Phila. civic group sues residential developer for breach of contract

By Jon Campisi | May 4, 2012

A neighborhood group in Northwest Philadelphia has filed suit against a Fort Washington, Pa. developer for allegedly reneging on an agreement by which the company would contribute matching funds toward the construction of a playground as part of a project to build a tract of residential homes in the community.

The East Falls Community Council, which represents citizens residing in Philadelphia’s East Falls neighborhood, claims in its lawsuit that Westrum Urban Land Development backtracked on a deal to put $50,000 toward the construction of a children’s playground at Inn Yard Park on Ridge Avenue.

The playground has since been constructed, with the community council and the City of Philadelphia pitching in to help make the project become a reality.

According to the complaint, which was filed May 2 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Philadelphia attorney Eugene Mattioni, the EFCC entered into a contract with Westrum back in May 2006, which set forth various concerns the neighborhood group had with regard to the builder’s planned residential development project.

In order to secure the necessary zoning variances that would pave the way for the home construction project, Westrum needed to obtain the support of the EFCC, which it subsequently did, but only after agreeing to certain terms and conditions set forth by the neighborhood group.

One of the terms in the agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant was that Westrum would contribute $50,000 toward the construction of a neighborhood playground near where the homes were to be built, according to the lawsuit.

That money, which was to solely be used for the construction of the playground, never came through, the plaintiffs claim.

The lawsuit states that the EFCC met all of its obligations pursuant to the contract with Westrum, but that the developer has yet to pony up its share of the money that it promised to contribute toward the playground’s construction.

The complaint states that the EFCC raised more than $50,000 in cash and in-kind contributions of material and labor for the playground from parties other than Westrum.

The playground’s plans were later reduced in scope, the lawsuit claims, because of the lack of Westrum’s matching funds.

The complaint states that Westrum has since constructed and sold a “substantial” number of homes at the site of the residential development, and that it continues to do so.

In addition to its failure to contribute toward the playground, Westrum has also failed to construct an access road to be used by residents of the development, and it has failed to include in the home ownership documents an initial owner occupancy requirement, the lawsuit claims.

“The aforesaid covenants and conditions were made to obtain the support of EFCC for the variances essential to the development of Westrum’s project,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint accuses the defendant of breach of contract.

The community council seeks $50,000, plus interest and attorney’s fees.


The case ID number is 120403950. 

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