Changes made to city-wide comprehensive plan, including its name

The city-wide portion of the city’s new comprehensive plan is getting renamed, among other changes.

Instead of Philadelphia2035, it will now be called The Comprehensive Plan/Citywide Vision, planner Alan Urek, director of the strategic planning and policy division, told planning commissioners this week.

“We are going to consider it a vision; an overarching, introductory chapter,” to the full plan, which will be comprised of it and 18 district-level plans, he said.

Urek told the Planning  Commission about some other changes that have or will be made to the document in response to community feedback.

Among them:

  • The important role that neighborhood and civic associations play will be emphasized.
  • Two additional industrial legacy areas have been added – the North Delaware Corridor and the Amtrak Corridor – bringing the total to nine. Urek said the definition of this classification will also be clarified. “’Legacy’ is the operative word,” he said. These areas have been primarily industrial in the past. In the future, industrial uses may continue, but there will be mixed-used development as well, he said.
  • There will be greater discussion of the future of vacant land. 
  • More detailed discussion of the role of schools as neighborhood centers/community assets will be developed. 
  • More information will be included on the role of arts and culture in the creative economy.
  • There will be discussion on information technology as an important utility.
  • There is a need “to be more illustrative and give additional examples around preservation,” Urek said.
  • The section on implementing the plan needs to include more on priorities and the phasing of projects.

Sam Little, a member of the Crosstown Coalition and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, said 99 percent of the concerns the Coalition had have been addressed. “We’re astonished and pleased,” he said.

The Coalition is still concerned that the plan has too much boosterism and not enough reality, he said. “Conditions about poverty and education are not being addressed,” he said. And more information needs to be included on funding.

Little said the Coalition is also concerned that the Planning Commission won’t have enough resources to finish all the district plans in the amount of time provided. “We would like to help in getting whatever support we can” from City Council, other governments and the public, he said.

John Gallery, executive director of the Preservation Alliance, said he, too, was pleased with the changes so far, but “I still have to say the manner in which historic preservation is portrayed in the document is really disappointing, and shows a really fundamental lack of understanding of the important role that preservation plays in the economy and the revitalization of Philadelphia.”

There is not much mention of the way historic resources have revitalized places like main street Manayunk and the Navy Yard, he said. “Historic neighborhoods have the highest property values in the city,” he said. Gallery also said he was worried the time schedule was too tight.

Urek said the city-wide plan would be brought to the commission at its May meeting for action. Gallery said the changes should be released to the community for comment first.

Commission chairman and deputy mayor Alan Greenberger said that things needed to move forward, but everyone should keep in mind that the city-wide vision is a “living document” that will be frequently revised. The comment period for the city-wide vision runs through the end of the month. The next round table discussion will be held April 26. For more information about plan-related happenings and events, see the comprehensive plan’s website.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal