ZCC director to be named in September

Aug. 14

By Thomas J. Walsh
For PlanPhilly

For mid-August, it was agreed that there was a surprisingly large contingent of the Zoning Code Commission present for its Wednesday morning meeting, in which several of the consultants hired to re-write the city’s Zoning Code were introduced. They gave a general overview of their respective roles over the next two years.

A few of the commissioners were disappointed when they learned there would be no introduction of a new executive director for the commission. After a number of delays, that is now expected for the ZCC’s Sept. 10 meeting. The ZCC’s hiring committee had more applicants than expected, but whittled them down to four candidates that were sent to Mayor Nutter earlier this summer. His preference for the position (which will need approval by the commission) has not yet been decided, several commissioners said.

Land use attorney Peter Kelsen, chairman of the ZCC’s work plan subcommittee, introduced one of the main partners in the effort, Matthew Goebel, vice president of Clarion Associates. Goebel, in turn, introduced various local subcontractors who will be doing initial community outreach for the project.

Denver-based Clarion – which is still negotiating its contract with the city – will be the “technical lead,” and the overall managers, while partner Duncan Associates (based in Austin, Texas) will be analyzing the current code and doing the actual redrafting.

Goebel said the first stages of work would consist of identifying the issues and alternative strategies during a lengthy “diagnosis” that will involve heavy community outreach. “After a year we’ll have a detailed road map on how to do it,” he said.

Later in the meeting, several commissioners stressed the importance of neighborhood or community group input, as well as the targeted “stakeholders.”

The ZCC’s goal is to have a new city zoning code in place by June 2010.

Relive the experience
In addition to the PlanPhilly video included here, the city’s government access channel 64 was on hand to record the entire meeting. It will be aired Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Remembering Judith
Several commissioners had kind words for Judith Shuman Eden, a lawyer and former Zoning Board of Adjustment member who passed away last Friday at the age of 61. Eden had recently been appointed to the Zoning Code Commission, and was a board member of the Center City District and a past co-chair of the Center City Residents’ Association Zoning Committee.

There was a moment of silence in her honor.

Contact the reporter at thomaswalsh1@gmail.com.
More details on re-zoning concepts were described in this March article: http://www.planphilly.com/node/2915

Clarion Associates: http://www.clarionassociates.com/offices.cfm#

Duncan Associates: http://www.duncanplan.com/resumes/kirk.html

The Zoning Code Commission: http://www.zoningmatters.org/commission

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