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Neighborhood groups offer fixes for outdated Phila. zoning code

Monday, January 25th, 2010

In Philadelphia, the public is having its say over how the public should have its say in development decisions.

Nearly 100 neighborhood leaders voiced their ideas on how the city’s new zoning code should work in a workshop at Temple Medical School on Saturday.

It has been more than 40 years since the code was last redone. Now, the Zoning Code Commission is taking on the daunting task of rebuilding what many call a broken code.

Commission Director Eva Gladstein explains.

Gladstein: It’s very old fashioned. It’s very, at this point, complicated and difficult to use because it has had thousands probably of tiny amendments, so it’s very hard to understand.

The citizens offered ideas to improve public input on developent proposals. Topics included code transparency, neighborhood diversity and community benefit agreements.

Karen Brown of Southbrook Civic Association was glad her voice is being heard.

Brown: We’re all fighting for the same purpose and it’s nice to know that we’re not standing out there alone and that somebody is actually trying to listen and trying to put our ideas together and say look this is what the people want.

A follow-up session will be held this week to bring neighborhood leaders together with the development community to hone the suggested rules for project review. The Zoning Code Commission expects to have a draft of those rules done by next month.

Full coverage the AIA/Penn Center for Civic Engagement zoning workshops at It’s Our City.


  • Nina Davenport says:

    It must have been a very short meeting. Was anything of substance discussed? Can links be provided to, say, minutes of the meeting so we can learn what was decided, if anything? I was just hungry to learn more, that’s all.


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