UPDATE: Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has introduced a bill calling for a moratorium on construction at Broad and Washington. More from Philly mag.
Despite all of the opposition surrounding Bart Blatstein’s Broad and Washington project, the development received approval for the necessary zoning variances by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. But apparently that decision was made too soon.
When the ZBA hearing was held on April 27, a decision was not reached that same day because of the “excessive information” presented. It was said at that time that two additional weeks were needed to decide if the project would be granted the variances needed to move forward. Since it has only been a week since the initial hearing, the ZBA has reportedly taken back their approval and will reconvene and announce once two weeks are up.
Philly Mag previously reported that community members who attended the ZBA meeting in April expressed concerns about the project, but “zoning board chairman Jim Moylan tried to limit their comments to the two issues before the board: the above-ground parking garage and the retail uses on the roof deck.”
Here’s what the Inquirer has to say about the ZBA’s approval:
The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted to grant the project the waivers it needed to be built as planned, said Steve Cobb, chief of staff for City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, in whose district the site is located.
And here’s the additional information from Philly Mag on the decision being taken back:
A source who remained until the end of the meeting to hear another case later reported that shortly before that last case, the board members recused themselves, then came back and announced that they had to vacate the earlier vote because their earlier vote to continue Blatstein’s case for two weeks had to stand.
Criticism of this project has come from the Inquirer’s architecture critic, the Design Advocacy Group and much of the nearby community when presented with the plans at Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition meetings.