Process timeline for proposed Foxwoods re-siting at The Gallery

Brian Abernathy, legislative aide to First District Councilman Frank DiCicco, laid out this timeline of the process for the Foxwoods Casino proposal at The Gallery.  

10/16 – Councilman DiCicco introduces zoning legislation (2 bills) – The effect of this zoning legislation is limited to designating an area in Center City where licensed gaming facility would be permitted – it does not approve a plan or allow construction or gaming until a formal Plan is reviewed and approved as set forth below.

10/21 – Public Hearing on legislation – Planning Commission

Last week of October – public forum (not hosted by city – to include design professionals, urban planners, etc)

11/1 – Public Hearing on legislation – City Council

11/6 – Earliest bills could be reported from Committee

11/13 – Earliest bills could be voted on for final passage

11/13 – Earliest the Mayor could sign or veto the bills

11/27 – The latest the Mayor could sign or veto the bills

December through February – the Commission, the Developer, elected officials and the public work through outstanding issues (i.e. traffic, parking, economic impact, social impact, public safety).  This process occurs hand-in-hand with the community, recognizing their concerns and exploring whether or not those concerns can be addressed.

At the completion of this process, the Developer submits a Plan of Development (POD) to the Planning Commission.  

The POD must include: 
         – Traffic Plan
         – Parking Plan
         – Elevations
         – Landscaping Plan
         – Lighting Plan (exterior)
         – Signage (size and location)
         – Additional Information as the Commission feels appropriate

Consideration of the POD is at a public meeting.  The Commission must approve or disapprove the POD.  If the Commission disapproves the POD, that proposal dies (a revised Plan may be submitted thereafter). If the Commission approves the POD, the POD is submitted to City Council.

Council consideration of the POD is at a public meeting.

City Council must then approve or disapprove the POD.

The Legislation: Two bills are being proposed.  The first amends the CED zoning classification to permit gaming in a Center City location.  The second alters the underlying zoning of 1000 block of Market (The Gallery) from C-5 Commercial to CED.  

Planning Commission Public Hearing: Under the City Charter, the Planning Commission must make a recommendation to Council on all zoning legislation.  The Commission must have public meetings and permit public testimony when considering such legislation.

City Council Public Hearing: Under the City Charter, when legislation is introduced, bills are then referred to committee.  The Committee can only consider the bills in public, at a public hearing, where the Committee takes public testimony.  The Committee may vote to favorably recommend or table a bill or could refuse to take action.  In this case, I believe the legislation will be referred to the Committee on Rules.

Public Forum: The City recognizes that we need additional information to evaluate this proposal.  We have requested that several independent agencies to provide input and for some to host a public forum to discuss the proposal.  In addition, the City will be issuing an RFP for a transportation consultant.  The Health Commissioner is exploring gambling addiction programs and incidences in the Asian-American community and the police are reviewing public safety plans.

Reported out of Committee: Assuming the Committee recommends the bills favorably, the bills must be reported out of committee at the next session of council.  Prior to final passage, their titles must be read twice during a Council session.  The first reading can occur the day the bill is reported from Committee.

Final Passage: On 2nd reading and final passage, bills can be passed.

Mayor Signature: Under the Charter, he must sign/veto legislation by the first session of Council held not less than 10 days that he receives the bill.

Plan of Development (POD): Before the CED designation can become effective, a Plan of Development must be approved by the Planning Commission and then by City Council.  Therefore, even if the legislation that will be introduced on 10/16 is enacted, it means nothing unless and until a POD is approved under the public process outlined above.  

Hopefully, that clears up some misunderstandings.  Again, this is the beginning of a process.  We have assured ample time for public and community input.  While I recognize that some would like for us to stop this process, now, the Councilman doesn’t feel that’s an appropriate position to take.  In our opinion, for us to refuse introduction, would equate to us closing the door on The Gallery.  We believe it would be irresponsible to do so, at this time.

If anyone needs additional clarification, please let me know.

Brian Abernathy
Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Councilman Frank DiCicco’s Office
1st District
T: (215) 686-3458
F: (215) 686-1931

Posted by Matt Golas. Contact him at mgolas@design.upenn.edu

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