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


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: 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.

One thought on “Dear Brian O’Neill, hands off our commercial corridor!

  • November 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    FYI- the 50-ft buffer was approved by Council’s rules committee yesterday without any terrible amendments, so looks to be a done deal.

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