News & Events

5103 Rochelle: Public Zoom Meeting

The application is for 1. use of the first floor for the first 33 feet and basement as a business and professional office and 2. a variance to allow four residential dwelling units rather than the three units allowed byright based on lot area. No addition is proposed.

The City-mandated public meeting, hosted by WICA, will be held January 25, 2021 at 7pm via Zoom. All neighbors are invited to attend. An official vote will be taken and a summary of the results sent to the Zoning Board. Proof of residency within WICA’s boundaries is required to vote.

January General Membership Meeting

The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, January 13th at 6:30pm.* Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month unless otherwise noted. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.

*Please note that this is an earlier start time than usual.

The meeting will kick off with David Decca and John Hunter of the Northwest Coalition of Civics and Matt Wysong of the City Planning Commission giving an overview and status update of the Wissahickon Transportation Center expansion project.

Other Agenda items include:
• Membership Drive
5103 Rochelle Ave
• 249 Rochelle Ave

Enter the Membership Raffle!

Renew or become a Wissahickon Interested Citizens Association member for 2021. Membership is only $10, and this year we have a special treat. If you renew your membership in December, you are eligible to win a great Wissahickon-themed prize.

A Valley Green Inn pint glass (left) or a set of 4 Wissahickon-themed note cards (right) are the potential prizes for the membership raffle. Winners will be announced at the January 13, 2021 meeting.

Raffle items include a pint glass featuring Valley Green Inn or a set of 4 blank note cards featuring landmarks close to our neighborhood. Both items retail at $15 each – more than the cost of your membership. Winners will be selected live and announced at the January 2021 membership meeting.

We’re grateful to all of our members! WICA Members enjoy the opportunity to contribute to the direction of the future of the neighborhood, to get involved in neighborhood issues, and to help maintain and improve the community.

December General Membership Meeting

The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, December 9th at 7pm. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month unless otherwise noted. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.

This meeting, Representative Pam DeLissio will be joining us to share updates and answer your questions.

Zoom link ››

November General Membership Meeting

The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, November 11th at 7pm. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month unless otherwise noted. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.

Zoom Link ››

Update: Wissahickon Transportation Center

Representatives from the Coalition of Civics – a partnership of local civic associations including WICA, Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association, Manayunk Neighborhood Council, Ridge Park Civic Association, Central Roxborough Civic Association, and Upper Roxborough Civic Association – have met with SEPTA to address questions and concerns raised at the July 1, 2020 Art Commission meeting. Mediated by Alan Greenberger, chair of the Art Commission, SEPTA has updated the overall design of the Wissahickon Transportation Center.

See updated design here ››
Designs last updated November 2020

Rendering Courtesy SEPTA. This design shows one alternative. See link to updated design above for other alternatives.

Design updates by SEPTA include:

• Pulling back the building and canopy structure on the front island to widen the sidewalk
• Addition of a vertical clock tower element to improve the scale of the intersection
• Adjustments to the layout of the front island, including moving the location of the supervisor’s booth to provide a clearer path and better sightlines across Ridge Avenue
• Alleviation of pedestrian pinch points on the side where Deke’s BBQ is currently located to create more comfortable entry points
• Addition of green space and edging to create screening by the storage facility and the existing WTC building

Inga Saffron, architecture critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, recently published an article discussing the importance of the Wissahickon Transportation Center. “This is where the Schuylkill River meets the Wissahickon Creek, where the Kelly Drive bike path links up with the Wissahickon trails, where the hard, gridded streets of Philadelphia’s center relax into the greener, gentler neighborhoods of the Northwest,” she writes.

“SEPTA has now revised the station to the point that the design of the building is almost acceptable. Instead of a Jetsons-style space port, the main passenger area looks like a modern interpretation of a Frank Furness Main Line station, with a gently sloped hip roof and a brick-and-stone facade.”

Plan Courtesy SEPTA

The Coalition of Civics has still expressed concerns, including lack of public restrooms, lack of an enclosed waiting space, and treatment of the area where Deke’s BBQ is currently located with the proposed plans calling for rock removal and the construction of a retaining wall.

In Saffron’s article, she observed that “the project remains deeply flawed in ways that have nothing to do with architecture. SEPTA continues to hedge on whether it will provide basic amenities, such as public restrooms and an enclosed waiting area. The project still fails to make the most of its location where the region’s most heavily used bike paths meet. Even worse, the additional road infrastructure planned for the new transportation center could undermine the area’s park-like character.”

Since the City of Philadelphia will not be attributing funds towards the project, the next design phase will no longer be presented to the Art Commission as previously planned. However, SEPTA has agreed to hold another community meeting for public feedback at a date yet to be determined.

147 Sumac Street Update

After the public meeting and vote held on January 15, 2020 – which resulted in a majority of 75% of the votes opposed to the proposal (27 in support, 85 against, and 1 abstention) – on behalf of the community, WICA members and Josh Cohen from Councilman Jones’ office attended the zoning board hearing on February 12, 2020. Despite the overwhelming opposition from our community of the proposed development for 147 Sumac, the zoning board approved the building of six new units on the property, in addition to the existing historical duplex, which will remain.

WICA appealed the ruling, and we’re now going to common pleas court in January 2021. We need your support to continue to challenge this development.

Why we’re challenging this development:

• The proposed driveway is too close to the intersection of Sumac and Righter and could be moved to a position that is both safer and that the neighborhood feels is more respectful of the existing historic building (147 Sumac).
• The proposed driveway encroaches on the side of the historically designated 147 Sumac, damaging its historic and architectural integrity.
• In addition to providing access to rear-loading garages, several surface parking spots have been proposed, adding to the overall paving of the site.
• The majority of the site’s open space will be paved, with the “green space” becoming green roofs and permeable paving.
• The required front and side yard setbacks fro RSA-1 Zoning are not being respected.

In order to maintain the unique features and character of the Wissahickon neighborhood and to honor the Neighborhood Conservation Overlay (NCO), we must act to protect green spaces and limit the number of units for this proposed development in accordance with the carefully completed 2016 residential zoning remapping.

WICA needs funding to exist, to be your voice, to say that’s not the way we want it. Whatever you can contribute to make us stronger will be greatly appreciated.

Your donation of $50, $20, or even $10, we will be able to fight this development in court.

WICA is a 501(c)(3), and your donation is tax deductible.

October General Membership Meeting

The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, October 14th at 7pm. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month unless otherwise noted. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.

Zoom link ››

September General Membership Meeting

The next General Membership meeting is Wednesday, September 9th at 7pm. The meeting will be held via Zoom, a free online application available on your computer or smartphone. All neighbors are invited to hear, participate, and learn about neighborhood concerns and current issues.

Agenda items include:
• Power Corps at 100 Steps
• Directors & Officers Insurance Policy
• Wissahickon Transportation Center Expansion

Zoom Link ››

5261-65 Ridge Ave: Voting Results

21 neighbors attended the Public Zoom Meeting hosted by WICA on Tuesday, August 18th. The application is for a banquet hall for under fifty (50) people. The voting results are below.

SUPPORT14
SUPPORT WITH PROVISOS5
OPPOSE2

The proviso stipulates that the owner must obtain an agreement with a local private business or church for the use of their off-street parking.

A summary of these results will be sent to the Zoning Board of Adjustments (ZBA) in the form of a letter. The ZBA Hearing is scheduled for September 22, 2020 at 9:30am. More information ››