Two riverfront overlays before council

City Council is now considering zoning overlays for two sections of the Delaware River waterfront.

Last week, Sixth District City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski introduced legislation that would create the Delaware River Conservation District along the northern section of the city’s Delaware riverfront. First District City Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced zoning overlay legislation for the Central Delaware in March.

Both sets of legislation aim to foster public green space along the water. But they go about it somewhat differently.

Krajewski’s proposal says land must be set aside for a recreational trail – the North Delaware Trail. But it does not specify how much land.

DiCicco’s proposal does contain such specifics – and that’s the part that’s been the most controversial. As introduced, his legislation calls for a 50- to 100-foot setback from the water’s edge. Property owners can apply to the Planning Commission for relief if this amount of land is a hardship.

Critics who represent property owners say it would be an extreme hardship in some cases. Others – including the members of the Central Delaware Advisory Group – don’t like this part of the legislation because they don’t think 50 feet is enough space.

DiCicco has been meeting with both riverfront land owners and CDAG, and is expected to propose amendments to his bill, including one that would address the size of the setback for small properties. Both CDAG and the landowner representatives say the setback should not exceed a maximum percentage of a total parcel. CDAG has suggested a 20 percent maximum, the landowners, 10 percent.

Posted by Kellie Patrick Gates

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