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J’accuse the University of Pennsylvania and Campus Apartments

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June 13, 2007   ·   2 Comments

fencing me in
The University of Pennsylvania and Campus Apartments are fencing me in. They are making my life miserable by putting dumpsters right next to my backyard and deck and by building the ugliest fence on earth to ameliorate the first act. Let’s face it. Two wrongs do not make a right. I’m madder than a hornet, and upset, besides. p.s. they don’t return my calls.

I sent this letter to the University City Review today as a last resort in a desperate situation:

For 34 years, I have been able to enjoy my small deck and small garden unassaulted by fetid household garbage smells. No more. I am about to be deprived of one of the pleasures of living where I live. A pair of dumpsters have appeared next to my back garden and deck of the house where I have lived since 1973.

I lay blame squarely on Campus Apartments and the University of Pennsylvania.

The dumpsters serve 4200 Pine Street, the fancy new condominiums developed by Campus Apartments in relationship with Penn.

During the course of the construction, I have been begging to have the planned location for the dumpsters changed. My pleas have fallen on deaf ears and hard hearts. The only response I have gotten is that the property is zoned for a dumpster there and that Campus Apartments has no intention of seeking to have it rezoned or to alter their plans in any way. I have pointed out that the vast spaces on the exterior parts of that property, spaces that are not next to anyone’s backyard or front yard or window, might be more appropriate locations. Campus Apartments is unresponsive. So is Penn.

My Garden
My garden. Soon it will loose all breezes and sunlight, thanks to the 6-foot fence. In other words, half my plants will die–and so will I, I’m afraid. I still expect to smell the stench of the dumpsters. Plus I will have the pleasure of having no sense of space beyond the edges of my yard. Thanks, guys.

Furthermore, it is my understanding, from Spruce Hill Community Association’s Zoning Committee chief Barry Grossbach, that Campus Apartments promised to at least shield the dumpsters from my view with plantings. But as I type this, an incredibly unsightly, 6-foot tall treated-wood fence is going up. Impossible though it may seem, the fence is even more offensive than the dumpsters themselves.

I have pointed out to deaf ears that a plant screen would be more appropriate. I suggested for an example tall-growing bamboo as a screen, planted in sealed spaces so the roots couldn’t spread. My so-called neighbors instead are building a prison that seems more aimed at keeping breezes and sunlight out of my garden than at ameliorating the dumpster issue.

My calls and emails to discuss the situation go unanswered.

Does Spruce Hill Zoning have any power here? Apparently not.

Does the University of Pennsylvania have power here? Absolutely.

And with Penn’s permission, Campus Apartments also has total power.

I clearly have no power at all. I’m just one of the long time neighbors whose life is being impacted beyond all reason–and with no rational reason. How hard is it to be neighborly? Out with the old, in with the new??? I may not have a legal case, but surely I deserve more effort on this issue than Campus Apartments and the University of Pennsylvania seem willing to expend. They have been cavalier, dismissive and disrespectful.

Libby Rosof

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2 Responses to “J’accuse the University of Pennsylvania and Campus Apartments”

  1. Allan Smithee says:

    Did you finally get a response from the University of Pennsylvania and Campus Apartments? Glad you posted the info/grievance, hope it helps with your justified complaints.

  2. libby says:

    Hi, Surprisingly enough, after a year of effort, I finally have gotten a response from Campus Apartments thanks to help from Spruce Hill’s Zoning Committee chairman and help from my husband, who clarified his own position in writing to Campus Apartments.

    While I am still stuck with the dumpsters (grrr), I have some hope that we will be able to solve some of the related issues. Meanwhile, CA has ceased building the obnoxious fence.

    It surprises me, after I have struggled so long, to finally get some action–coincidentally I believe–at the moment I take my grievance public.
    Thanks for asking.

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