Save 80-plus Year Old 2 St Tree in Pennsport, South Philly, PA USA

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Save 80-plus Year Old 2 St Tree in Pennsport, South Philly, PA USA

This petition had 269 supporters started this petition to Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla

Our 80-plus year old tree is in danger from development plans on a very small adjacent lot. It is only 14ft wide x 20ft deep. The design calls for a 3 story trinity house which would force cutting almost half the branches. What is the effect of this?

  • If the shock does not kill the tree, the results would be an unbalanced tree, posing a danger.  A big storm could cause the tree to fall towards neighboring homes, as a safety risk the tree will have to be removed.

Petition: Opposing Zoning Relief for Open Space Requirements
Permit Request: Application # 684210
Address: 1212 South 2nd Street Philadelphia, PA, 19147

Three (3) zoning issues were noted by the zoning/permitting process for refusal:

Minimum Open Area:
- REQUIRED 30.0% (85.5 Sq. Ft.)
- PROPOSED by Developer: 0.0%
Rear Yard Depth (First 12’-0” Of Building Height)
- REQUIRED 5’-0”
- PROPOSED by Developer: 0’-0”
Rear Yard Depth (Above First 12’-0” Of Building Height)
- REQUIRED 8’-0”
- PROPOSED by Developer: 0’-0”

The neighboring residents of Pennsport, South Philly, Philadelphia, PA and many other concerned people are against the relief of above requirements for the following reasons:

  1. A 3 story tower structure will force the cutting of a main branch on a 80-plus year old tree located in adjacent open space, which according to an arborist hired by Greg and Elizabeth Mester will result in a health impact on the tree, forcing them to cut the entire tree down for safety.
  2. Most if not all properties in our neighborhood have some sort of open space.  Also noted under International Building Codes (IBC.2009) accepted by the State of PA and City of Philadelphia, Section 1206 Yard or Courts: 1206.2 Yards shall not be less than 3ft in width for building two stories or less.  Increase 1ft for each additional story.  Therefore some yard space must be provided for by law.
  3. The 3 story living structure proposed with dimensions of 14 ft 4 inches x 20 ft would make the unit a small trinity house which has not been built in probably over a 100 years.  Such a small house will look out of place in comparison to the nicer and larger homes being built in the neighborhood that include open space.. Current RSA-5 zoning rules states a minimum of 1,440 sq. ft and this lot size is under 285 sq. ft.  The smallest approved lots in the area have been 600-plus sq. ft on alley streets and they include open space.  This is limited space for a family or for people experiencing handicap issues.  Such limits could cause this property to become a rental property versus home ownership.

In summary,

  • Preserving the Open Space Zoning Rules helps keep the Big 80-plus Year Old 2 St Tree alive for another day, in a City that takes pride in its Trees,
  • Preserves a building practice of staying away from super small 18th & 19th century Trinity house footprints (14ft x 20ft) that provide limited use to a modern day Family or Retiree,
  • Gives hope in maintaining some open space in a neighborhood that is quickly losing even its smallest of lots to over-Development,
  • Lastly, this provides an outpost for wildlife, migratory birds and even human neighbors to gather and enjoy a Big Old Tree as they live and breathe in a Big Old City like Philadelphia.

To lean more about our Cause and the Big Old 2St Tree Story please visit and share or on Facebook at or on Twitter at @SaveOld2StTree

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Petition Closed

This petition had 269 supporters