion Redevelopment Area Plan (November 2003)
45th and Sansom Expansion Blight Certification (November 2003)

Passed events:

Public Meeting Scheduled:

In response to community opposition, Councilwoman Blackwell has scheduled a Public Meeting on her bill for Thursday, 4  August at 6pm in the auditorium of West Philadelphia High School; entrance on 47th St about midway between Walnut and Locust.
Public Meeting Flyer (780 KB pdf)

Zoning Hearing Scheduled:

The Zoning Hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, 10 August at 2pm, 1515 Arch 18th Floor.

Tour of 4508 Chestnut offered

Otis Bullock, Councilwoman Blackwell's Legislative Assistant and Attorney representing her at the ZBA hearing, offered that there would be a tour of 4508 Chestnut Street on Tuesday, 16 August, at 5pm.

He also indicated that a tour of the facility at 44th and Girard would be offered at 3:30pm, earlier that same day, Tuesday, 16 August, at 5pm.

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        Revision:  7 September 2005
Last modified:  15 September 2005