Chester Pike at Sellers Ave. looking west toward Stewert Ave. about 1923. Chester Pike was a two lane toll road till June , 1921 and for the next four years the state spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paving Chester Pike and making it a four lane highway
NOTE: When Eastern and Central Delaware County exploded with housing and business developments in the 1920's all sorts of construction happened. Some boros and townships allowed housing and businesses to build anywhere others did not. This was a time when residential and business districts were being created and boros and townships were trying to add to their tax base by keeping homeowners and business owners both happy, It was not easy. Ridley Park had a three year fight that ended finally in state court with no businesses on Chester Pike in the boro.
FILLING STATION AT RIDLEY PARK BANNED BY COURT
Judge Broomall Restrains Owner From Erecting Proposed Establishment
Judge John M. Broomall today handed down a decision in which he restrained Ira J. Smith, owner of a property at the northeast corner of Sellers Avenue and Chester Pike, Ridley Park, from erecting a gasoline filling station upon that plot of ground, stating that the district is residential and that the operation of a gas service station would be contrary to the welfare of the community. This decision ends a lengthy litigation that has continued over a period of almost two years between property owners along Chester Pike and Smith.
Sixteen individual property owners in the immediate vicinity of the Smith holdings joined in contesting against the erection of this proposed station in the midst of what they termed a neighborhood residential in character and that to allow of its construction would be a violation of the provisions of certain restrictions on the land owned by Smith. They also contended that for more than twenty-five years the Chester Pike in Ridley Park has been strictly residential of high-class dwellings with extensive lawns, valued from $20,000 to $30,000 each, and that at present there are no business establishments operated in that section which have changed in any manner the general appearance.
The contestants also cited that the operation of a business similar to that which Smith intended to supervise would result in an increased fire hazard, that the oils and gas would produce offensible odors, and that at night the glare from the headlights would be productive of much unpleasantness.
Smith contended that the community in question was not residential in character and that it was about due to change completely into a business district owing to the increase of traffic and demand for business establishments.
“An oil and gasoline station is not a nuisance in itself but may become so” Judge Broomall declared. “It is not agreed that the damages are inevitable but only contingent on operation and use because the facts found would not possibly warrant such a conclusion. The innovated incident to a public garage or public service station regardless of its construction or operation, are such to require its exclusion from residential neighborhoods.
“We cannot comprehend and do not understand at the time the testimony was taken how there could be any possible question but that Chester Pike in Ridley Park is a residential community. However, defend and has raised the question, and while we could not help but find it a fact under the evidence, still, we must pass upon it. We do not see that the character of the traffic on Chester Pike has anything whatever to do with it; that it is heavy cannot be denied and if we are to indulge in mere conjecture on the future as some of the witnesses did in their testimony as to the increased value of the land for business purposes, we could be required to say that this condition, if objectionable, may be changed in the future by the proposed parallel through highway to Chester Pike, by the proposed commercial highway along the riverfront from Philadelphia to Chester.
“We have already decided that Ninth Street in Chester, which is a continuation of Chester Pike for through traffic, at the intersection of Concord Avenue and Kerlin Street, is a residential section and we there restricted the establishment of an oil and gasoline station. It is the immediate vicinity in which we are interested, and if it is residential in character, it matters not that the district as a whole is industrial in character.
“There are many places where an oil and gasoline filling station can be established without damage to residential section and we there restricted the establishment of an oil and gasoline station. It is the immediate vicinity in which we are interested, and if it is residential in character it matters not that the district as a whole is industrial in character.
“There are many places where an oil and gasoline filling station can be established without damage to residential property, and, if necessity for such service exists, it is unfortunate that the defendant did not secure a location which was not subject to restrictions.
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