Education: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse; MBA in Human Resource Management from the City University of New York’s Baruch College.
Professional: The University of Pennsylvania’s Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services. Previously was the senior vice president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is responsible for the memorial and cultural redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Prior to that, she was First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction, where she worked for 18 years.
Volunteer/Community Work: Board member of the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation and University City Green; Accepted an invitation to be a board member for the Morris Arboretum. Long-standing member and past president of the Faculty of Landscape Architecture Advisory Council for her undergraduate alma mater. Co-chair of the architecture committee for St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Asbury Park, N.J. – the church she grew up in.
Philadelphia resident: For about 10 months. Previously lived in Brooklyn, New York.
Neighborhood: Logan Square.
Appointer: City Councilman Daniel Savage.
Why is zoning reform important to you? I feel that it’s important that individual zoning actions are consistent with a comprehensive zoning plan for Philadelphia. Currently there isn’t always consistency with an overall vision for Philadelphia. There are a lot of decentralized disparate actions. It’s important for the future growth of Philadelphia that there be a comprehensive vision for how development should happen in the city.
Why are you a good choice for this commission? There are three areas where I add another perspective. One, I have 24 years of design and construction experience in the public sector in a large city – New York. Second, New York City, has already undertaken reform, so I add another perspective to the dialogue. Lastly, as Vice President for Facilities (at Penn), we have a very large real estate portfolio and strategy; we are a significant piece of Philadelphia and our perspective is important in the overall picture.
What is the most pressing zoning issue Philadelphia faces? There is a lack of a current, comprehensive plan that encourages zoning variances as the norm rather than as the exception.
What should be done to address this issue? We need to develop a comprehensive plan, with variances from that plan needing broader approval in addition to the local community. (Variances should be rare, and should be handled more centrally.) It’s important to have the local voice, but I do think it needs to be balanced.