In brief: back-and-forth over Finnigan’s balconies

Last Tuesday, Mayor Michael Nutter vetoed a controversial plan to build balconies above Spring Garden Street at the Finnigan’s Wake bar and restaurant in Northern Liberties, at 537 N. 3rd St.

On Thursday, however, City Council overrode the mayor’s veto and unanimously passed the bill allowing for the balconies. City Paper reported that the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association and Finnigan’s owners are planning to meet again on the decision.

It was reported that Nutter called the 61-foot balconies a “dramatic dedication of the public right-of-way to a primarily private use.”

Neighbors vehemently disagreed to the project: Star reported in July that Mike Driscoll, co-owner of the bar, had withdrawn a request July 6 for $74,000 from the Penn Treaty Special Services District after news spread that the board had planned to provide the grant to the bar’s owners.

The PTSSD board currently receives an annual stipend of about $500,000 from SugarHouse casino.

At that time, many locals had already expressed concerns that the funds would help afford the bar and nightclub’s balcony plan.

“I’ve never seen people so upset about something in the Northern Liberties, ever,” said Matt Ruben, president of the NLNA. He said more than 450 people sent emails opposing the plan during an online campaign.

Mayor Nutter did, however, pass into law the bill permitting the bar to close Bodine Street and use it for an outdoor dining area.

Star Managing Editor Mikala Jamison can be reached at 215–354–3113 or at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.