From bakeries to billboards, Fishtown locals chime in at zoning meeting

During a meeting of the Fishtown Neighborhood Association’s zoning committee, held Tuesday, June 12, at the Fishtown Rec. Center, located on Montgomery Street near Girard Avenue, Fishtown residents voted unanimously in support of the proposal for the new Zynnie Bakes bakery.

They also heard a plan presented by representatives from CBS Outdoor Advertising, who propose to see a building at 1513 N. Delaware Ave. — a former motorcycle repair shop — demolished and a new support beam installed to a CBS-owned billboard on that site.

Residents recommended approval of that proposal with a vote of 12 to 2.

The bakery will be in a relatively small 239 square-foot space at 1255 Marlborough St., will offer “cupcakes, cookies, and confections” to all, according to owner Zynthia Martinez, 31.

“I just want to be a part of the neighborhood,” an enthusiastic Martinez told the audience on Tuesday. “You’ll know it’s morning when there’s that cupcake smell [in the air].”

Martinez presented her proposal to residents, as she needed a variance from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment in order to put a bakery on that site.

Neighbors that evening seemed to approve of the idea and also seemed to like Martinez’s plan to compost her businesses waste with the Compost Co-op, a part of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation’s Sustainable 19125 initiative.

Neighbors recommended approval of the plan with a vote of 20–0.

Following the vote, Martinez — who said the bakery would be her first business venture — said she was excited by the opportunity to open the bakery.

“I used to work for a medical supply company,” she said. “But, I was always late coming to work because I was home baking something.”

She said baking has always been a hobby of hers, and now she’s looking forward to making it a career.

As for what type of baking to expect, Martinez said she’s always been a fan of “old-fashioned flavors” but wants to update recipes to tantalize the modern palate.

After the bakery opens — she didn’t specify a date — Martinez said she hopes to offer breakfast foods as well as baked goods at the shop.

Regarding the building demolition and billboard issue, George Kroculick, an attorney for the billboard advertising company, said the company hoped to remove the building, as it is unused, covered in graffiti and has become something of an eyesore.

There are, though, a few people offering a car wash service there from time to time.

Kroculick said that the project would allow the advertising company not only to have a cleaner site to present to prospective customers, but they also plan to install some landscaping there.

“What would be good for everybody would be for this building to be gone,” he said.

“It’s not falling down. It’s not condemned, but it’s not a beautiful building, which I think anyone would tell you.”

The group presented their plan because they needed a variance for issues such as the sign being less than 500 feet from other billboards and being less than 300 feet from a residential area.

However, since the billboard could stay as it is by right — and the nearest residential home is across I-95, just a few feet short of the 300 foot requirement — Kroculick said that by supporting the plan, residents would get a “cleaner, neater” site.

Star Staff Reporter Hayden Mitman can be contacted at 215–354–3124 or hmitman@bsmphilly.com.