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Tag Archives | Zoning

What's Happening in:  Queen Village 

What should the future of Queen Village look like? Fill out this survey to weigh in

Queen Village has been seeing change for years now, with a shift in the businesses on Fabric Row and new development all around the neighborhood.

Philadelphia-Zoning-map

As part of the Planning Commission’s plan to remap the city, Queen Village Neighbors Association is now seeking feedback on the remapping of their neighborhood specifically. A survey released by QVNA allows you to weigh in on a variety of zoning issues within the neighborhood’s boundaries.

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What's Happening in:  Queen Village 

7-story mixed-use building proposed for corner of 6th and Washington Ave.

The Queen Village Neighborhood Association will discuss the proposed demolition of three existing structures at 541 and 542 Washington Ave. and 1043 S. 6th St. in favor of a 7-story mixed-use building.

A look at the northeast corner of 6th and Washington Avenue (Photo: James Jennings)

A look at the northeast corner of 6th and Washington Avenue (Photo: James Jennings)

The project needs a zoning variance and the public meeting will take place on Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Weccacoe Playground building.

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What's Happening in:  Point Breeze 

Quick Hits: 3-story homes rule; Ward election battle that matters; and The Dolphin is 1 year old

Pic via Plan Philly.

Pic via Plan Philly.

  • Ori Feibush, developer/2nd Council District candidate, has been rounding up candidates for the Democratic committee posts in the 36th Ward, bordered by Washington Avenue, Broad, Moore and the Schuylkill, reports Philly Clout. Though yesterday a judge threw out his challenges to his rival’s slate of candidates, the Daily News reported today.
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Should new 3-story houses be banned on 2-story blocks?

A new bill to amend the zoning code to preserve a uniform “cornice line” on rowhouse blocks was introduced last week in City Council. The bill would prevent developers from building three-story houses if more than 50 percent of the block is only two-story houses, says Plan Philly.

Currently, the zoning code allows going up to 38 feet for a third story as long as it’s set eight feet back from the cornice line of neighboring, shorter houses. The bill, introduced Thursday by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, would eliminate that allowance altogether.

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Zoning committees feel pretty good about zoning changes City Council passed last week

Zoning. Yes, it’s boring, but it’s also important, and last week City Council passed changes that actually could make a difference in your neck of the woods (everywhere).

zoning top

Plan Philly did a good job of summing up the bill on registered community organizations (generally, your civic association) that was passed Thursday:

In short, the bill requires RCOs to re-register every two years (it was yearly in the original code, every three years under [Councilwoman Jannie] Blackwell’s bill), puts the burden of notification for projects needing zoning approval on developers, and requires that RCOs have regularly scheduled meetings open to the public, among other criteria.

That part in bold is what has zoning chairs breathing a sigh of relief. Blackwell’s amendment to the zoning code, passed in August, required RCOs to distribute fliers to all neighbors of all the blocks adjacent to each zoning variance requested. That meant paying for potentially hundreds of fliers a month and getting volunteers to pass them out.

It was, to paraphrase one zoning committee member, a huge pain in the ass. Continue Reading →

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Dear Brian O’Neill, hands off our commercial corridor!

Hi, Councilman O’Neill

Councilman O’Neill,

We are writing to express concern about your amendment to the brand new zoning code that would require certain businesses to go before the zoning board of adjustments to ask for approval, adding back a layer of red tape on already burdened small businesses that had been deliberately removed from the old zoning code.

You cite potentially dangerous businesses such as the all-evil deli, the spooky rec center, horrifying pet stores, ghastly ice cream shops, monstrous transit stations, terrifying pet-supply stores and devilish hardware stores. Your proposed change would also lower the new height limit for new commercial mixed-used buildings along designated commercial corridors to only 38 feet high instead of 55 feet.Councilman, we apologize for singling you out, because some of your colleagues on Council have also suffered from the misguided, although genuine, need to please those in your districts who fear change. You only need to look so far as Councilman Clarke’s proposal to increase parking requirements on new developments, or Councilwoman Blackwell’s plan to empower Council to set up negotiations between developers and community groups, or Councilmen Green and Henon’s proposal to shrink the distance between new buildings and a river’s edge (Delaware waterfront trail, anyone?).All these proposals come from a well-intentioned place, but Mr. O’Neill, your proposal hits particularly close to home because we down here in South Philly have been blessed with a renaissance of retail and restaurant development despite the required slog through the muck of the city bureaucracy. Please don’t roll back progress.Sincerely,
Passyunk Post

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Dear P’unkville:
We haven’t really taken a stand on many issues other than being anti-litter (daring, we know), but these troubling changes to the zoning code could impede further progress on the amazing strides the city has made in recent years.

The city spent four years and nearly $2 million to adjust the rules that govern development in Philadelphia. There’s no sense in messing it up now. We should, like the Nutter administration supports, let the new zoning code sit for a year before we start tinkering with everything. This code, only implemented in August, was intended to clear the road to development, and if there’s anything we stand for here at Passyunk Post world headquarters, it’s progress.So, feel free to use the letter above as a template for your own email to your Councilman to discourage the reckless zoning changes that we’ve linked to here. Or just send a one-sentence email. But no matter what, you need to let your elected officials know that you want your neighborhood to keep improving. Because you better believe those old-heads who have been on your block for 30 years are going to complain. So you need to as well.Contact Mark Squilla, our 1st District Councilman, to encourage him to talk some sense into his colleagues by emailing here: mark.squilla@phila.gov.Contact O’Neill to pass along your thoughts directly by emailing here: Brian.O’Neill@Phila.Gov

Tell Darrell Clarke what you think by filling out a form on this page (he doesn’t list an email address for some reason)
Get ready for the Twitter handles: @Darrell_Clarke @BobbyHenon @cmmarksquilla @Green4PhillyFor a good primer on why this matters to those in South Philly, read Naked City’s post here.
Thanks for reading.
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Who Knew: Zoning doesn’t have to be boring

Nothing gets South Philly folk all riled up like a good parking battle, so that’s what drew us to this blog post on Philadelphiaplaneto.com. Though it’s the oddest website name ever, it’s the staff blog of the City Planning Commission. They’re weighing in on a City Council bill that would change the zoning code to increase parking requirements — even though the new code was only introduced in August, that it took years to write and that it’s supposed to clear the dozens of roadblocks to development in this red-tape congested city.

But what’s really good about it is the tone, thick with derision and loaded with sarcasm. The title? “Thank Goodness Thursdays: Sarcastic Zoning Code Edition.” Here’s a sample of what this city employee, so far unnamed, had to say about the yawn that is normally the zoning code:

Also, “we” (speaking as the developers we are not and could never be) want to build this kind of product, because we know there’s a demand for it, and that it’s less costly for us to do without parking in a lot of cases. But, hey, don’t listen to the people that build projects or the people who are paid to have professional opinions – informed by actual expertise and knowledge of data on these subjects, we might add – in these topics.

If you have a few minutes, read the whole thing. It actually gives us hope that there are people like us in city government.

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