WENDELLA P. FOX
Education: Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and its Law School
Professional: Attorney. Currently, I am the Director of the Philadelphia office, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR is a law enforcement agency responsible for investigating complaints filed by students (Kindergarten through PhD) alleging discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, disability and age.
Community/Volunteer work: I was a community leader in Southwest Germantown in various capacities for a number of years and worked with various organizations. Project Home has honored me with a dedicated room in recognition of my pro bono zoning services. I have been a board member with a few professional and city-wide service organizations. Currently, I am a member of the Gospel Choir of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas and a volunteer in the parents’ association at my daughter’s school.
Personal: Joyfully married to Herb Wetzel, the recently retired Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority. One daughter, Grace, age 6.
Philadelphia resident for nearly 40 years.
Neighborhood: Currently East Falls; formerly a 20-year resident of South West Germantown.
Appointed by: Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller
Why is zoning reform important to you? Our future is up to us and we can shape it. I see the most important outcome of the Zoning Code Commission is to build an efficient and effective vehicle that will transport Philadelphia to its preferred future through real estate development. Recognizing that Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in population and is a keystone regional hub in the country, it is crucial that we develop an efficient process to ensure the most effective use of real estate development. This vehicle must take into account that Philadelphia has long-standing established and stable neighborhoods as well as provide flexibility for growth and unforeseen changes in land use. The process must be accountable to all segments of the community (residential, institutional and commercial). Our present and future vitality depend on it!
Why are you a good choice for this commission? As a long-time resident & professional, and parent I am committed to Philadelphia’s present & future vitality. Because of my varied experiences, as a former Chair of the Zoning Board; real estate attorney who represented developers, CDCs [community development corporation], neighborhood groups and small business owners; SW Germantown community leader; co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Zoning & Land Use Committee as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section; and the co-course planner for three zoning courses for attorneys, I have a very unique perspective and I know first hand how land use development affects the vitality of the City and impacts people’s lives.
What is the most pressing zoning issue Philadelphia faces? That all segments of the community need to realize that comprehensive zoning reform is urgently needed.
What should be done to address this issue? Simply stated– just do it!! Start today without delay.