Cannon Avenue apartment conversion returns for approval

LANSDALE — Borough officials may soon be reviewing plans to convert a historic building in the city.

A new presentation could soon arrive on the latest plans for 501 North Cannon Avenue.

“We had some issues that they needed to resolve, that they are working on. I think the resolution is within reach, and they asked to come back next month,” said the borough’s director of community development, Jason Van Dame.

In April 2021, the council first heard reports of plans to convert the three-story brick building at 501 N. Cannon Avenue into 24 apartments. The building was constructed to house Abram Cox Stove Works, one of the borough’s largest employers from the late 1800s to the early 20th century, which manufactured “novelty stoves”, known for producing high levels heat for their size, and a fire in 1944 at the Cox Foundry plunged much of the borough into darkness when nearby fire lines were damaged.

Courtesy of Lansdale Historical Society

The Abram Cox Stove Company building at 501 N. Cannon Avenue is seen on the left, on Cannon Avenue facing south toward Main Street, in a circa 1930 photo.

Dan Sokil – MediaNews Group

Drivers head south on Cannon Avenue past the former Abram Cox Stove Company building at 501 N. Cannon on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Dan Sokil – MediaNews Group,

A three-story building at 501 N. Cannon Avenue once housed the Abram Cox Stove Works and plans will be presented on May 18 for converting the interior into apartments.

Courtesy of Lansdale Historical Society

An advertisement is painted on the north side of a brick building at 501 N. Cannon Avenue for the Abram Cox Stove Company, advertising novelty stoves, ovens, ranges and boilers.

In early 2021, a property listing and notice of borough hearing indicated that the building has just over 18,000 square feet of space, approximately 3,000 square feet of office space on the second floor and a detached garage on the ground floor of land totaling 0.79 acres. The property is located within the city’s industrial zoning district, requiring a waiver from the Zoning Hearing Board to allow parking near the building and meet certain dimensional criteria. Meeting minutes and posted borough agendas indicate the project was heard by the zoning board in May and July 2021, and then by the borough planning commission in January 2022.

This project was placed on the agenda of the council’s code committee for a vote on their preliminary and final land use approval on February 2, but Van Dame told the committee that the applicant had requested a delay. until the corresponding meetings in March.

At their first meeting of 2022, the Code Committee received updates from Van Dame on several different projects making their way through various approval processes. The planning commission will meet on February 22 and will discuss a proposed code update for 1000 North Cannon Avenue, the North Penn Business Park where a series of new warehouses have been proposed, on permitting trade uses electronics in the city’s industrial district, and will also have “other conversations about potential changes to the downtown business district,” including extending the boundaries of the overlay and changing some parking requirements, Van Dame said.

The borough’s zoning hearing commission is scheduled to meet Feb. 15 and hear two pending cases, Van Dame added. One project on the 700 block of West Mount Vernon Street is seeking relief from maximum building and impervious cover limits for an addition to the rear of the residence, and the other project on the 300 block of South Broad Street is seeking relief to add off-site parking for a storage facility to be used there.

Staff are also reviewing updates to the city’s zoning ordinance regarding wireless communication facilities, to define requirements for installing 5G antennas.

“With the advent of 5G and smaller antennas, wireless antennas, we are looking to change our ordinance so that we can properly regulate them,” Van Dame said.

“There are areas of the city they are appropriate for, and certain guidelines for how they should be installed,” and the ongoing code update will clarify and add more detail, he said. .

Regular code enforcement operations are underway, he added, and the department filed just over 1,200 permit applications in 2021, issuing a total of 1,139, representing $53 million. of building work going on in the city – much of which is the building under construction just east of Broad Street.

“53 million dollars, a large part of which in Luxor. That’s a pretty big number for construction work in the borough,” he said.

In January 2022, staff filed 61 permit applications and issued 75 permits, not including reminders or citations for residents who failed to clear their sidewalks.

“We are a walkable community, with many children walking to school in different parts of the city, so it’s really important that we can provide that safe route,” Van Dame said.

“We don’t like being the bad guys, but that’s part of the job,” he said.

The full Lansdale council then meets at 7 p.m. on February 16 and the code enforcement committee then meets at 7:30 p.m. on March 2, both at the Borough Municipal Building, 1 Vine St. For more d information, visit

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