PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was neighbor versus neighbor today in Philadelphia City Council, as Chestnut Hill residents wrangled over a proposal for a new supermarket on Germantown Avenue.

At issues is developer Richard Snowden’s plan for a parcel of land in the 8200 block of Germantown Avenue, where a Ford dealership closed a few years ago.

Snowden plans a Fresh Market grocer, as well as some apartments, new homes, and other retail.

Neighbors were split.  Greg Welsh of the Chestnut Hill Business Association (right photo) spoke in support of Snowden’s plan.

“We really look forward to this quality project, and feel it will be an absolute positive to our commercial corridor,” Welsh said.

Leading the opposition was resident Terry Halbert (left photo).

“This design is too high, too dense, and really completely out of scale with Chestnut Hill,” she said.

Snowden is said to be negotiating potential changes to his plan with the Chestnut Hill Community Association.  The developer’s attorney testified that Snowden might be willing to reduce a portion of the plan from six stories in height to five, but made no commitment.

Despite the concerns, Council’s Rules Committee approved the zoning changes and sent the measure to the full Council for a final vote before the lawmakers adjourn for the year.

An attorney for the neighbors who are opposed indicated that if the zoning changes are approved, they would consider a court challenge.

Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn

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