Challenges for 8200 Germantown Ave, PMN sale/interference saga continues, new bike signage, urban agriculture in W. Kensington

Chestnut Hill neighbors will fight the legislative rezoning for 8200 Germantown Avenue in Common Pleas Court, a five-story mixed-use project proposed for the former Magarity Ford site. Amy Z. Quinn reports for PlanPhilly/NewsWorks that the legal challenge alleges spot zoning and will come into play as soon as the developer tries to pull permits.

The Philadelphia Media Network will cut 37 staff positions as the Inquirer and Daily News newsrooms merge. Poynter has the memo. A New York Times piece yesterday dug into the PMN sale and the editorial interference surrounding PMN’s own coverage of the sale. Editors confirmed to the Times that Publisher Greg Osberg said any editor publishing related articles without his approval would be fired. Osberg told the Times, “I have not been managing coverage of the sale and I am not doing that going forward.” The Times goes on to detail interferences and a sale process that favors the investment group assembled by Ed Rendell. In a Times op-ed Buzz Bissinger weighs in about the PMN sale to the Rendell group. Given Philadelphia’s history of corruption, and the power-minded interests of this particular development group Bissinger thinks “the newspapers will become their personal Gutenberg press, which effectively means that the one city in the country that needs a newspaper the most will not have one.”

The city has installed hundreds of new directional signs across town to help cyclists navigate their way to landmarks and find routes with bike lanes and trails. PlanPhilly’s Anthony Campisi reports the sign project was born out of money left in a Health Department grant to promote healthy lifestyles.

In West Kensington neighbors have transformed a vacant lot into a small community farm. Grid explains how the Kensington Area Neighborhood Advisory Committee and the Fresh Start Foundation are growing the effort, as neighbors get used to picking free produce.

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